TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Thunderstorms Sunday forced NASCAR to postpone the Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway that was to mark the return of more fans to the track. The race, which was pushed back to 2:00 PM CDT on Monday, is the first amid the coronavirus pandemic in which NASCAR opened the gates for up to 5,000 fans. Those in the grandstands were urged to seek shelter roughly 30 minutes before the scheduled start, leading to a two-plus hour wait.

NASCAR has launched an investigation after a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the elite Cup Series who just two weeks ago successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues. Officials with NASCAR said the noose was found on Sunday afternoon and vowed to do everything possible to find who was responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.”

The addition of fans and the ban of Confederate flags weren’t the only changes set to be on display in the race. NASCAR implemented new rules in response to Ryan Newman’s harrowing accident when racing for the win on the final lap at Daytona in February.

The changes include the elimination of aero ducts at superspeedway tracks, a reduction in size of throttle body and requiring slip tape to be applied along the entire length of the lower rearward facing surfaces of the rear bumper cover.

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