STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — On a day when the weather was more suitable for ducks than racing, the Sprint Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway became NASCAR’s first rainout of the season.
The Robertson family from “Duck Dynasty” had prominent roles at Sunday’s race, called the Duck Commander 500, but Uncle Si never got to give the command to start engines. NASCAR pulled the plug after a delay of about four hours.
The race will be run Monday at 11 a.m., nine hours before the start of the NCAA national championship game in nearby Arlington. Tony Stewart, making a comeback this season after missing the final four months of last year with a broken leg, will start on the pole.
It’s the third time in seven Sprint Cup Series races this season that rain has hampered the event. The season-opening Daytona 500 was stopped for more than six hours, and the race at Bristol Motor Speedway had two delays totaling more than five hours.
At least the fans who braved the rain got to enjoy the Robertson family antics.
Uncle Si was wearing a sparkly jumpsuit meant to resemble a firesuit. Family patriarch Phil Robertson was supposed to wave the green flag as the honorary starter, his youngest son, Jep, was to ride in a pace car. Jase Robertson introduced the Top 10 starters, and his wife Missy sang the national anthem.
Sadie, Willie’s 16-year-old daughter, delivered the invocation.
Korie Robertson, Willie’s wife, said about 30-40 members of the family were at the race.
“And some extras, some bearded people may have slipped in there claiming they were kin,” said Willie Robertson, who also sponsored Clint Bowyer’s car for the race.
A steady rain saturated the track Sunday. NASCAR’s new track drying system requires two hours to dry the 1.5-mile speedway, but the unseasonably cool temperatures made the task more difficult.
TMS’ big screen “Big Hoss TV” alerted fans to pending severe weather at times Sunday. The high-definition LED video board also showed episodes of “Duck Dynasty.”
Bowyer’s car had markings for Willie Robertson’s diner, Buck Commander and Korie Robertson’s clothing boutique.
“I tried to talk them into letting me drive a Duck Commander car, but they won’t do it,” Si said.
Willie’s response to that?
“We told him if he could figure out how to open the door we’ll let him drive it,” the CEO said.
Earlier Sunday, an official from Guinness Book of World Records officially certified “Big Hoss TV” as the world’s largest high-definition LED video board. It is 218 feet wide and about 95 feet high, covering 20,614 square feet.