Host Matthew Dillner takes you through the NSCS garage at Sonoma Raceway while trying to dodge birds in this edition of GarageCam.
Pocono Raceway officials announced Tuesday the addition of a NASCAR XFINITY Series event to the track's 2016 racing schedule. The 250-mile race is scheduled for Saturday, June 4, and will be part of a three-race weekend at the 2.5-mile track. The Sprint Cup Series' Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 is slated for Sunday, June 5 while the Pocono 200 ARCA Racing Series event will kick off the weekend's racing activities. It will be the first appearance for the XFINITY Series at Pocono, which has hosted NASCAR-sanctioned events since 1974. Track president and CEO Brandon Igdalsky said race fans "have been asking for this to happen for several years." Comcast, parent company of series sponsor XFINITY , is based in Philadelphia. "From Day 1 we've been focused on enhancing the way fans experience NASCAR and highlighting the competition and youth in the XFINITY Series," Matt Lederer, director of sports brand marketing for Comcast, said. "The addition of an event at Pocono Raceway in our home state ... will help carry the momentum built in the first year of our partnership into 2016." In addition to the June race weekend, the Pennsylvania 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race is scheduled for July 31 at Pocono, along with the Pocono Mountains 150 Camping World Truck Series race and Modspace 125 ARCA event. Camping World Truck Series teams have been competing at Pocono since 2010 while the ARCA Series began competing at the track in 1987. "Pocono is a very unique track," current XFINITY Series points leader Chris Buescher said. "I'm excited that we are adding a new track to the XFINITY Series schedule. I've raced there a considerable amount in the ARCA Series and have always enjoyed it. It will be a good challenge for the XFINITY teams."
RELATED: Full race results " Final standings HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- To go fast, all Kyle Busch had to do was mash the gas pedal. To go faster, all he had to do was slow down. Had to slow down. No choice there. Busch "got in a fight" with an unprotected, concrete wall at Daytona before the season's first Sprint Cup Series race. He lost. Sunday night at Homestead-Miami Speedway , he won. The road to the Sprint Cup title is a curious one. They say the 30-year-old Busch is a "changed" man -- actually, the word often used is "matured" -- and I hope that's only partly true. It's the competitive fire in Busch that pushes him to dance with a race car on the very edge. Occasionally, the results are disastrous; often, though, they are a thing of beauty. Busch didn't compete in all 36 points races this season, but for reasons out of his control. A broken right leg and a left foot that gave new meaning to the word "fractured" took care of that. For nearly 12 weeks, Busch idled. Idle is not a speed to which the Joe Gibbs Racing driver is accustomed. One doesn't win 154 races across three series by idling. A bed-ridden Busch had to sit and watch as three other drivers climbed into his No. 18 Toyota. It's been said that nothing hurts a racer more than seeing someone else in his car. Rehab was painful; sitting on the sidelines was agonizing. Potential wins were slipping by him on the television screen. When he finally did make it back to the track, no one knew what to expect, least of all Busch. Sure, he was confident. His crew chief, Adam Stevens, and car owner, Joe Gibbs, were confident. But no one was certain. No one knew if a broken leg and fractured foot were the only real injuries Busch suffered in Daytona several months earlier. Maybe the "want to" was still there, but the question was, could he? Could he still feel every nuance of the car as it rocketed around a race track? Could he push it to the very edge, find the sliver of an opening that existed only briefly, and charge his way through the field? Not only could Busch still do those things, but in some ways he did them better. Only six weeks after his return, Busch was back in the winner's circle, victorious at, of all places, Sonoma Raceway . In little more than a month's time, he won three consecutive races and four of five. Nearly as telling was his performance in the 10-race Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . The format, tweaked from time to time, has always dealt hefty penalties for miscues with little or no time to recover, and Busch has had his share. This time, he navigated the minefield that stretched from Chicago to Homestead with minimal damage. If Busch has changed, so has his approach, something he called a "just let everything be" tactic. It's a short phrase that speaks volumes about his confidence in himself and his team. Changed? Maybe. Maybe hitting a concrete wall and starting a family and sitting on the sidelines had an effect on him after all. Slowing down wasn't a part of the plan. But in the end, that's what it took. And Busch, the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, is just fine with that.
Stay updated with everything happening at the track 'Too Tough to Tame' RELATED: Check out NASCAR.com's new Social Drive Hey fans, there's plenty going on at Darlington Raceway this weekend and while many of you likely have Monday off for Labor Day observance -- there's a good chance you're stuck behind a desk this Friday morning and afternoon. Don't worry, NASCAR.com has you covered with our running blog of everything happening at the "Lady in Black", so keep this tab open on your browser and keep that refresh button handy. Just remember to minimize your browser when your boss walks by -- unless, of course, he or she is a NASCAR fan, too. 5:53 p.m. ET: Thanks for following along today. Here's Zack Albert with tonight's tune-in alert via his trusty typewriter. Tune-in alert @TooToughToTame . #NASCAR #NASCARthrowback #TraditionReturns pic.twitter.com/QDxhy3xuPn — Zack Albert (@zack_albert) September 4, 2015 5:35 p.m. ET: Tough break for 'Rowdy'. Backup car coming out of the hauler for @KyleBusch after tagging the wall w primary car in final practice #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/pLt1O5ydMx — Kyle Rickey (@KyleRRickey) September 4, 2015 5:03 p.m ET: Not getting enough attention for how good his paint scheme looks? 'Smoke'. . @TonyStewart brings his car in for adjustments during final practice @TooToughToTame . #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/TAcvf5o0gW — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 4:54 p.m. ET: Swag? Check. Throwback scheme ✔️ Throwback firesuit ✔️ Throwback shoes ✔️ @DaleJr does Cale Yarborough right. #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/PbL1NVxsEZ — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 4:45 p.m. ET: There's always time for the fans. . @KyleBusch of @JoeGibbsRacing signs for fans before @TooToughToTame final practice. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/KvGT5GAVyF — Zack Albert (@zack_albert) September 4, 2015 4:44 p.m. ET: Problems for the 88 and 55. Driveshaft change for @dalejr , who complained earlier of a bad vibration. @DavidRagan had a wall-banger. @TooToughToTame — tom jensen (@tomjensen100) September 4, 2015 4:35 p.m: ET: We're rolling for final practice. Get over to NBCSN. L8tr, dudes. #BojanglesSo500 pic.twitter.com/3oyv4ZP68Q — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 4:16 p.m. ET: Swoon, indeed. One word: Swoon. #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/xdaM7sTpov — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 4:12 p.m. ET: Every aspect of #NASCARthrowback has been strong so far. Seriously. The #NASCARthrowback hat game is strong so far. #TraditionReturns pic.twitter.com/TiPePcH6pH — Darlington Raceway (@TooToughToTame) September 4, 2015 4:07 p.m. ET: There were tons of awesome throwback images from Darlington on Friday. Here are some of the greatest. 3:58 p.m. ET: Sam Bass is one of the best. #NASCARthrowback @TooToughToTame http://t.co/TueDdY0Nj9 pic.twitter.com/wxaiSFYF22 — Sam Bass (@sambassartist) September 4, 2015 3:43 p.m. ET: What he said. We miss you, Buddy Baker. Nice tribute by @MWRteam and @ClintBowyer @TooToughToTame pic.twitter.com/7zcgnI7dVN — tom jensen (@tomjensen100) September 4, 2015 3:23 p.m. ET: Got questions about the new digital dashboard? Of course you do. Here are some answers. 3:17 p.m. ET: Yes, yes they are. Are you following @NASCAR on @instagram ??? Because they're crushing it with #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/yoL1fc6rsM — Jason Christley (@jay_christley) September 4, 2015 2:55 p.m. ET: And you thought Zack Albert was kidding. Now this is old school. @zack_albert #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/PgQCaZWkGr — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 4, 2015 2:38 p.m. ET: Congrats, Bill Elliott . Awesome. Million Dollar. Tonight @BillElliott9 gets another name: NMPA Hall of Famer. #TraditionReturns pic.twitter.com/uikM8ndx2H — Darlington Raceway (@TooToughToTame) September 4, 2015 2:34 p.m. ET: Raise your hand if you think it'd be hilarious if Owen had a mustache, too. Had a visitor come by in his @Target hat pic.twitter.com/oCTQXQOf0v — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) September 4, 2015 2:27 p.m. ET: Speaking of which -- Bill Elliott is about to address the media at 2:30 p.m. ET. Head on over to Press Pass to watch. But then come right back here. 2:26 p.m ET: Awesome. One Hall of Famer and one future one... @JeffGordonWeb and @billelliott9 catch up @TooToughToTame #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/P5yBtlehlo — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 2:21 p.m. ET: Brad isn't typically known for siding with the popular opinion, but he isn't alone here. Just look at it. I like @KyleLarsonRacin scheme the best. Gave me chills seeing it today as it was my favorite car growing up. https://t.co/6QV8czboOO — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 4, 2015 2:19 p.m. ET: Color me jealous. Before @joeylogano took off for @TooToughToTame he passed out some throwback gear to #RaceHub crew. #Hublove pic.twitter.com/OpQzgGEXRT — Danielle Trotta (@DanielleTrotta) September 4, 2015 2:12 p.m. ET: Kyle Busch 's double-duty gets off to a good start. His No. 54 Toyota topped XFINITY Series practice. Read more and get full practice results here. 2:10 p.m. ET: Keselowski has a habit of putting top-five cars in Victory Lane. Keep an eye on him this weekend. Showing decent speed so far @TooToughToTame Anxious to see how it all plays out with one more practice session to find more. top-5 car — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) September 4, 2015 2:04 p.m. ET: Sunday will mark Jeff Gordon 's last dance with the "Lady in Black". Darlington gives Jeff Gordon a painting of all his record 7 wins here. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/F27Jqjseeh — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 4, 2015 2:02 p.m. ET: Well put, Kyle. Well put. It's hot as today!! Cup car is a handful. Not sure what's going on in that. Xfinity car is extremely loose. Been workin hard today. — Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) September 4, 2015 1:50 p.m. ET: Greg Biffle ruled opening Cup practice. Get full practice speeds and more in this recap. 1:33 p.m. ET: Ray Evernham knows a little something about Darlington, so he gave Dale Earnhardt Jr . some tips. Read more here. 12:41 p.m. ET: Okay, I take it back. Sorry, Aric Almirola . Zack Albert wins #NASCARThrowback. Taking the media center old-school @TooToughToTame . #NASCAR #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/xHUtyMzm3V — Zack Albert (@zack_albert) September 4, 2015 12:28 p.m. ET: Keelan Harvick: Beer Pong aficianado. Read more in this week's Eight Tweets You Might Have Missed . 11:53 p.m. ET: Here's a look at that Austin Dillon wreck . Dillon tags the wall early at Darlington 11:48 p.m. ET: Something to keep in mind for any of you crew chiefs reading this blog. There's 3 kinds of grip, mechanical, aero, and tires, if you change the tires to compliment the aero package, they off set each other! — Darrell Waltrip (@AllWaltrip) September 4, 2015 11:41 a.m. ET: This is about as #NASCARThrowback as it gets. Oh my pic.twitter.com/pESuLoMDx4 — Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) September 4, 2015 11:40 a.m. ET: Oh yes. Oh my pic.twitter.com/pESuLoMDx4 — Nick Bromberg (@NickBromberg) September 4, 2015 11:27 p.m. ET: Wait a second, Kurt Busch ... is that a bell-bottomed firesuit? . @KurtBusch takes a break during first practice. #AskMRN pic.twitter.com/DQ3voQXrdh — Motor Racing Network (@MRNRadio) September 4, 2015 Darlington Stripe ✔️ pic.twitter.com/5u8RRu3avM — RCR (@RCRracing) September 4, 2015 And the first Darlington Stripe goes to... @austindillon3 . #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/WOQy0dxLNX — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 11:05 a.m. ET: Aric Almirola wins throwback weekend. . @aric_almirola sporting a fu manchu mustache at @TooToughToTame ala "The King" Richard Petty. @RPMotorsports #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/oXQK5DVgdx — Jay W. Pennell (@jaywpennell) September 4, 2015 10:40 a.m. ET: A little bit of the past, a little bit of the future on display at Darlington. Darlington is honoring the past, but technology is #NASCAR 's future. Welcome the digital dash: http://t.co/SuP7Vrtavu pic.twitter.com/gPgKAV07nK — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 10:35 a.m. ET: Some news for you this morning. Leavine Family Racing announced they have parted ways with crew chief Wally Rogers. Read more here . 10:27 a.m. ET: Drivers are really getting into this whole throwback thing. Cool hat, Kes. . @keselowski has one of those old-school hats to go with his paint scheme. #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/51Xe6NhGf6 — Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) September 4, 2015 10:15 a.m. ET: Yup. This is awesome. Welcome to the '70s, sports fans. #NASCARthrowback pic.twitter.com/TVvZb5Q9tS — NASCAR (@NASCAR) September 4, 2015 10:11 a.m. ET: Darlington is certainly known for its close finishes, but we might need more than a Polaroid. Photo finish technology to be implemented this weekend. https://t.co/V5RR1RwyDw — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 4, 2015 10:07 a.m. ET: Throwback schemes might look cool, but don't be fooled -- they certainly aren't on the inside. 4 hours of practice today. Mid 90 degree temps. Cockpit temps nearing 130 degrees. We gonna earn it today boys and girls. @TooToughToTame — Dale Earnhardt Jr . (@DaleJr) September 4, 2015
At least 10 teams expected at track Wednesday RELATED: Buy tickets for Darlington At least 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are expected to participate in a one-day open team test Wednesday at Darlington Raceway . The historic 1.366-mile track, the first paved speedway to feature NASCAR competition, will host the Bojangles' Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, Sept. 6. Drivers scheduled to take part in this week's test are: Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), Greg Biffle ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ). The test is scheduled to run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET. ( UPDATE: End time pushed up to 4:45 p.m. ET because of expected showers.) Biffle, Bowyer, McMurray and Newman will also be on hand Tuesday for a single-day Goodyear tire test. "This is a great, free opportunity for fans to watch NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams race around our famed oval for the first time in nearly 14 months," track president Chip Wile said. "This will be the only time the teams and drivers will be able to see Darlington before the series returns on Labor Day weekend." The Sprint Cup Series hasn't visited Darlington since April of 2014. An offseason schedule change moved the event back to the holiday weekend, a spot it held on the schedule for more than 50 years. The open test will be the seventh of the season. Future single-day tests are scheduled for Richmond International Raceway , Chicagoland Speedway , Bristol Motor Speedway , Homestead-Miami Speedway , Kansas Speedway , Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway . Nearly all of the tests follow one- or two-day Goodyear tire tests at the individual tracks. The Richmond team test, scheduled for June 17, is a recent addition. Meanwhile, a two-day Goodyear tire test at Bristol was changed to a single-day open team test (July 30). NASCAR banned private team testing for 2015, developing the National Series Master Unified Test Schedule instead to provide teams an opportunity to work with this season's new rules package. Only one team from each Sprint Cup organization is allowed to participate in the open team tests. The four teams taking part in the Goodyear portion are the only ones from their organizations allowed to participate in the open test, if they choose. "With the Bojangles' Southern 500 being the second-to-last race before the Chase cutoff, I'm sure the teams will be looking for a little something extra to get to … Victory Lane and potentially secure a Chase berth before times runs out," Wile said. Two sections of the Colvin Grandstands, located on the backstretch, will be open to fans. Kevin Harvick , 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, is the defending winner of the Bojangles' Southern 500 . In addition to the Sprint Cup race, Darlington Raceway will also host the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race Saturday, Sept. 5. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Brad Keselowski is upset with his car after a run in with Brett Moffitt at Pocono Raceway .
RELATED: Full race results " Race recap SHOP: Champion gear In a season fit for the silver screen, Kyle Busch completed his emotional comeback from a devastating season-opening injury to capture his first career NASCAR Sprint Cup Series title. Busch took home the 2015 championship by being the top finisher among the Championship 4 drivers, which also included Kevin Harvick , Jeff Gordon and Martin Truex Jr ., in the Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Busch led 41 laps on the day and the last seven of the 267-lap event for his first career postseason win as a member of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup field. "Rowdy" spent much of the race running in the top two and took the lead from Brad Keselowski for good shortly after the Lap 261 restart. Busch then distanced himself from Harvick, the series' 2014 champion, who finished as the runner-up in the race and final standings. Gordon finished sixth in his final race, while Truex finished 12th. "This is just so unbelievable, so amazing and means so much right here, right now and probably will for a long, long time to come," Busch said on the championship stage at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "The opportunity that the amount of people that have poured their life and soul into everything that Kyle Busch does and is about -- from M&M's to Toyota to Snickers and Twix and Skittles, Joe Gibbs (team owner) and his family and all of Joe Gibbs Racing , everyone that gave me such a fast race car here tonight to drive. It was so much fun. "This is just a dream come true and my family, my wife, my son -- to have him this year and to have everything we've gone through this year to be in this moment -- I don't know what else to say, but this is so special." The title makes the Busch brothers -- Kurt won the 2004 championship -- the second pair of brothers in NASCAR to win premier series championships. The Labonte brothers also have accomplished that with Terry winning titles in 1984 and 1996 and Bobby winning in 2000. RELATED: See all the premier series champions The 2015 season started off in a frightening fashion for Busch. A crash in the season-opening NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway left him with a broken right leg and a broken left foot. Busch missed the first 11 points races of the season before returning in the middle of May for the Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway . Matt Crafton , David Ragan and Erik Jones each took turns behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing . NASCAR granted Busch a waiver to make the Chase provided he was able to win a race and crack the top 30 in points before the end of the 26-race regular season at Richmond International Raceway . It took Busch just over a month to find Victory Lane and he did so at Sonoma Raceway , holding off his brother. That sparked a stretch of four wins in five races for the 30-year-old, including three straight wins at Kentucky Speedway , New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway . He nearly pulled off a fourth straight win at Pocono Raceway but ran out of gas on the final lap. RELATED: See all the 2015 winners For the second half of the waiver requirement, Busch cracked the top 30 in points after the race at Watkins Glen International in August and secured his spot in the Chase after the Darlington race, which was the second-to-last race of the regular season. The Chase provided an early test for Busch as a wreck at New Hampshire and a 37th-place finish left him on the outside looking in of advancing to the Contender Round heading to Dover International Speedway . However, he was able to rally to advance with a runner-up finish at the "Monster Mile." Contact with Kyle Larson near the entrance of pit road at Charlotte in the Contender Round opener derailed a promising day for Busch and left him needing strong performances at Kansas Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway to make the Eliminator Round. Busch delivered at both, gaining the spots he needed late at Talladega, which was where he was involved in a wreck the previous year that took him out of the Chase. Busch was a model of consistency in the Eliminator Round with three top-five finishes to advance on points to the Championship 4. The title season was also a big one off the track for Busch as he and wife Samantha welcomed son Brexton in May, just days after Busch's return to competition. During Championship 4 Media Day, Busch and Joe Gibbs revealed that Busch had inked a contract extension days after the news of Mars extension as sponsor on the No. 18 Toyota was announced. The Sprint Cup championship is the first for crew chief Adam Stevens, who was in his first year as a pit boss in the Sprint Cup Series, and the fourth (and first since 2005) for Gibbs. It was also the first Sprint Cup championship for manufacturer Toyota. "We are extremely proud of Kyle Busch and Joe Gibbs Racing on winning the Sprint Cup Series driver's championship," said Ed Laukes, vice president of marketing, performance and guest experience for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. "It's an incredible accomplishment for Kyle, to overcome the adversity he faced this year and come back with the focus and determination he has had to win races, qualify for the Chase and then earn the ultimate prize, his first Sprint Cup Series championship. "Winning this NASCAR championship has been a huge aspiration for Toyota since joining NASCAR in 2004. We are honored to finally be on this stage and join Kyle and Joe Gibbs for our first Sprint Cup Series title." Championship weekend was a banner one for the 30-year-old Busch. In addition to his Sprint Cup championship, Kyle Busch Motorsports driver Erik Jones won the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship on Friday night and KBM won the owner's championship in that series.
RELATED: Full practice results Rain interrupted Friday's opening Sprint Cup Series practice at Homestead-Miami Speedway , and Carl Edwards was awarded the top spot after his No. 19 Toyota topped the charts early in the session. The caution was waved twice for weather around 1 p.m. ET, and NASCAR ultimately called practice at 1:30 p.m. ET after an attempt to dry the track late in the session. The practice was originally scheduled to run from noon-1:25 p.m. ET. Edwards -- who was eliminated from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup last week at Phoenix International Raceway after rain ended the race prematurely -- wheeled his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota at 175.143 mph for the top position. Team Penske 's Brad Keselowski was next on the charts, posting a fast lap of 174.452 mph in his No. 2 Ford. Martin Truex Jr . was the fastest of the four Chase contenders, his No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Chevrolet propelling around the 1.5-mile track at 174.374 mph to nab the third spot. Hendrick Motorsports teammates Dale Earnhardt Jr . (173.689 mph) and Jimmie Johnson (173.678 mph) rounded out the top five, respectively. Keselowski was also fastest in the 10 consecutive lap average speed at 169.664 mph. Kyle Larson was second, followed by Paul Menard , Jamie McMurray and Austin Dillon . Of the four Chase Contenders, Jeff Gordon came up slowest, his No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet ranking 30th on the leaderboard with a top speed of 170.127 mph. Chase drivers Kevin Harvick (173.550 mph) and Kyle Busch (172.177 mph) posted the seventh and 16th-fastest speeds, respectively. The Sprint Cup Series is back on track at 6:15 p.m. ET for Coors Light Pole qualifying (NBCSN/Live Extra).
RELATED: Standings going into final race HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Sunday's NASCAR finale has four drivers vying for the championship in what NASCAR officials like to refer to as a Game 7 moment. There have already been plenty of pivotal points during this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup playoffs, but what if Sunday's showdown is shortened into a Game 5 1/2 moment? The threat of a damp forecast at Homestead-Miami Speedway has raised plenty of questions about how a potentially rain-altered Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM) could play out, especially with so much on the line in the season-ending race. The National Weather Service rates the chances of precipitation on Sunday at 60 percent, with thunderstorms especially likely in the morning. The possibilities come on the heels of the championship field being settled in a rain-abbreviated race the previous weekend at Phoenix International Raceway . The stakes will be even higher Sunday, but the procedures for declaring a race official will remain the same. "It's not a new rule. It's not something different," said three-time series champion Tony Stewart . "Is it ideal, no. Is it OK, yes. I mean, we don't have a choice. We can't control the weather. It's not ideal by any means. I don't think anybody wants to have that scenario and have to race in that scenario, but as well, at the same time, we've all raced under those circumstances, and if it has to end that way, that's the way it'll end." NASCAR has maintained long-standing procedures that a race becomes officials once it passes the halfway point, but the sanctioning body has also historically made every effort to run its races on the scheduled date. Advancements in technology have helped competition officials make more informed decisions about the weather, but the considerations -- for fans, teams and broadcast partners -- make those decisions even more critical, especially when the outcome of the race or the season-long championship weighs in the balance. To help combat the effects of rain this weekend, NASCAR can employ 17 Air Titan track dryers, 12 conventional jet dryers, and four vacuum trucks -- an armada that NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France touted as a record number of resources. But France also mentioned in his State of the Sport address on Friday that watching the skies and planning for inclement weather was a necessary angle for teams to work around. "We're looking at everything," France said. "Our view now is that like a lot of things that aren't necessarily perfect, so to speak, that's part of the game. That's part of racing that it's part of the strategy. You saw that last week in Phoenix. That you have to anticipate weather as being a factor in deciding things, as unfortunate as that is. Hopefully it won't be a factor on Sunday." Carl Edwards was among the unfortunate ones last weekend, missing out on his Championship 4 bid by just five points when rain escalated with 93 laps remaining. Edwards told his crew "they can't let it end like this" over the team radio as the race went to red-flag conditions, but NASCAR officials did, leaving Kyle Busch , Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr . to join Jeff Gordon among the final quartet. Busch was among those on the plus side of the rain at Phoenix, a situation he wouldn't mind being in Sunday if circumstances cut things short. "I think it would be very unfortunate, you know, but it is what it is," Busch said. "I mean, the rules have been the way the rules are for a long, long time and everybody ridicules NASCAR for changing the rules whenever they want, and this time they're sticking to it. Like Jeff said earlier, I hope I'm the guy leading when it's raining, and if it's raining we're going to be doing a heck of a rain dance."