Daytona 500 Start Time: Rain Postpones Race to Prime Time Monday

Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 27, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 26:  The #16 3M Ford of Greg Biffle and the #99 Fastenal Ford of Carl Edwards are moved by crew members to facilitate track drying during a rain delay at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2012 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

The Daytona 500 has been delayed once again by rain. After being postponed for the first time in history on Sunday, the noon start on Monday has been pushed back to 7 p.m. ET, according to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports.

NASCAR made the decision after rain continued to fall in Daytona throughout most of the morning. It takes around two hours to dry the track, giving them no option other than to attempt a night race to start the season.

Daytona 500 now scheduled for 7pm on Fox

— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) February 27, 2012


What It Means

Instead of forcing the fans to show up at the track only to sit around for several hours again, NASCAR saw the writing on the wall and decided to make the call early. According to the Weather Channel, there appears to be an opening starting around 5 p.m.

Having already lost Sunday, nobody involved wants to wait another full day to get the race in, so they'll do everything within their power to get the track fit for competition tonight. It might take a bit longer than usual because of the persistent rainfall over the past two days, though.

The decision is good news for NASCAR fans who work during the afternoon and would have been forced to miss the year's marquee race. Racing in prime time will also provide a significant boost for television ratings over the previously scheduled noon start.


What Happens Next?

The waiting game continues. After getting mentally prepared to race yesterday and then early today, it has to be starting to wear on the drivers. It takes a lot of effort to get ready for a race, so having it get called off twice can't be easy to deal with.

Luckily, the forecast is looking more promising than it has in 48 hours. As long as nothing changes over the next handful of hours, fans and drivers should finally get what they've been waiting months for at 7 p.m. tonight.

Nobody, not even Mother Nature, can stop the Great American Race. So it's just a matter of time before the green flag waves to begin the 2012 NASCAR season.