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Daytona 500 delayed: NASCAR rain delay could have been avoided

The Daytona 500 was delayed several hours by rain. Photo/Getty Images
The Daytona 500 was delayed several hours by rain. Photo/Getty Images
Modified 15 Feb 2021

While inclimate weather was in the forecast for most of Daytona Speedweeks, a NASCAR rain delay in the Daytona 500 felt like a slap in the face.

NASCAR and the track had to cancel a practice session and move up the ARCA race on Saturday, but it ended up working in its favor when the Xfiniity Series was run without interruption.

Why didn't NASCAR just move up the start of the Daytona 500 when it was faced with the threat of rain early in the sport's biggest race?

Also Read: 16-car crash mars Daytona 500

With another NASCAR rain delay overshadowing what should be the biggest weekend in auto racing, it's time for NASCAR rain delays to become a thing of the past. NASCAR is not completely at fault since its television partners also have a say in the decision, but it needs better weather strategies than what it employed Sunday.

For example, its first mistake was deciding to go through with the start time of 2:30 p.m. EST. Not only did that create a situation where they had little margin for error, it also meant a NASCAR rain delay was unavoidable given the sketchy weather forecast. Instead, they just hoped it might not happen.

How Daytona could have avoided a NASCAR rain delay

NASCAR had between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST to get the race started. Instead, it decided to stick with the scheduled start time and wound up having to red-flag the race after just 14 laps. Again, you can't fully blame NASCAR, especially with Mother Nature being so unpredictable, but it can't just keep putting the sport in this position.

NASCAR should have moved up the start of the Daytona 500 to 10 or 11 a.m. and dealt with the weather when it came. Even if it started the race at noon, it still would have had a big window to get some of the race in and possibly reach halfway, which would have made the race official. At least fans would have gotten more than a few laps, a wreck and another NASCAR rain delay


Also See: Aric Almirola not happy after big wreck at Daytona

In the end, a NASCAR rain delay just isn't good for business. NASCAR and its partners could have made better decisions regarding the start of the Daytona 500, and they seem to make the same mistake every year and every time there is a threat of rain.

Published 15 Feb 2021, 07:19 IST
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