Let's race two!

April, 18, 2010

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A Monday NASCAR doubleheader happens about as often as a volcano in Iceland causes worldwide travel delays.

I guess the timing was right. For the second time in three races, rain forced NASCAR to race on Monday, but ticket holders at Texas Motor Speedway have a rare opportunity if they can stick around one more day.

But this is only the second time that Cup and Nationwide have run a Monday doubleheader. The first time was February 2008 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., but that wasn't 800 miles of racing. Part of the Cup race was run the previous night.

TMS has suffered through some weather-related issues in the past, but this marks only the second time since the track opened in 1997 that the Cup event was postponed until Monday.

That was in 2002, when the majority of fans with tickets decided to take Monday off. A crowd of more than 150,000 returned and watched Matt Kenseth win the race.

Don't expect 150,000 to show up this time, but it should be a decent crowd because of the two-for-one opportunity and the rare chance to see 800 miles of racing.

"Every ticket is good for both races," TMS president Eddie Gossage said Sunday after the postponement. "If you have a Nationwide ticket, you can come to the Cup race, and the Cup tickets are good for the Nationwide race."

That could cause some conflicts. People will have the same seat for different races: "Excuse me, sir, you're in my seat."

If they're being polite, that's resolvable. If not, watch out. Because the Cup race starts at noon ET, beer consumption probably won't factor into the compromise options, thankfully.

"I think it will be fine," Gossage said. "There'll be plenty of seats for people just to move over a few spots."

Gossage said he wanted to do what was best for all the fans who sat in a constant light drizzle Sunday. That's why NASCAR and TMS called it a day at 3:30 p.m. local time.

"It was going to take three hours to dry the track," Gossage said. "But the weather forecasters said the mist would continue to 7 or 8 p.m. We didn't feel it was fair to make all those people continue to wait. We felt the fan-friendly thing to do was to pull the plug."

Gossage admits it's a major financial drain to have to race both events on Monday.

"It cost us $15,000 an hour to open the gates here," he said. "It sucks, but what can you do?"

Look for NASCAR to throw a competition caution early in the Cup race Monday for the teams to check tires and make adjustments. Practice was rained out Saturday, so the Cup drivers haven't been on the track since Friday.

It's a major guessing game for the first spoiler race on a 1.5-mile oval.

Terry Blount

ESPN Staff Writer



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