Daytona 500 postponed until Monday due to rain

Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Auto Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The Daytona 500 was postponed until 4 p.m. Monday due to inclement weather for just the third time in the illustrious 66-year history of NASCAR’s showcase event.

Sunday morning’s decision signaled that NASCAR officials wanted to avoid fans having to play the waiting game on Florida’s Surf Coast.

Previously, bad weather — including heavy rains or even tornado warnings — had created multiple-hour delays, forced crowds of more than 100,000 to seek shelter, wait out storms and return for the race.

Fans travel long distances in many cases and spend several days in anticipation of the Daytona 500. A postponement could leave their efforts unrewarded. Monday being Presidents’ Day, a national holiday, will help to mitigate the exodus of an expected sell-out crowd.

Sunday’s decision creates the first-ever Monday doubleheader at Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 will run after the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener set for 11 a.m.

The 4 p.m. weather forecast calls for sunny weather with a 4% chance of rain and 15-mph winds from the north.


The 2012 race was the first Daytona 500 moved to Monday. The race ultimately spread out over three days before Matt Kenseth won in overtime early Tuesday morning. The late finish followed a 7 p.m. Monday start time and two-hour delay after Juan Pablo Montoya hit a jet dryer on Lap 160 during a caution, causing fuel to leak and catch fire.

Bad weather pushed the 2020 Daytona 500 to a Monday holiday finish, this time following hours-long delays. The race ended with Denny Hamlin’s third Daytona 500 win, but is best remembered for Ryan Newman’s terrifying final-lap crash.

The Daytona 500 has a rich history associated with Presidents’ Day weekend and its George Washington’s Birthday holiday predecessor (Feb. 22).

The first Daytona 500 won by Lee Petty in 1959 was actually held on Feb. 22, Driving for Petty Enterprises, Pete Hamilton won the 1970 race on Feb. 22.


swipe to next page

©2024 Orlando Sentinel. Visit Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


blog comments powered by Disqus