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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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Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, leads the field to the green flag to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, poses with the Coors Light Pole Award after qualifying for the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 8, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Jimmy John`s Chevrolet, beats Carl Edwards, driver of the #19 Stanley Toyota, to the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 13, 2016 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Brad Keselowski, driver of the #2 Miller Lite Ford, races Joey Logano, driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Kurt Busch, driver of the #41 Monster Energy / Haas Automation Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Chase Elliott, driver of the #24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, has an on track incident during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates with a burnout after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag ahead of Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota, to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, takes the chequered flag ahead of Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota, to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Express Toyota, poses with the winner`s decal in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series DAYTONA 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 21, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Kyle Larson, driver of the #24 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet SS, races to a seventh-place finish Sunday, February 21, 2016 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)
Regan Smith, driver of the #7 Golden Corral Tommy Baldwin Racing Chevrolet SS races to an eighth-place finish, February 21, 2016 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by HHP/Alan Marler for Chevy Racing)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Busch/Jimmy John`s Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet SS makes a pit stop Sunday, February 21, 2016 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Harvick finished 4th in the race. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

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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.

John - Unregistered

February 28, 2012 3:26 AM

Yes its a pain in the ass for the fans, but if you are going to blame anyone blame the weather and that make believe thing called GOD, not nascars fault, they are doing the right thing, the SAFE thing, dont want another motorsport death. Anyone who wants the drivers to race in the rain and put safety last is just an asshole



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