Updates from Sunday, Feb. 23
After 37 laps, the race has been delayed after rain (via NASCAR Stats):
Red flag is displayed with 37 laps in the books. Drivers able to exit their cars. #NASCAR— NASCAR Stats (@NASCARStats) February 23, 2014
Bob Pockrass of Sporting News had more on the weather conditions:
Yellow box area is severe thunderstorm warning. Red is tornado warning. Blue circle is track area. pic.twitter.com/jZYuCz7HQI— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 23, 2014
Hendrick Motorsports updated fans on the conditions via its Twitter account:
Jeff Gluck of USA Today had more on the work to dry the track:
NASCAR has suspended drying operations for now. It's pouring.— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) February 23, 2014
Dustin Long of the Motor Racing Network later provided the latest update on when the race was expected to restart:
The RCR 27 Cup Team confirmed that report and provided an update on when FOX plans to resume TV coverage:
Just got word they hope to have track ready by 8:30...stay tuned to @NASCARONFOX starting at 8 p.m. ET— RCR 27 Cup Team (@RCR27PMenard) February 24, 2014
Right around 8:30 PM ET, the race was officially restarted according to the ESPN Sportscenter Twitter account:
The 2014 Daytona 500 NASCAR race is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at the Daytona International Speedway, but there is genuine concern that the 56th running of the Great American Race will be adversely affected by the weather in the area.
According to Accuweather expert senior meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, there is a weather front filled with rain and potentially thunderstorms making its way across the state of Florida that could cause delays in Sunday’s race.
Sosnowski warns that thunder means lightning could be present and all fans should take immediate shelter if they hear or see signs of an approaching storm.
Will NASCAR get the entire Daytona 500 completed on Sunday?
Local meteorologists have predicted that the precipitation percentage will be around 55 percent at that time, but they expect the precipitation percentage to increase hourly as the day progresses, per the 10-day forecast.
Florida Weather Expert Dan Kottlowski commented on the situation, via Accuweather.com:
If there are multiple delays due to spotty showers or mishaps early in the event, then the risk of the downpours later on during Sunday could bring an early end to racing for the day, even with improved drying equipment.
The 500-mile race is the first of the 2014 season and the biggest event of the year for the sport. The battle in Daytona has been shortened four times in the history of the event—1965, 1966, 2003 and 2009—but advancements in track-drying equipment have helped speed up rain delays over the last two seasons.
The hope is that the storms will be sporadic on Sunday and not force the race to be delayed or shortened.
Just as the racing at Daytona International Speedway is unpredictable, though, so is Mother Nature’s impact on NASCAR’s Super Bowl.