Daytona 500: NASCAR Begins Drying Track Amid Extended Rain Delay

The Daytona 500 has a chance to continue on Sunday evening following a lengthy rain delay. NASCAR's season-opening race came to a halt after only 15 laps due to a wreck, as well as lightning in the area and heavy rains at the track. Two hours later, NASCAR's governing body sent the Air Titans back onto the track to begin the drying process.

According to multiple on-site reporters, the rains fluctuated in strength after the race came to a halt. NASCAR attempted to send the Air Titans out earlier in the afternoon, but the rain continued falling and disrupted the process. However, the situation began to improve as the showers moved out of the area. More rain appeared on the radar southwest, but the expectation was that the showers would weaken before hitting Daytona Beach.

A lightning delay happens when lightning is reported within eight miles of the track, and the race is paused for 30 minutes. The lightning strike on Sunday was reported just three miles from the track. A rain delay also happened during last year's race after just 20 laps. The 2020 race was delayed several hours before the race was completely halted until the next day. It was not completed until Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, making it the first race to take place over two days since 2012. Fans watching the 2021 race hoped the same thing would not happen this year.

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Although the delay came very early in the race, it came after a major crash in the 14th lap. The incident happened when Kyle Busch gave his teammate Christopher Bell a push, but he hit Aric Almirola from behind as well, beginning a chain reaction. Sixteen cars were involved, including the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford Mustang driven by Ryan Newman. Last year, Newman was involved in a major accident at the 2020 Daytona 500, which left him hospitalized. Thankfully, Newman appeared to get out of his vehicle without suffering any major injuries.