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Rain postponed Daytona 500

Staff writers
February 27, 2012 — For the first time in history, the Daytona 500 was postponed on Sunday due to heavy rain.

Slick track due to heavy rain Sunday
Slick track due to heavy rain Sunday

Officials spent hours on Sunday waiting for a window of dry weather, but heavy rain that saturated the Daytona International Speedway left them no other choice but to postpone the race.

It was the first time in its 54-year history that the Daytona 500 had been forced to postpone. Back in 2009, the event faced a rain delay, but stormy weather has never affected the actual date before.

The race had been rescheduled for 12 pm on Monday, but was pushed back even further because of the persistent rain.

BJ Stewart is the morning show producer at The Weather Network. She said efforts were underway all day to get the track ready.

"We got official notice that engines are supposed to start at 7:02 Monday night. So obviously they're working all day to get the track dried off and get everybody in and hopefully get the race going," she told The Weather Network Monday morning.

Morning show producer BJ Stewart braves the rain in Daytona
Morning show producer BJ Stewart braves the rain in Daytona

Stewart is just one of the thousands of fans who travelled to Daytona for the race and says crews have been working around the clock using special machines to try and keep the track dry.

"You need ear plugs not just for the drivers on the track, but you need them for when the jet driers go by," says Stewart. "They have 10 of them and the water flying off the track is just incredible to watch."

More rain fell throughout the day on Monday, but officials said they were prepared to wait all day and night to avoid a Tuesday race.

"The longer runway we have to get in the Daytona 500, the greater the likelihood for us to start and finish the event on Monday," NASCAR spokesman Kerry Tharp said.

Daytona International Speedway is equipped with lights and can run races until 2 am if they have to.

The event did go ahead as scheduled at 7:00 pm EST Monday night.

With files from The Associated Press

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