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Thursday December 13th, 2018 6:16AM

The Latest: Drivers back on track; Blaney leads at Bristol

By The Associated Press

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — The Latest on the NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

NASCAR has lifted the red flag for rain, and the cars are back on the track at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Ryan Blaney has led 59 of the first 76 laps as NASCAR tries to beat the rain. The drivers need to complete 250 of the 500 scheduled laps for the race to be complete.

Pole sitter Kyle Busch has contended with a loose car all day and is struggling to stay in the top 10.

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2:20 p.m.

The red flag is out at Bristol Motor Speedway after 49 laps because of rain. Ryan Blaney is the early leader.

The race started about 30 minutes later than planned amid a forecast that includes a 100 percent chance of rain.

There was an early wreck on the third lap. Ross Chastain and Michael McDowell took the brunt of the damage, but the crash also resulted in damage for seven other cars including Chase Elliott's and Martin Truex Jr.'s. However, Chastain and McDowell were the only ones whose cars have gone behind the wall.

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1:55 p.m.

The Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway has begun and it took only three laps before the first wreck.

Ross Chastain took the brunt of the damage, but the crash also resulted in damage for eight other cars including Michael McDowell's and Chase Elliott's. Chastain's is the only car that had to go behind the wall.

Martin Truex Jr.'s car also was damaged, but unlike the other three, he did not lose a lap.

Pole sitter Kyle Busch has the early lead.

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1:50 p.m.

The Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway has begun amid a forecast that includes a heavy dose of rain.

The race started about 30 minutes later than planned as NASCAR worked to dry the half-mile track after morning rain.

However, it remains unclear if the rain will hold off long enough to get the race in. The forecast calls for a 100 percent chance of rain Sunday.

There will be a competition caution after 45 laps to reassess the track.

Drivers must complete 250 of the 500 laps for the race to be considered official.

Kyle Busch has the pole and is looking for his second straight Cup Series victory.

Kurt Busch, who was expected to start alongside younger brother Kyle on the front row, will start at the back of the field after wrecking his primary car in practice Saturday.

Erik Jones has been strong all week in practice and is looking for his first career win in NASCAR's top series, while seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson looks to snap a 30-race win drought.

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12:55 p.m.

NASCAR is hoping the Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway will be run on Sunday despite a wet forecast.

The race had been scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., but driver introductions were pushed back about 25 minutes. NASCAR is attempting to dry the track after heavy morning rain subsided.

However, the forecast still calls for steady rain through Monday morning.

Kyle Busch has the pole and is looking for his second straight Cup Series victory.

Kurt Busch, who was expected to start alongside younger brother Kyle on the front row, will start at the back of the field after wrecking his primary car in practice Saturday.

Erik Jones has been strong all week in practice and is looking for his first career win in NASCAR's top series, while seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson looks to snap a 30-race win drought.

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10:45 a.m.

Pole sitter Kyle Busch is looking for his second straight Cup Series win Sunday at Bristol Motor Speedway, although Mother Nature could have a say in that.

NASCAR has moved the start up by one hour to 1 p.m. in hopes of getting the race in, but the forecast calls for rain all day.

If the race is postponed, it would be run Monday.

Kurt Busch, who was expected to start alongside younger brother Kyle on the front row, will start at the back of the field after wrecking his primary car in practice Saturday.

Erik Jones has been strong all week in practice and is looking for his first career win in NASCAR's top series, while seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson looks to snap a 30-race win drought.

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