The Daytona 500, which you can watch online with a trial, starts on Sunday afternoon and kicks off the Cup Series season. Racing fans have waited for new events since November's championship at Phoenix, but they are concerned about potential delays. Here is the weather forecast ahead of Sunday's season-opening race.
With the start time mere hours away, the current forecast calls for temperatures in the 70s and a 60-80% chance of rain during the afternoon. That number drops to only 30% at night and opens up the opportunity for racing under the lights if the weather causes delays early. If rain does fall and brings out the red flag, the race will come to a halt for a considerable amount of time. Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports reports that it typically takes 90-120 minutes to dry the oval at Daytona International Speedway.
Working with @RaceWeather - highest chc. showers/T’Storms between 2p-6p w/ mostly sct’d precip. w/ likely breaks. Odds of racing 75% DON’T think a wash out but poss. delays &. possibly finishing up in the evening as rain chances greatly diminish after 6pm EST #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/S4S5KF3pHz— Brian Neudorff (@NASCAR_WXMAN) February 14, 2021
The rain created issues on Saturday and disrupted several events. The Cup Series drivers were unable to practice due to the heavy rains while the Xfinity Series qualifying session did not take place. Though the rains ended in time for the ARCA Menards Lucas Oil 200 to start on time.
Once the Xfinity drivers headed to the track on Saturday afternoon, they continued to experience issues due to the rain. The track itself was dry, but multiple drivers ended up in the infield grass after spinning out or being involved in a wreck. Each time they hit the grass, massive amounts of water flew up into the air. Other drivers got stuck and continued to spin out while trying to gain traction.
The rains played a major role in the 2020 Daytona 500. Fans flocked to the track for the season-opening race and watched then-President Donald Trump give the command to start the engines while serving as the grand marshal. The race started but only lasted a mere 20 laps before heavy rains brought it to a halt. NASCAR later moved the Daytona 500 to Monday. Now the fans hope that something similar does not take place in 2021.
The season-opening race takes place Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway. Fox will broadcast the action, which starts at 2:30 p.m. ET. Though the green flag does not wave until 3:05 p.m. ET. Jeff Gordon, Mike Joy, and Clint Bowyer will call the race from the booth while MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio provide audio coverage.