Rain pushes Daytona 500 to Monday in first outright postponement since 2012

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — NASCAR has postponed the season-opening Daytona 500 until Monday because of two days of rain at Daytona International Speedway.

The race had been scheduled for Sunday afternoon, although the weather forecast put that in doubt all week. The final practice for drivers was canceled Saturday, as was the Xfinity Series race.

The Xfinity Series race is now scheduled to be held Monday morning, hours ahead of the 4 p.m. start for the Daytona 500.

Joey Logano is set to start from the pole for Team Penske.

The last time the Daytona 500 was postponed a full day was in 2012. NASCAR completed 20 laps in 2020 before rain halted activity, and the race resumed the next day.

In making the early call Sunday, NASCAR prevented fans from sitting in the rain awaiting a decision on whether the race would proceed. It continued a willingness NASCAR exhibited earlier this month when it moved the exhibition Clash at the Coliseum up a full day on little notice because of poor weather headed toward Los Angeles.

Spire Motorsports driver Zane Smith offered on social media to mingle with fans Sunday.

“Hate the rain won today but going to try to make the most of it and meet some of you guys,” Smith tweeted. “Let me know your camp spot and I will try to come find you! Might be able to drag a few other drivers along too.”

Added Spire teammate Carson Hocevar: “Unfortunate cards we have been dealt as a sport, but probably the right call. Feel bad for the fans that saved up for this trip and now can’t stay.”

Despite the postponement, NASCAR and Daytona continued many of the prerace activities, including celebrity visits from singer and Trackhouse Racing co-owner Pitbull and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Pitbull’s prerace concert was scrapped. He already agreed to return next year and perform then. Johnson is the race’s grand marshal, tasked with delivering the command for drivers to start their engines.

“Everything happens for a reason,” said Madison Marsh, the reigning Miss America who was scheduled to drive the pace car and lead the field to the green flag. “Although I would have loved, obviously, to get to drive the pace car, there have been so many other parts of this weekend that have been fantastic.

“Just getting to be a part of that, I’m never going to regret coming here. … Obviously would have liked to drive, but everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to.”

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

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