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NASCAR Cup Series race at Dover rained out, rescheduled

Team members walk down pit road after the NASCAR 400 auto race was postponed due to weather at Dover Motor Speedway on April 30, 2023, in Dover, Del. (AP Photo/Jason Minto)

DOVER, Del. (AP) — Chase Elliott missed so many races because of a broken leg that NASCAR’s most popular driver likely needs to win one just to make the playoffs.

How does a repeat rainout victory at the Monster Mile sound?

Elliott picked up the win on a Monday last season at Dover Motor Speedway and he’ll get another shot this year after rain again postponed Sunday’s race.

The race will start at noon on the concrete-mile track.

Rain is starting to become a monster of a problem for a track that once hosted two race weekends a year but is now down to one each season. Dover will hold a Monday race for the fifth time in 105 career Cup races — but third time since 2109.

Martin Truex Jr. has won twice at Dover on Mondays.

Elliott would like to join him on that list. Hey, if the Hendrick Motorsports star wanted to pick up some tips from last season’s winning effort, that race was replayed on FS1 to fill air time on a Sunday afternoon.

“It’s been a year since we’ve been here and obviously a lot can happen in that amount of time,” Elliott said. “We’ll get on track and kind of see where we stack up and go from there.”

Elliott has raced only four times this season and missed six races with a broken left tibia that he suffered in a March 3 snowboarding accident.

The 27-year-old has vowed he won’t stop snowboarding or any of the other off-track activities he enjoys, even after teammate Alex Bowman was also injured when he suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car crash this week. Bowman will miss at least the next three Cup races.

Hendrick Motorsports general manager Jeff Andrews said at Dover there were no immediate plans to change the team’s policy prohibiting its drivers from engaging in racing in outside series or participating in potentially dangerous physical activities.

But the team could reconsider if another outside accident happened to Elliott, Bowman, William Byron or Kyle Larson.

Elliott, who finished 12th last week at Talladega, said he’s just “pushing forward” as he drives the No. 9 Chevrolet with the lingering effects of the accident.

“I’m not going on runs or doing sprinting drills, but I feel fine,” he said. “I don’t feel like it impacts me in the car at this point. It’s just one of those things where you’re going to have good days, you’re going to have days that you don’t get around great. That’s just going to be part of it here for a little while I think.”

Elliott did arrive at Dover with a new look after he shaved his bushy mustache that extended from under his nose past the corners of the mouth and sprouted downward.

“I woke up the other morning and I was just kind of tired of eating breakfast and having to clean it off,” Elliott said. “So I went upstairs, took a shower and off it went. That much thought went into it. It was that simple. It was time.”

The lineup

Kyle Busch starts on the pole Monday and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Christopher Bell joins him on the first row. Ford drivers benefited from the rain, with Ryan Blaney starting third, followed by Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher and Chase Briscoe, after qualifying was rained out.

Busch, enjoying a successful first season at Richard Childress Racing, won last week’s race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Kyle Larson is the 5-1 favorite to win, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

I’m not even supposed to be here today!

Silent Bob got silenced.

“Clerks” filmmaker and actor Kevin Smith was scheduled to serve as grand marshal for Sunday’s race and give the command for drivers to star their engines. That’s a mouthful for the actor who popularized the Silent Bob character in a number of his projects.

The Monster Among Men had his scheduled pace lap at the Monster Mile rained out.

WWE star Braun Strowman, who sports the catchy nickname, did at least get to flex his pythons and pose with the Miles the Monster trophy.

Strowman can’t stick around — he has to appear Monday night on “Raw.”

“I’d rather drive a race car than get dropped on my head,” Strowman said.