The Daytona 500 was postponed Sunday for the first time in its 54-year history after heavy rain saturated Daytona International Speedway.
But there’s more rain coming and officials are worried that it could delay the Daytona race for another day. NASCAR officials spent more than four hours waiting for a window to dry the track, but it never came. When the latest storm cell passed over the speedway around 5 p.m., they had little choice but to call it a day.
The 500-mile race was rescheduled for noon Monday. It will be aired on Fox.
“This is one of the toughest things for us drivers,” pole-sitter Carl Edwards said. “It’s now who can really stay focused. That’s not just the drivers; that’s the pit crews, the crew chiefs, everyone, the officials. But I think we’ll be just fine.”
But Monday might be another test for drivers and fans.
The forecast calls for more rain, and officials are prepared to wait all day and into the night to avoid a Tuesday race, which would strain teams that must get to Phoenix for next week’s race.
“The longer runway we have tomorrow to get in the Daytona 500, the greater the likelihood for us to start and finish the event on Monday,” NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said. “There are certainly a lot of considerations that go into the start-time decision, and we believe scheduling it for noon gives us the best opportunity to get the race in [Monday].”
Eight previous Daytona 500s have endured rain delays, the latest in 2009. But never before had storms forced NASCAR’s premier event to be moved.
“I think that’s a pretty good record for NASCAR,” Edwards said.
“They’ve been living right to have 53 of these and never have one postponed.”