Brickyard 400 qualifying, practice washed out; drivers expect Monday race

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What no practice or qualifying means for Brickyard 400 drivers (1:31)

Dale Earnhardt Jr. explains how the lack of practice and qualifying will impact the track and the drivers. (1:31)

INDIANAPOLIS -- NASCAR Cup Series drivers will race the Brickyard 400 without any laps on the track as rain washed out all practice and qualifying Saturday.

The race is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, weather permitting, and many drivers are expecting a race Monday as AccuWeather predicts a 63 percent chance of occasional rain throughout Sunday.

NASCAR has moved the start of the Cup race one hour earlier to 1 p.m. ET Sunday in hopes of getting the race in, as the forecast has fluctuated on when the rain will subside. It has moved the postponed Xfinity Series race from Saturday to 10 a.m. Monday.

NASCAR has not announced a schedule if the Cup race also gets postponed to Monday.

Drivers are concerned they will race without rubber on the track as they typically ruin a set of tires within 10 laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before tire rubber gets ground into the track.

"The first couple of runs is definitely a problem with tire wear," said Kyle Busch, who will sit on the pole as the lineup was set by owner points. "With this surface, you spend your first set of tires just laying rubber down. You have to count on everybody laying rubber down on the first set of tires.

"After that, you can pretty much start to learn what you've got going on."

For the 14 drivers already locked into the postseason, there is little stress for the regular-season finale. There are two spots available for the 16-driver playoff field. Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman would get in if a driver currently locked into the playoffs wins. If a driver outside the current top-16 wins, then Johnson or Bowman would miss the playoffs; Johnson has a 19-point edge on Bowman entering the race.

Johnson joked that having no practice will save his team a lot of frustration it typically has at Indianapolis.

"Our journey this year, we usually end back [after practice] to our setup that we unloaded with," said the seven-time Cup champion, who often struggles in qualifying and now will start 14th. "It will save some frustration along the way. And no qualifying? That's great."

His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Bowman concurred.

"I really feel like we tend to unload pretty close and there are quite a few teams that unload a little bit off and kind of have to catch up, and we seem to run better when the tracks aren't rubbered up for whatever reason," Bowman said. "So I'm all for just sending it to the race. I think that might actually be better for us."

Kurt Busch was hopeful for at least a shakedown period before the race, but NASCAR has no plans for any session.

"For us, there's not a lot of stress in the Stewart-Haas camp. For all of us to be locked into the playoffs, that's a good feeling," Busch said.

NASCAR likely will set at least one competition caution for teams to change tires in the first 10-15 laps of the race and possibly will have two so they don't have to worry about a blown tire because of excessive tire wear.

With the simulation systems the top teams have, they are probably comfortable with their setups.

Jamie McMurray was among those who did a tire test at Indy, and he said he didn't feel the wear was as high as in the past. He would still want to have a competition caution, and possibly two.

"Not having practice would not be a big deal to me," McMurray said.