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Hole in asphalt halts 500 twice UPDATE Greg Biffle hit it on three consecutive laps. Dale Earnhardt Jr. scraped his car across it several times. Matt Kenseth, Clint Bowyer and others blamed it for damage.

The hole between turns 1 and 2 took center stage at NASCAR's marquee event, marring an otherwise spectacular Daytona 500 and prompting officials to apologize for more than two hours of delays that had some fans heading home.

The stoppages came at a critical time for NASCAR, which began this season by making several on-track changes designed to boost sagging TV ratings.

"This is not supposed to happen," track president Robin Braig said. "But we can come back from this. We know how to fix it. ... We know how to do it right. I apologize for it. This is hallowed ground. We understand that. We accept the responsibility."

Whether the hole damaged the sport's credibility will play out over the next few weeks and months. Drivers, crew chiefs and owners said the frantic finish - with Jamie McMurray holding off Earnhardt on the final lap - certainly helped overcome the two delays that totaled 2 hours, 24 minutes.

02/14/10 A hole approximately 3 feet long had developed in the lower groove of Turn 2 at Daytona International Speedway, forcing NASCAR officials to halt the Daytona 500 twice Sunday.  The track is in dire need of resurfacing and this should ensure it happens now.

Officials initially stopped the race with 78 laps remaining in the 200-lap opener. Cars parked on pit road for about 30 minutes, then NASCAR allowed drivers to get out of their cockpits for a break. Track workers patched the hole, which was about 18 inches long and 8 inches wide, using blowtorches to heat the pavement.

It didn't last, though as they had to stop the race a 2nd time and this time they fixed it with fast setting concrete.

During the first red-flag period, maintenance crews worked to repair the area as the cars were parked down pit road. Drivers were eventually allowed to exit their vehicles. Although it was immediately unclear what had caused the hole to form, heavy rains had inundated Central Florida recently appeared to be the culprit.

"With the combination of the moisture and the cold temperatures, the normal solutions you normally use to patch the track are not working," NASCAR chairman Brian France told FOX. "I think we've turned the corner. We're on our third different solution, and it's going slower than we wanted it to, but we will get it solved."

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