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Daytona 500 pushed to Monday evening by rain

The 54th running of the Daytona 500 is set to be an unprecedented Monday evening race, after rain continued to foil attempts to get underway during the day.
Rain continues to affect the 54th running of the Daytona 500, with NASCAR forced to push back the scheduled Monday start time to 7pm ET (midnight GMT) at the earliest.

“We believe this is a reasonable expectation,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton, pointing to a number of forecasts that suggest that the rain is likely to clear up this evening after dark.

When storms forced NASCAR to postpone the race on Sunday for the first time in its history, the original hope was to get underway at noon on Monday. But continued persistent rain has made that impossible, and NASCAR have bowed to the reality of the situation and announced that the race will now not start until the evening.

"[Rather than] having everyone sit around and wait for several hours today up until the point where we're confident or have more confidence that we can run the race, [it] was more prudent to do it this way," said Helton.

The 7pm start time is a "best guess" at this point and it could be later if the rain is slow in clearing up or the track takes longer to dry off. The US broadcasters of the race, Fox Sports, are committed to showing the race live no matter what time it starts.

Everyone is fervently hoping that the race will run tonight and not roll over a second day but Helton confirmed that "Tuesday is an option before we'd have to reconsider packing up and leaving," even though "We're focused on today right now."

"We'll wait until the last possible minute that we would not run the race,” added the president of Dayton International Speedway, Joie Chitwood III. “We want to exhaust every opportunity of getting the track dry and running the race.”

There is considerable pressure to get the race run today, and not just because of the escalating costs of opening the Speedway and bringing in staff for a second extra day if the race is forced to roll over to Tuesday.

The biggest headache for NASCAR itself is getting teams and equipment across country to Arizona for next weekend's race at Phoenix. The haulers take two days just to make the distance and that's not including packing and setting-up time, and Nationwide and Sprint Cars are due on track early on Friday for the weekend's race activities.




Related Pictures

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One of the 10 International Speedway Corporation jet dryers at work on the drenched track at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series cars are covered on pit road as they await the start of the 54th running of the Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. [Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR]
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Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with a burnout after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Garry Eller/HHP for Chevy Racing)
With General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, holds the Michigan Heritage Trophy after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. In 2013, MIS began awarding the Michigan Heritage Trophy as a recognition and celebration of the automobile and it`s importance to the race track and the manufacturers competing in NASCAR. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates with his crew after winning the Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race Sunday, August 17, 2014 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. This was Gordon`s third win of the season. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, and Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, lead the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell-Pennzoil Ford, races Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 17, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, captured the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan NASCAR Sprint Cup 400 race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet SS, celebrates capturing the pole position Friday, August 15, 2014 for Sunday`s Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan. The was Gordon`s second pole position this season. He set a new track record in the final round of qualifying with a lap of 206.558 mph. Gordon is second in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, celebrates with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Brian Lawdermilk/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2014 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Stewart-Haas vice-president Greg Ziparelli addresses the media at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Jeff Gordon and Marcos Ambrose lead the field at Watkins Glen International on Sunday, August 10 2014. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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SP3 - Unregistered

February 27, 2012 8:32 PM

@zoom, nobody runs on ovals in the rain. never have. sportscars only run portions of an oval (here in the States) so are set up completely differently that an 'oval-only' car. I am a huge nasscar hater but those whinging about this delay are talking out their asses. move along.



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