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NASCAR Cup Bristol II

Start of NASCAR Cup race at Bristol delayed by rain

The start of Saturday night’s NASCAR Cup playoff race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway has been delayed by rain in the area.

Christopher Bell, Joe Gibbs Racing, Reser's Fine Foods Toyota Camry

NASCAR on Friday had already moved the green flag start time of Saturday night’s race up to 6:35 p.m. ET due to the chance of inclement weather.

However, rain moved into the area just before the start and put all activities on hold.

Should the race be postponed, it will begin at 2 p.m. ET Sunday and broadcast live on USA Network.

When the race does finally get under way, Christopher Bell will lead the field to green for the third consecutive race.

He beat his Joe Gibbs Racing team-mate Denny Hamlin for the pole in Friday’s qualifying session and earned his fifth pole of the 2023 season. So far, Bell has been unable to translate his playoff poles into wins.

He ended up 23rd at Darlington and finished eighth last weekend at Kansas. His only win this season came at the Bristol Dirt Race in April.

“Having a good starting spot is really, really, really important especially at a short track like Bristol with the PJ1 being down,” Bell said. “It’s going to be very fast around the bottom, especially at the start of the race.

“I would expect the Cup race to start down there, and I would expect at some point we will get the top going and we will have different options. Once you do get options, it does become easier to pass because you are able to find cleaner air and get by guys.”

William Byron will line up third, Michael McDowell fourth and Martin Truex Jr. – who is in danger of being eliminated from the playoffs in the first round – starts fifth.

Completing the top-10 starting lineup are Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Ty Gibbs, Bubba Wallace and Corey LaJoie.

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