NASCAR returned to Darlington Raceway on Wednesday night for the Toyota 500, the second of two Cup Series races in four days. This race did not start on time, however, due to inclement weather. The rain continued to fall throughout the day and forced NASCAR to move the start time.
The Toyota 500 had a start time of 6 p.m. ET, but this quickly changed due to the falling rain in Darlington, South Carolina. The cars headed back into the garages while the track-drying teams went to work. NASCAR uses a system called the Air Titan 2.0, which mounts to the bed of a pickup truck. This set-up uses compressed air to push water off of the track, but it is a slow process.
Even with the rain easing at the start time, the Air Titans still needed an estimated 90 minutes to get the track race-ready. The drivers could only wait in their RVs while the track team worked. Viewers at home watched a documentary about the Coca-Cola 600 and the history of NASCAR at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"This Sucks for @nascar fans. 2 nights in a row with rain delays. Guys and fans have been waiting for this for weeks. Bummer. Go #1 team," one racing fan wrote after learning of the delay. Several others agreed with the sentiment. They expressed frustration about the lack of racing and the excess of rain.
When race officials postponed Xfinity's Toyota 200 until Thursday, they moved the start time of the Cup Series race. The Toyota 500 drew a new start time of 6 p.m. ET instead of the original 7:30 p.m., primarily due to the expected inclement weather. This created excitement among NASCAR fans, but they quickly began expressing frustration with the rain and any potential delays.
While the rain forced a delay at Darlington, those at the track expressed optimism about the evening ahead. The skies cleared shortly after 6 p.m. ET and prompted the track-drying process once again. If the weather continued to hold, the race would take place as planned and provide entertainment on Wednesday night. It would just happen closer to the original start time.
The Toyota 500 at the Lady in Black is a 228-lap race that includes stage breaks at laps 60 and 125. A competition caution will also take place on lap 25 due to inclement weather. However, the race will continue as long as the weather cooperates.