Daytona 500 postponed until noon Monday UPDATE #2
Brian Neudorff, a meteorologist, said the best chance for NASCAR to race is Monday evening. Monday afternoon, he said, will still see weather conditions much like today's.
|A persistent rain postponed action at Daytona Sunday|
After that, Neudorff believes Tuesday would be a better option – but it's unclear whether NASCAR could hold the race Tuesday and still allow teams enough time to make it to Phoenix, which is the site of the next race.
There was never much hope of getting the race started on Sunday. Rain began falling around 10:30 a.m., and though there were several small windows of dryness, the jet dryers were never able to stay ahead of the weather.
02/26/12 What was NASCAR thinking moving the Daytona 500 back a week. They never has a postponement of the 500 until now. Worse yet, President's weekend had Monday as a holiday for most people, so it made for a great rain date. Now everyone has to go to work tomorrow, so TV ratings will suffer as will attendance. A lot of people will now have to call out sick tomorrow or miss the race. NASCAR took something that was not broken, and broke it.
02/26/12 The start of Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 was delayed by persistent rain at Daytona International Speedway, endangering the event's streak of never being pushed back a day due to weather.
Light rain fell much of Sunday morning, but let up enough at one point for NASCAR officials to send jet dryers out on the track and revive hopes of the cars rolling off at the scheduled 1:29 p.m. local start time. But as pre-race festivities concluded, the heaviest rain of the day moved in, undoing the work the dryers had already done.
The dryers rolled back out on the track around 1:38 p.m. ET, but were pulled back off fewer than 10 minutes later.
"It's one of those days here in Daytona where it pops up and falls off and pops up and falls off," NASCAR president Mike Helton said on the Fox broadcast. "But as the day progresses, we think the chances of the pop-ups diminish quite a bit. Hopefully this will be the last big cell we see, and things will start falling apart, and we can get the track dry and go on and get finish and run the Daytona 500 today."
The event was in a holding pattern as of early Sunday afternoon, according to NASCAR officials. The 2.5-mile Daytona track takes between two and three hours to dry. The speedway is equipped with lights, and has hosted several Daytona 500s that have ended after dark. Track president Joie Chitwood told an Orlando newspaper recently that the facility was prepared to turn on the lights if needed.
"The Daytona International Speedway has every drying piece of machinery they've got across the country here today," Helton added, "because we know that the fans at home and the fans here in Daytona want to see the race run, and we do, too. The sooner, the better."
The Daytona 500, which began in 1959, has never been pushed back to the next day because of inclement weather or any other reason. It has been shortened by weather four times, most recently in 2009 when Matt Kenseth was the winner of the race.
Carl Edwards is on the pole for this year's 200-lap event, which has attracted a crowd of celebrities that includes Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, actress Jane Lynch, model Kate Upton, professional wrestler John Cena, mixed-martial arts fighter John Jones, New York Giants football players Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, singer Lenny Kravitz, and South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier.
Previous Rain Interruptions
1963 First 10 laps run under yellow due to rain.
1965 Rain-shortened -- 133 laps (332.5 miles).
1966 Rain-shortened -- 198 laps (495 miles).
1979 First 16 laps run under yellow due to rain.
1992 Laps 84-89 run under yellow due to rain on backstretch.
1995 Red flag on lap 71 due to rain. Red flag lasted 1:44.
2003 Two red flags for rain. 1st: lap 63; 1:08. Rain-shortened -- 109 laps (272.5 miles).
2009 Rain-shortened -- 152 laps (380 miles).
2012 Race postponed from 2/26 to 2/27 because of rain.