Daytona 500 Rained Out, Postponed to Monday

February 26, 2012 Updated: February 26, 2012
54th Annual Daytona 500
Crews push covered cars off the track so jet-dryers can try to cope with the rain at the Daytona International Speedway. The Daytona 500 was postponed until Monday. (Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

The Daytona 500 may be the Great American Race as NASCAR claims, but it isn’t greater than Mother Nature.

For the first time in its 54-year history, the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s season-opener and signature event, has been rained out. In previous years, the race has been delayed and shortened by rain, but never postponed.

Several times during the day the track was almost dry enough, but a fresh shower burst would hit just before racing could begin.

The race has been rescheduled for noon Monday, but that forecast doesn’t look much better: a 70 percent chance of rain all day, possibly letting up around 3 p.m.

No one knows what NASCAR would do if Monday were to be rained out as well; the next race on the schedule, the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, is scheduled for next Sunday, with races every weekend until April 7.

Racing on Monday and getting a car and crew packed and shipped to Phoenix for the next race will be tough; if the 500 is rescheduled to Tuesday, getting to Phoenix on time will be very, very tough.

54th Annual Daytona 500
People are reflected in puddles during a rain delay for the NASCAR Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)

“I think logistically it’s a challenge, but we’ve got a lot of good people at Penske that can kind of coordinate that with our test trucks and test truck drivers,” Todd Gordon, crew chief on AJ Allmendinger’s No. 22 Dodge, told NASCAR.com. “We can kind of shuffle things around to make sure that we take care of the drivers, getting them where they need to get to. If we fall all the way back to Tuesday morning, it’ll definitely be a challenge.”

Tickets for the rescheduled event are available at the gate or at the Daytona International Speedway ticket office at 1-800-PITSHOP (748-7467).