Rain pushes Daytona 500 to 7 p.m. ET

Posted at 9:01 AM, Feb 27, 2012
and last updated 2012-02-27 19:49:49-05

NASCAR officials have announced that they will attempt to run the Daytona 500 at 7 p.m. ET Monday. Originally, the planned restart of the rain-postponed race was at noon Monday.

Heavy rains had already forced the postponement of the race, originally scheduled to run at 1:29 p.m. Sunday. NASCAR officials first pushed the race to a noon start Monday, but that became an impossibility because of the bad weather.

“Instead of sitting here and waiting all day long with the information we had that presented not a very favorable forecast between now and later this afternoon, I couldn’t sit here and guarantee you that we’d start at 7 p.m.,” NASCAR President Mike Helton said. ” but our confidence of starting at 7 is a whole lot better than it is at noon, which is why we made the plan.”

If the weather does not clear by late afternoon, the race could get pushed to Tuesday. It takes about two hours to get the track ready with jet-dryers, but the clock resets every time another band of bad weather hits.

“Tuesday is an option before we’d have to reconsider packing up and leaving,” Helton said.

This is the second time in three years that the Daytona 500 _ the signature race in the NASCAR Sprint Cup series _ has been hit with buzzard’s luck.

In 2010, the race was red-flagged and delayed twice – for nearly 2½ hours – while track workers patched up a pothole between turns one and two. It took seven hours to complete that race, which ended under the speedway lights.

Now this.

“It’s a bad deal,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said. “We’re doing the best we can.”

Weather issues have never pushed the race to Monday, although it was shortened because of rain four times: in 1965, when Fred Lorenzen won; in 1966, when Richard Petty took the checkered flag; in 2003, when Michael Waltrip won; and in 2009, when Matt Kenseth won.

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