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What happens if the race is delayed, postponed because of rain?

3 min read
What happens if the race is delayed, postponed because of rain?

If you’re headed out to Daytona Beach for the 66th Daytona 500, you might want to pack a rain poncho and prepare for some weather delays. 

The weather isn’t looking too favorable in Daytona Beach this weekend. The big race is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on Sunday at the Daytona International Speedway – and it could be a rainy one. FOX 35 Storm Team Meteorologist Ian Cassette says some models show steady rain over Daytona Beach on Saturday through all of Sunday, with inches of rain possible. 

“Depending on what model you look at, you’ll get varying degrees of just how wet it’ll be and how long the rain sticks around,” Cassette said. “Other models, like the EURO, are less wet, but still keep rain chances going into Sunday. Overall, it appears rain will be likely to impact the Daytona 500 this year with decent chances of showers throughout the day Sunday.”

Temps in Daytona Beach are expected to be cool, with winds out of the north holding highs in the upper 50s on Sunday. 

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 23: Fans sit in the rain during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Despite the rain chances, racing fans should be aware of Daytona International Speedway’s policy that prohibits umbrellas inside the venue. 

It should be noted that this isn’t the first Daytona 500 that’s been impacted by rain, and it probably won’t be the last. Three of the last 10 races in February (2014, 2020 and 2021) were wet ones. That weather caused the 2014 and 2021 races to be delayed, the 2020 race to be postponed. 

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 23: Rain falls during a rain delay in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 23, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

Should the event be postponed, Daytona International Speedway has protocols in place that give fans the opportunity to exchange their regular grandstand tickets for a future NASCAR race. Daytona 500 ticketholders can exchange their tickets for any participating NASCAR event or next year’s Daytona 500. More on that policy here

The event being delayed is another possibility. NASCAR has a policy in place that states it won’t start a race without a plan to get to the advertised distance, FOX Sports reports. If there’s inclement weather, officials might want to get at least to the halfway point; for the Daytona 500, that’s 100 laps. 

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If the track is wet, that’s another cause for a delay. Track drying can depend on wind, cloud cover and humidity, plus water coming out from underneath barriers on the outside wall and water seeming up from seams in the asphalt. The track can take anywhere from 90 to 180 minutes to dry – and that happens with the help of on-site track-drying trucks and jet dryers. 

And no, teams can’t work on their cars during a rain delay. 

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 26: The #2 Miller Lite Dodge driven by Brad Keselowski sits on pit road as rain falls prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 26, 2012 in Daytona Beach,

Watch Daytona 500 coverage, including the race, on FOX. 

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