Moving a race to a different date is a big gamble, because no one exactly knows how it will work out. Moving Indianapolis was a big gamble this year for NASCAR, as they made it the final race before the reset for the playoffs.
Here’s the issue…Indiana in September is unpredictable. It can be summer-like with the heat, but it also can be like spring with rain and cooler temperatures.
Well, apparently the latter decided to make its presence felt in a big way. Once again, a rain out pushed racing to Monday, and in a sense a lot of us saw it coming. This is a problem when it comes to weather, it’s either one or the other. A lot of people were thinking when Indy went from August to September this could be an issue, and it turned out it was a bigger issue than anyone expected.
Both the Cup Series and Xfinity Series had the benefit of zero practice before the race, as activity got rained out on Friday and on Saturday. Each race had a pair of competition cautions to start the afternoon as teams figured out tire wear, adjustments, and handling having not been on the track.
Sure, the weather is something you can’t predict, none of us can. But, when you know exactly what to expect in the month of the race, it’s hard to deny it. Although the amount of rain that came is probably unexpected, considering I was a state west from the race and it was hammered extremely bad from what I experienced. All that was heading east, and it forced a double-header Monday for the sport.
So now, the weather is gone, the race is done, and we move forward. It’s playoff time.
STAGE 1: Clint Bowyer
STAGE 2: Matt Kenseth
RESULTS: 1-Keselowski 2-Jones 3-Hamlin 4-Harvick 5-Bowyer 6-Kurt Busch 7-McMurray 8-Kyle Busch 9-Menard 10-Newman
NOTABLE FINISHES: 13-Logano 15-Elliott 19-Byron 22-Dillon 40-Truex Jr.
CAUTIONS: 10 for 39 laps. Lap 12-14 (Competition Caution); 32-34 (Competition Caution); 42-45 (#78 Incident-T1); 52-55 (Stage 1 Conclusion); 59-65 (#43, 51, 52 Incident-T3); 68-70 (#47 and 88 Incident-T3); 77-79 (#23 Spin-T2); 102-105 (Stage 2 Conclusion); 144-148 (Debris-FS); 155-157 (#00 and 96 Incident-T3).
LEAD CHANGES: 14 among 9 drivers. Kyle Busch 1-11; D. Hamlin 12-32; Kurt Busch 33-44; C. Bowyer 45-51; Kyle Busch 52-67; K. Harvick 68-89; C. Bowyer 90-96; M. Kenseth 97-101; W. Byron # 102-104; C. Bowyer 105-127; R. Blaney 128; Kurt Busch 129-135; B. Keselowski 136-142; D. Hamlin 143-158; B. Keselowski 159-160.
TIME OF RACE: 3 Hrs, 5 Mins, 35 Secs.
AVERAGE SPEED: 128.629 MPH
MARGIN OF VICTORY: 0.904 Seconds
2018 MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR PLAYOFFS
Driver, Points/Behind Leader [Playoff Points]
1. Kyle Busch, 2050 *; 2. Harvick, 2050 ; 3. Truex Jr, -15 ; 4. Keselowski, -31 ; 5. Bowyer, -35 ; 6. Logano, -36 ; 7. Kurt Busch, -36 ; 8. Elliott, -42 ; 9. Blaney, -43 ; 10. Jones, -45 ; 11. Dillon, -45 ; 12. Larson, -45 ; 13. Hamlin, -47 ; 14. Almirola, -49 ; 15. Johnson, -50; 16. Bowman, -50.
*Regular season champion