NASCAR fans (probably) have to wait another day for the Daytona 500

The weather forecast for Daytona International Speedway on Sunday indicates that the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 will be postponed.
Daytona 500, NASCAR
Daytona 500, NASCAR / Mike Ehrmann/GettyImages

Weather was always going to be a factor during the season-opening weekend at Daytona International Speedway. Two major schedule changes have already been made, with the ARCA Menards Series race having been moved from Saturday afternoon to Friday night following the NASCAR Truck Series race.

While qualifying was able to take place on Saturday afternoon for the Xfinity Series race, the weather forecast made it seem like nothing more than a longshot for the race to actually happen a little bit later on.

The decision didn't come until right around the time when the race was scheduled to get underway, but the United Rentals 300 was indeed pushed back to Monday at 11:00 a.m. ET (Fox Sports 1).

There is little reason to believe that Sunday's Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500 won't be pushed back to Monday as well.

According to The Weather Channel, there is a 99% chance of rain throughout Sunday, setting up the second ever full postponement in the history of the "Great American Race". NASCAR has not yet announced any schedule changes relating to the Daytona 500, but it seems like a matter of when, not if.

As of now, the race is set to be shown live on Fox beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET, but you almost have to question why NASCAR, faced with such a bleak forecast, doesn't just save everybody the time and effort and make the call.

Several Daytona 500s have been impacted by rain before, with the races in 1965, 1966, 2003, and 2009 all shortened. In 2014 and 2021, the races were also delayed by rain, but they were run without a full postponement (though the race did not end until early Monday morning in 2021). In 2020, the race was started and stopped on Sunday, with rain pushing the rest of it to Monday.

The 2012 Daytona 500 is the only Daytona 500 that has ever been completely postponed. It did not get underway until Monday night, and it did not finish until early Tuesday morning.

The forecast for Monday, Presidents' Day, looks far more promising than it does for Sunday. The rain is projected to stop mid-morning, setting up the Xfinity Series race to get underway as scheduled at around 11:00 a.m. ET.

A Daytona 500 postponement would set up the 200-lap race around the four-turn, 2.5-mile (4.023-kilometer) high-banked Daytona Beach, Florida oval to begin sometime after the conclusion of the 120-lap Xfinity Series event.

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