The track is dry, the cars have started and they are rolling on the pace laps. The Duck Commander 500 will not end in time for tonight’s print deadline, so the coverage will be a DentonRC.com exclusive.
The race is starting under caution at 8:35 p.m. Laps are counting; we’re underway!
Rain has stopped. Air Titan II trucks are drying the track. The race was scheduled to start eight minutes ago. About to sing the anthem.
At 6 p.m., there are some fresh raindrops, but not enough to delay anything if it doesn’t get worse. Haven’t heard anything on an official delay from the original start time.
As of 5:35 p.m., it’s no longer raining. Will this race start on time?
That smell? That’s rain at TMS. About a half-hour into its pre-race concert, Lynyrd Skynyrd started getting wet as a small rain systym moved over the track. They kept playing and most fans stayed put, but media members in the crowd headed for the nearby infield media center. We might melt.
It’s just after 5 p.m. Green flag is scheduled for 6:46 p.m. Hopefully there won’t be a delay. Problem is, the Air Titan II drying system can’t dry the frontstretch with all the concert fans standing on the track.
Pilot Point rancher and Daytona 500 racer Robert Richardson Jr. takes Winnie for a ride at TMS.
Lil’ Dale, who was born shortly after the death of Dale Earnhardt, died in December and now will reside forever in the Speedway Club at Texas Motor Speedway.
Pilot Point resident Robert Richardson Jr. is practicing this afternoon for the Daytona 500. He told the Denton Record-Chronicle today that the two practice sessions will be an opportunity to see how his No. 26 Stalk It longboards Toyota handles in the draft, which will be key in Thursday night’s Can-Am Duel twin qualifying races.
Looking ahead to the Duel, Richardson said he knows who will be his toughest competition.
“We should only have to beat one guy, and that’s going to be David Gilliland,” Richardson said.
Gilliland drives the No. 35 Ford for Front Row Motorsports. Gilliland has won two poles at Daytona — for the 500 in 2007 and the summer race in 2014, the latter of which was for Front Row. Gilliland finished third in the 2011 Daytona 500 and finished second at Talladega in 2013 when he pushed Front Row teammate David Ragan to victory.
If Gilliland qualifies for the 500, Richardson won’t.
The simple way for Richardson to make the race is to finish ahead of Matt DiBenedetto, Gilliland and Reed Sorenson in the second Duel.
Richardson also can make the 500 based on his qualifying time from Sunday, and since he’s in the second Duel, he’ll know when his Duel starts whether that’s still a possibility. For that to be an option, he’ll be rooting for Ryan Blaney and Michael McDowell in the first Duel.
It’s complicated. See the full breakdown in Thursday’s Denton Record-Chronicle and at DentonRC.com.
— Matt Crider
Ryan graduate Marcos Castro is at Texas Motor Speedway with HScott Motorsports and Michael Annett’s No. 46 Chevrolet, but the team’s hauler burned before it made it to Fort Worth.
An HScott employee just told me at the No. 51 hauler that both teams are sharing that truck this weekend. Annett’s backup hauler is making its way west with the car that will be raced next week in Arizona.
Rain has really slowed to something less than a sprinkle. It’s 69 minutes till race time.