- Associated Press - Sunday, September 18, 2011

JOLIET, ILL. (AP) - The start of first race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship was delayed because of rain Sunday, and the forecast does not look promising.

Matt Kenseth will start from the pole when the race does begin at Chicagoland Speedway. Six Chase drivers are starting in the top 10, with Kevin Harvick the lowest qualifying Chase driver at 30th.

This is the second time in three weeks the race has been disrupted by rain. The Sept. 4 race at Atlanta was delayed by two days by heavy rains. When the event did go off, it was stopped or slowed several times by brief showers.

NASCAR President Mike Helton said because Chicago has lights and the local area does not have a noise ordinance, officials can wait on a postponement decision.

“We have got some time,” Helton said. “We’ll hang out and see what kind of course it takes. There’s more coming in the short term, but in the long-term hopefully we can get this thing done (Sunday night).

But Helton did not seem to think NASCAR would wait all night to run the race.

“We’ve got lights, the area is very cooperative (with noise) and eager for us to be able to get the race in,” Helton said. “But there’s still got to be reasonableness to it. We appreciate the fans hanging in there with us and we know that rain presents an issue that nobody has much control over and it’s uncomfortable … but I think it’s in everybody’s best interest to try to get it in and we’ve got time to wait and see.”

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