NASCAR at Martinsville: Trucks race rained out; twinbill Sunday

Associated PressMarch 29, 2014 

— The NASCAR Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway was rained out Saturday and will be made up as part of a rare doubleheader at the track Sunday.

The Sprint Cup race will start at 1:13 p.m., and NASCAR and track officials aim to start the nightcap as quickly as possible afterward. NASCAR said it hopes it can start by about 5:30 p.m.

The tricky part will not only be cooperation from the weather – the forecast is good – but a smooth Cup series race because Martinsville Speedway, the oldest in the premier series, does not have lights.

The doubleheader will be the first since a truck race washed out after 17 laps at Pocono in August 2011 was completed the following day, with the Sprint Cup race run afterward.

Kevin Harvick won the truck race, and Brad Keselowski took the Cup victory.

In another unusual twist, especially for Martinsville, which hosts two truck races every year, no Cup drivers are entered in the truck race this weekend, so no one will drive both races.

It is the first time a truck race at Martinsville was postponed since March 2009.

The track says tickets for both races will be honored, with the caveat that ticket holders with truck race tickets only will have to wait until 100 laps have been run in the Cup race to enter the track.

Darrell Wallace, who gained his only truck victory here last October, will start on the pole in the race based on combined practice times from Friday. Ryan Blaney will start second, followed by Timothy Peters, Erik Jones and Ron Hornaday Jr.

Kyle Busch won the pole for the Cup race.

Elsewhere

Formula 1: Red Bull drivers Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo both emerged angry from a wet and incident-strewn qualifying session at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Saturday at Sepang, Malaysia.

Vettel pointed the finger at Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg for slowing him down after the world champion came only five hundredths of a second behind pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton.

“Nico couldn’t see much in his mirrors, I guess,” Vettel said. “I was angry at the time, at that moment, because I turned into Turn 12 not knowing where to turn because I could not see anything.”

However, Rosberg insisted it was a case of mistaken identity.

“I don’t think that was me,” Rosberg said. “I never had anybody behind me.”

The pair continued their discussion at the post-qualifying press conference, so much so that Lewis Hamilton interrupted his answer to a question.

“Hey guys, I can’t even hear myself talk,” Hamilton said.

Ricciardo was even more aggrieved at Williams driver Valtteri Bottas after the pair almost collided at the final corner when the Australian was trying to complete a flying lap and the Finn was about to embark on his. The incident prompted a post-session visit to the stewards for both drivers, and Bottas was hit with a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race, demoting him to 18th on the grid.

Ricciardo claimed it was not the first time that Bottas had got in his way.

“We raced each other a lot in the junior categories and I thought we had a lot of respect for each other, but it’s a little difficult how many times he’s done that now, so I'll go have a word with him,” Ricciardo said.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and 19-year-old Toro Rosso rookie Daniil Kvyat were also called before stewards after their collision caused a red flag during the second qualifying session due to debris on the track.

The young Russian was trying to pass the Spaniard on the inside but Alonso, not seeing the Russian in the spray from the wet track, turned in and the pair came together, snapping the Ferrari’s left-front suspension and damaging the Toro Rosso’s wing.

“I didn’t see him coming,” Alonso said. “It was a little bit of an aggressive move on the out lap with that sort of visibility.”

Kvyat plead his innocence on the way to the stewards’ hearing which decided on no further action.

“How can I get punished? I don’t think so,” Kvyat said. “There was a lot of spray, I came in on the inside line and he didn’t see me.”

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