NASCAR race at Michigan suspended due to weather, set to resume Monday

AP photo by Paul Sancya / Crews push covered cars to the garage at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday after a NASCAR Cup Series race was suspended by rain.

BROOKLYN, Mich. — The NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway was suspended Sunday afternoon due to rain and was scheduled to resume Monday.

The FireKeepers 400 began after a 1-hour, 43-minute rain delay — and 74 laps later, precipitation pushed the drivers out of their cars during a red-flag stoppage that lasted nearly an hour before the 200-lap race was postponed.

Shortly before the race was suspended, Tyler Reddick took the lead after a restart and was followed by Alex Bowman, Kyle Larson and season points leader Martin Truex Jr.

Kyle Busch's race ended after just 14 laps because he spun out and hit a wall after making side-by-side contact with Ryan Blaney. Truex, meanwhile, stayed on the track to take the lead. While Busch's place in the 10-race playoffs is secure with three wins, the next driver to crash 20 laps later is in a precarious position.

Chase Elliott, who lost control of the No. 9 Chevrolet with no one around him because of a tire failure, likely needs to win one of the last three races in the regular season after this one to earn a spot in the postseason. He raced for the title in the season finale the last three years and won the championship in 2020.

Last week, Chris Buescher became the 12th playoff-eligible race winner this year, and that left four playoff spots available.

Soon after Truex won the first stage Sunday, William Byron, who has four wins this year, hit a wall without any contact from another car to send another notable driver off the track. Josh Berry, filling in for the suspended Noah Gragson in the No. 42 Chevrolet, had the fourth crash in the first 50 laps of the caution-filled race.

Corey Lajoie and Blaney later bumped each other on the track while jockeying for position side by side and had a tense conversation about it on pit row. With spots in the playoffs at stake, tensions will likely run high again Monday afternoon.