John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
The yearly night race at the Daytona International Speedway is usually one of the best events in any given NASCAR season. The Coke Zero 400 as it’s currently called was scheduled to run Saturday evening. However the weather did not cooperate and after waiting for nearly two hours NASCAR decided to pack it up and rescheduled the race for Sunday. For those of us that watched the race today we are all aware that the weather popped up again and NASCAR called the race after 112 laps of the scheduled 160 laps.
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While I feel that NASCAR usually handles rain situation well, I do believe that they dropped the ball this weekend.
Saturday night was a bit of a wash. Some would argue that had NASCAR held out a bit longer the rain would have cleared Saturday night and the race could have been started. That may have been the case but at that point it’s going to be quite late and there was still more rain in the area Saturday night. The only thing about not trying to start the race Saturday was the fact that Sunday’s forecast looked rainy as well.
The weather forecast held true on Sunday as the race was delayed a few times early on for rain. Then with 51 laps to go the rains came again. Once the rain picked up NASCAR threw the red flag at lap 112 and sent the cars to pit road. Although there was a lot of rain in the area things looked good as it was only around 2:00 PM. Most fans would have assumed that NASCAR would use the rest of the day and evening if need be to run the final 48 laps of the race.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as NASCAR called the race approximately 57 minutes into the rain delay.
I understand that it had been a long weekend for everyone involved but NASCAR could have held on a bit longer. The rain that was at the track was moving out and there was one more cell to the west and it seemed that all would be good after that. Now I am by no means a meteorologist and I dare say NASCAR might have more data than my weather app but never the less. If NASCAR could hold out for two hours Saturday night, why not hold out for a couple on Sunday, especially so early in the day. Storm cells may pop up unexpectedly but they can also dissipate unexpectedly as well.
Keeping everyone at the track for a few more hours may have been annoying had the end result been the same but on the flip side it would have been worth it if the race were able to be finished. In the end though it is what it is and Aric Almirola will gladly take his victory and his spot in the 2014 chase even if NASCAR jumped the gun in calling the race as early as they did.