According to the old Roger Miller song, God didn’t make little green apples. But it sure does rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.
Sunday’s Brickyard 400 was supposed to decide the last NASCAR playoff spots heading into this weekend’s inaugural South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway before weekendlong rains forced the regular-season finale to be rescheduled for 11 a.m. PT Monday.
Most of the playoff berths already have been determined, but seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson will have to race his way in at Indianapolis.
If a driver who already has clinched a playoff spot wins Monday, Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports teammate Alex Bowman will advance via the 15th and 16th spots. But should a driver outside the top 16 take the checkered flag, either Johnson or Bowman probably would be knocked out.
Johnson has a 19-point edge on Bowman under NASCAR’s complex point system heading into the finale.
Las Vegan Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and defending series champion Martin Truex Jr. have dominated the 2018 regular season, winning 17 of 25 races. Harvick won the spring race at LVMS; Busch finished second and Truex Jr. fourth.
Others drivers who have punched playoff tickets are Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Clint Bowyer, Austin Dillon, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola and Denny Hamlin.
Unlike at Indianapolis, the weather is expected to be hot and dry in Las Vegas, which could scramble the South Point 400 form sheet.
“I think Las Vegas is going to be a bit of a wild card,” NBC analyst Jeff Burton said of the playoff opener. “It’s going to be over 100 degrees, and that’s going to change the way the cars drive.”
In addition to the second Truck Series playoff race on Friday night and the Xfinity Series on Saturday afternoon, LVMS will host a K&N Pro Series West race on its dirt track on Thursday night.
South Point 400 schedule
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West & IMCA Western RaceSaver Sprint Series at the Dirt Track
Noon: LVMS Dirt Track gates open
12:15-1 p.m.: K&N practice
1:15-2 p.m.: K&N final practice
2:15 p.m.: IMCA WRS hot laps
3:30 p.m.: IMCA WRS group qualifying
4 p.m.: K&N group qualifying
4:30-5:30 p.m.: K&N Driver Autograph Session (Christopher Bell, Brendan Gaughan)
5 p.m.: IMCA WRS heat races (4 heat races) – 8 laps
6-7 p.m.: NASCAR Driver Autograph Session (Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, Noah Gragson and Riley Herbst)
6 p.m.: K&N qualifying race No. 1
6:10 p.m.: K&N qualifying race No. 2
6:20 p.m.: K&N qualifying race No. 3
6:30 p.m.: K&N qualifying race No. 4
6:50 p.m.: IMCA WRS feature (25 laps)
7:40 p.m.: K&N driver introductions
8 p.m.: Star Nursery 100 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Race (100 laps)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice at the Superspeedway
2 p.m.: Superspeedway ticket gates open (Free admission)
2:05-2:55 p.m.: World of Westgate 200 first practice
4:05-4:55 p.m.: World of Westgate 200 second practice
Ticket Gates, Neon Garage, and VIP Suites open at 10 a.m.
11:05-11:55 a.m.: South Point 400 MENCS First Practice
Noon-12:45 p.m.: World of Westgate 200 NCWTS Autograph Session (Neon Garage)
12:05-12:55 p.m.: DC Solar 300 NXS First Practice
2:05-2:50 p.m.: DC Solar 300 NXS Final Practice
3:05 p.m.: World of Westgate 200 NCWTS Qualifying (Single Vehicle/Two Rounds)
4:35 p.m.: MENCS Qualifying (Multi-Vehicle/Three Rounds)
5:30 p.m.: World of Westgate 200 NCWTS Driver Introductions
6 p.m.: World of Westgate 200 NCWTS Race (134 Laps, 201 Miles)
8-10:30 p.m.: RV Appreciation Party (Neon Garage)
(Note: party will start immediately following the truck race)
Ticket Gates, Neon Garage, and VIP Suites open at 8 a.m.
10-10:50 a.m.: South Point 400 MENCS second Practice
11:10 a.m.: DC Solar 300 NXS Qualifying (Multi-Vehicle/Three Rounds)
12:30-1:20 p.m.: South Point 400 MENCS Final practice
1:30 p.m.: DC Solar 300 NXS Driver introductions
2 p.m.: DC Solar 300 NXS Race (200 laps, 300 miles)
5:30 p.m.: Neon Garage Closes
Ticket Gates, Neon Garage, VIP Suites open at 7 a.m.
8:30-9:30 a.m.: Speedway Children’s Charities Track Walk
10 a.m.: MENCS drivers and crew chiefs meeting (Neon Garage)
11:20 a.m.: South Point 400 MENCS Driver Introductions
12 p.m.: South Point 400 MENCS Race (267 laps, 400.5 miles)
5 p.m.: Neon Garage Closes
*Schedule is subject to change