NASCAR Ally 400 in Nashville Delayed Due to Lightning

by Suzanne Halliburton

Nasty weather forced a second major delay Sunday at the NASCAR Ally 400. Cars are off the track, again, after lightning struck near the Nashville Superspeedway.

NBC signed off its race coverage at 8 p.m. and the network went to regular entertainment programming. When the race resumes, it’ll be on USA. NASCAR officials say most of the rain near the track has cleared.

The second delay was called just before 7 p.m. Denny Hamlin was in the lead. Drivers are about halfway finished with the second stage. Bob Pockrass, a NASCAR reporter for Fox Sports, tweeted radar images showing storms in the area.

First NASCAR Delay Happened Around the 40-Lap Mark

EARLIER: A nearby lightning strike brought NASCAR to a halt, Sunday, as fans who gathered to watch the Ally 400 at the Nashville Superspeedway were ordered to leave the grandstands.

The race wasn’t even an hour old when lightning struck about seven miles away from the track. That called for an automatic race delay until the weather could clear the area. NASCAR officials hoped that an incoming storm would split as it passed over Nashville. But it stayed intact. That’s why track officials ordered fans to vacate the stands and seek shelter inside their cars.

UPDATE: At 5:36 p.m. (Central), cars got back out on the track, but the race hasn’t officially started. The race then resumed at 5:43.

EARLIER: The Nashville Superspeedway sent out a warning tweet for fans.

The first strike hit at 4:34 p.m. That triggered a 30-minute delay. Then another bolt of lightning came at 4:53, which reset the weather clock.

Denny Hamlin was leading when NASCAR halted the race, which had completed 43 laps of the 90-lap first stage. Ross Chastain was second, followed by teammate Daniel Suarez.

Coincidentally, rain shortened Saturday qualifying.

Once the race resumes, Chastain should be a favorite once the race resumes. He’s won twice this year, one of only four drivers with multiple victories. And this time a year ago, he finished second to Kyle Larson in Nashville. Larson also is a driver to watch, as are Hamlin and Joey Logano.

Here’s what the race looked like when it started.