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AP photo by Brynn Anderson / People leave the infield at South Carolina's Darlington Raceway after the NASCAR Xfinity Series race was postponed because of rain Tuesday night.

DARLINGTON, S.C. — Noah Gragson couldn't wait to get back to Xfinity Series action at Darlington Raceway.

Instead, he and the rest of the competitors will have to wait until Thursday after heavy rain postponed the series' first race since March, when the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports.

"After two months of waiting, what's another couple of days?" Gragson said.

NASCAR officials called the race about two hours after the scheduled 6 p.m. start. The event is now set for noon Thursday.

The track was dry and fast until the rain hit about 4 p.m. The storms increased and lessened several times during that stretch, and NASCAR had Air Titan track dryers out at least three times when it looked like things might clear.

In the end, it was too wet to continue during one of the busiest weeks in Darlington history. It started Sunday with the top-tier Cup Series' return to racing and will continue when those drivers are back on the track for a rare midweek event Wednesday night.

Gregson, the second-tier Xfinity Series' points leader who will start in pole Thursday, acknowledged he was anxious about racing at Darlington without practice laps or fans in the stands. He walked around the track earlier Tuesday to get a reminder of what it was like.

"It's going to be really difficult," Gragson said. "We saw some guys in the Cup race who were pretty tame at the start and other guys who were pretty aggressive. That's what I'm nervous of."

Kevin Harvick won Sunday's race for his 50th victory as a Cup Series driver but just his second on the top circuit at Darlington.

There is also rain in the forecast Wednesday. NASCAR hasn't raced on a Wednesday since Richard Petty earned his 200th Cup Series victory, the final one of his record-setting career, at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 1984.

If that race gets postponed, it would move to Thursday night, setting up a same-day doubleheader in a season like no other. NASCAR would likely inspect the Cup Series cars Wednesday, then stagger the arrival times for Xfinity and Cup teams on Thursday.

Thursday's Xfinity Series race will be the first for that circuit since March 7 at Phoenix Raceway.

All drivers, teams and essential personnel were screened at the track before being let in. All cars passed inspection. Now they'll have to wait and hope for better weather.

Gragson, 21, said he spent much of the rain delay playing Xbox and keeping to himself.

Once he fires up the engine, it will be racing as usual, no matter how long he's been away.

"Still a lot of butterflies," he said. "But once I get that helmet on and make a lap around this place, get back to that rhythm and feel comfortable again, it will feel natural."

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