DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (NASCAR.com) - History came to the Daytona 500 on Sunday, but not the kind that NASCAR wanted to make. For the first time in the event's long history, weather forced the postponement of the Great American Race to Monday.
After battling intermittent showers all day, NASCAR officials announced shortly after 5 p.m. local time that the 54th running of the Daytona 500 had been pushed back to 11:00 AM CT Monday because of weather. Although NASCAR's showcase event had been shortened four previous times due to the elements, it had never been completely postponed -- until Sunday, when a gloomy forecast into the evening prevented any attempt at running the race under the lights.
The rescheduled event will air on Fox, and tickets will be available at the gate or the Daytona ticket office.
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.
By early afternoon, the event was in a holding pattern. Time and time again the rain slackened enough for NASCAR to send out jet dryers in an attempt to dry the 2.5-mile facility, but persistent showers and soggy conditions thwarted every attempt, and officials lost the track after another heavy downpour later in the day.
Monday's forecast isn't much better: According to The Weather Channel, a 70 percent chance of rain exists during the day, with a possible window around 3 p.m. local time. There is also a 40 percent chance of rain for Monday night.