Rain could have effect on Chase

Atlanta Braves starter John Smoltz delivers to the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, Aug. 19, 2007, at Turner Field in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gregory Smith)

BROOKLYN, Mich. - Steve Letarte and Chad Knaus have waited six races to call the shots during a Nextel Cup Series race. Their returns were delayed another day by rain at Michigan International Speedway.

Rain washed out Sunday's 3M Performance 400, pushing back the scheduled start until noon today on ESPN2.

According to the National Weather Service, however, there is a 100 percent chance of more showers today, which could leave NASCAR with a difficult decision: Push the race to Tuesday, which has another chance for showers, or reschedule it to Nov. 23.

If Michigan becomes the final race, it would change the lineup for the Chase for the Nextel Cup. Michigan would become the season finale and the Sept. 16 race at New Hampshire would be shuffled out of the Chase and become the final qualifying race of the regular season.

If the race were pushed back to Tuesday or Wednesday, it would cut into next week's preparations for a tripleheader at Bristol, Tenn. The Craftsman Truck Series is scheduled to race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday night, the Busch Series is scheduled for Friday, and the Nextel Cup Series is scheduled for Saturday.

When the cars return to the track, two teams will celebrate the return of their crew chiefs. Letarte, who works with series-leading Jeff Gordon, and Knaus, who's teamed with Jimmie Johnson, just completed a six-race suspension for making illegal changes to their drivers' fenders at Sonoma, Calif.

Reach Don Coble at don.coble@morris.com.

Race postponed

What: 3M Performance 400

Where: Michigan International Speedway; Brooklyn, Mich.

Time/TV: Noon, ESPN2

Make-up: Should the race be rained out today, organizers will try to run it Tuesday or Wednesday

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