NASCAR fans headed to Daytona International Speedway on Sunday with the hope of seeing a phenomenal season-opening race. However, they were instead met with the news that there was a rain delay. The 40 drivers left the track after only taking their pace lap while raindrops fell onto the cars.
With this news, the fans were frustrated. They were hoping that the action would resume on Sunday afternoon, but the weather radar showed that even more storms were on the horizon. Instead of a delay, the fans immediately began thinking about the potential cancellation.
If the race had to be moved to a future date, when would it be held? Would NASCAR simply send the drivers back out onto the track on Monday as part of the President's Day celebration? Would they delay the race until August?
The rain meant that there were many possibilities for the Daytona 500, but the fans weren't happy with the majority. They wanted to see the drivers take to the track in extremely powerful cars. They didn't want to watch a rerun of the 2019 event.
Have a feeling there isn’t gonna be anymore racing today folks. Sorry to “rain” on your parade. Just a matter of time before they lose the track for good. Tomorrow is best option so they can run a full race and not a 100 lap #DAYTONA500 #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/IbCMiUwWIC— Justin Brodt (@justinbrodt) February 16, 2020
As the sun began to go down and the rain continued, NASCAR fans began to fear the worst. Sure, there was always the possibility that the Daytona 500 could continue heading into the night, but this seemed less likely with each passing moment.
The more likely sequence of events is that the race would be postponed until President's Day. This would not be ideal for many fans of the sport considering that they would have to go to work. Although it would still be preferable to watching a shortened version on Sunday.
One reason for the name Daytona 500 is that the drivers have to cover 500 miles over 200 laps. This takes a considerable amount of time, but NASCAR fans find enjoyment in watching the action. This was no longer possible on Sunday due to the rain delay.
With the inclement weather putting a stop to the racing, the drivers were forced from the track after a mere 20 laps. This was only 1/10 of the total distance. This wasn't enough to crown a winner in the Great American Race.
If they knew rain was going to be an issue should have started the Daytona 500 at around noon, simple— Isaac Rodriguez (@isaacfromFL) February 16, 2020
Why, oh why, did NASCAR wait to start the Daytona 500 until mid-afternoon? The fans asked this question frequently on Sunday after they learned about the rain delay. In their opinion, the forecast made it clear that there would be inclement weather and steps should have been taken to avoid a potential delay or cancellation.
One of the oft-mentioned points on social media was that the race needed to start hours earlier than it did on Sunday. The fans didn't need the pre-race analysis, the Darius Rucker musical performance, or any of the random interviews featuring WWE star Sheamus. They just wanted to see some racing.
I mean, like in 2012 when I had given up on watching the #DAYTONA500 in the evening and woke up in the morning to see a jet dryer in flames.— Kalle August (@FINdyCar) February 16, 2020
While stock car racing may be an overwhelmingly American sport, it does have viewers overseas. There were some NASCAR fans in Europe, the Middle East, or Asia that wanted to catch the action on Sunday. Instead, they watched a rain delay that lasted until bedtime.
As some fans pointed out, they were just going to head to bed and hope for an update when they woke up in the morning. There was no purpose in staying up until the early morning hours in hope of the race being resumed.
Florida is known for raining.
What does NASCAR do?
Start the Daytona 500 at 3:30PM and move the 400 to August.— Korey Long (@5FromThe6ix) February 16, 2020
Daytona International Speedway is in Florida, which means that the races could be subject to inclement weather. After all, the state is known for frequently-changing conditions in which it is pouring rain one moment and then hot and sunny the next.
For the fans of NASCAR and the Daytona 500, they felt that the potential of rain should have been taken into consideration. Why did those in charge of the season-opening race move ahead with the schedule despite knowing that rain could fall.
2 things that don’t work. Afternoon in February in Daytona. Night in July or August. I’ve lived here my whole life and it’s never changed. I dunno how nascar doesn’t learn this. Start the race at noon. Anytime they have momentum for a race this happens. #DAYTONA500— Tim W. Downey Jr. (@TimWdowneyJR) February 16, 2020
Comedian Bill Engvall once discussed how residents of each city make very unique statements about the weather and how it constantly changes. He mentioned that they have this expertise due to living in these areas and knowing what the weather will be like on a daily basis. He used Texas as an example.
The analogy could have also worked for Florida, as it turns out. The NASCAR fans pointed out that the afternoon weather at Daytona in February is not ideal for racing, so the race directors should have taken this factor into account.
I don't know why they keep insisting on running the #DAYTONA500 in the daytime. Every couple of years, there's a long rain delay that pushes it to later in the night or the next day.
That, and finishing the race at night is far more awesome than with the sun still out.— Kenny Townsend (@IAmKennyT2660) February 16, 2020
The race fans were not happy about the rain delay and possible cancellation, and they had some ideas about how to make the situation better. In their opinion, the race just needed to either start early or be pushed to a later time.
As many fans pointed out on Sunday afternoon, there is nothing they love better than watching 40 cars go 200 mph as the sun sets over the horizon. They wanted to see the final laps of the race take place underneath the lights at Daytona International Speedway.
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