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Rain pushes Kentucky Sprint Cup race to today

Sun., June 30, 2013

Rain Saturday night forced NASCAR to postpone the Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway until today.

The 400-mile event at Sparta, Ky., was rescheduled for today at 9 a.m. (Pacific) on TNT.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. will start on the pole in a Chevy alongside Carl Edwards’ Ford.

It was the circuit’s first postponement since last year’s season-opening Daytona 500. The marquee event ran the following night for the first time in its history.

Today’s rescheduling creates the first day Cup race for the 1.5-mile oval after two events at night.

Showers were forecast all day around the state, which arrived around midafternoon with a heavy downpour followed by sporadic rain. NASCAR delayed the start and held out hope for a late start with jet driers on the track, but another band of rain led officials to postpone the race just after 9 p.m.

“We knew it would be touch-and-go and from early in the morning we were tracking the weather,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. “We dispatched the driers and they stayed out ahead of it, but the weather cells never did move out of the area and they looked like they would linger.

“It’s a 90-minute to two-hour window with the best of conditions, and once it reached around 9 p.m. and it was still raining and in the forecast, we made the decision we thought was best.”

Hamilton wins pole at British Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position on his final lap at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone Circuit, beating teammate Nico Rosberg and three-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel.

The 2008 champion won his 28th pole with a lap time of 1:29.607, while Rosberg was fastest in practice. Vettel just beat out his teammate Mark Webber, who is taking the track this weekend for the first time since announcing he was leaving the sport at the end of the year.

The surprises of qualifying were Paul di Resta of Force India, who finished a career-best fifth, and Toro Rosso’s Daniel Ricciardo, who starts sixth. The strong showing could help the Australian Ricciardo in his bid to replace Webber at Red Bull. The team said Friday it is looking at Kimi Raikkonen and Ricciardo and the other Toro Rosso driver Jean-Eric Vergne as a replacement. Vettel came from Toro Rosso, which is also owned by Red Bull.

While Hamilton had a good day, the rest of his rivals struggled. Raikkonen will start ninth and Fernando Alonso 10th – his worst place on the grid this year.

It was a disappointing qualifying for home favorite Jenson Button of Mercedes who just missed out on Q3 by 0.05 seconds and will start 11th while Ferrari’s Felipe Massa, who crashed in practice on Friday, settled for 12th.

Pit stops

Six-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi won his first race since 2010, finishing first at the Assen TT in Assen, Netherlands. Rossi’s Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo, the defending MotoGP champion, finished fifth despite racing with a broken left collarbone sustained just two days ago in a high-speed crash during practice. … Ryan Dungey raced to his third 450 Class victory of the AMA Lucas Oil Motocross season in Moto-X 338 at Southwick, Mass., winning the first moto and finishing second behind Ryan Villopoto in the second. … Ron Capps led a flurry of three-second Funny Car runs to take the No. 1 qualifying position at the Route 66 NHRA Nationals at Joliet, Ill. Capps timed in at 3.988 seconds at 320.28 mph in a Dodge Charger.


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