Daytona 500: NASCAR doing fans a disservice with delayed decision?

NASCAR has yet to make a decision on whether or not the Daytona 500 will run as scheduled on Sunday afternoon, but that decision seems obvious.

Daytona 500, NASCAR
Daytona 500, NASCAR / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages

Rain was always going to be a factor during the season-opening weekend underway at Daytona International Speedway, and it already forced two early schedule changes.

Saturday's ARCA Menards Series race was moved up to Friday night after the NASCAR Truck Series race, and Saturday's Xfinity Series race was pushed back to late Monday morning.

The Weather Channel is calling for a 99% chance of rain throughout Sunday at the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval, but NASCAR has not yet made a decision on the Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500.

The 66th annual "Great American Race" is set to be broadcast live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR obviously doesn't want to make an early decision to postpone a race, only for the weather to end up being good enough to run it. That is especially true for the biggest race of the year.

And yes, there is still that 1%.

But the same rain that is projected to last all day today already started on Saturday, and given the fact that that rain is expected to last through Monday morning, there simply doesn't seem to be a window to dry the track, keep it dry, and fit in a full 200-lap race.

This isn't a matter of waiting it out and hoping the rain doesn't come. NASCAR should just save everyone the time and effort and make the call to postpone the race. Why make everyone wait it out for the inevitable?

We are coming off of a Busch Light Clash decision at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum two weeks ago for which NASCAR was universally praised: moving the race up by a day to avoid incoming bad weather, bad weather which, sure enough, rolled in as expected. The decision was truly unprecedented.

Moving up the Daytona 500 by a day is obviously not in NASCAR's playbook; that's simply not feasible for an event expected to draw a crowd of over 150,000 people. And even if it were, we already covered the fact that that would not have helped, given the fact that Saturday's Xfinity Series race wasn't able to be contested due to the rain.

But everyone knows there are contingency plans already in place. At the very least, NASCAR can do everyone a favor making the decision that everyone knows they are going to have to make anyway.

Even AccuWeather itself is trying to send NASCAR the message to call it.

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As of now, Fox is set to broadcast the 66th annual Daytona 500 live from Daytona International Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Regardless of when the race takes place, begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss it!