This year, the Great American Race is making history. This year’s Daytona 500 will be the first weeknight, prime-time race ever in NASCAR. According to Yahoo!, the Daytona 500 is scheduled to wave the green flag at 7 p.m. ET, under the lights of the track. The race was originally scheduled to start at one on Sunday. However, weather conditions prevented the race to ever begin.
Rain showers throughout the morning delayed the race indefinitely until a break in the weather would allow the jet dryers, trucks with blowers attached, to drive around the track and dry it off. However, there was never a break long enough for the track to even be fully dried off. Shortly after 5 p.m. local time, NASCAR officials announced that the running of the race had been pushed back to noon on Monday.
Thus, the 54th running of the Daytona 500 marked the first time in the event’s history to ever be moved to the next day. ESPN reports that eight previous Daytona’s have endured rain delays, the last being in 2009.
However, the postponement may not be a bad thing. While it is inconvenient for the fans that made plans to attend the race on Sunday, it is a gift in disguise for NASCAR’s ratings. Sports Illustrated says that if NASCAR gets the race on Monday night, aired on Fox, it could produce record ratings for a series that is coming off of one of its most compelling seasons. In the last race of the previous season, the championship race was down-to-the-wire between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.
As reported by AOL Sporting News, Tony Stewart won the biggest game of winner-take-all in the history of NASCAR racing. Stewart won the Ford 400 to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship in a tiebreaker over race runner-up Edwards. The race, broadcasted by ESPN, brought a large amount of national attention to NASCAR. According to Yahoo!, if NASCAR can continue to ride this momentum with the debut of a Monday prime time, under the lights race – the sport could develop a whole new look and energy.
Photo by The Freewheeling Daredevil.