How Rain Could Affect Daytona 500 weather

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Daytona 500 weather

With rain threatening Saturday and Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, many fans wonder what NASCAR will do for the 2024 Daytona 500.

Fox Weather predicts a 99 percent chance of rain on Saturday in the Daytona area, followed by a 74 percent chance on Sunday.
There are common questions about how this might affect the weekend schedule. Here are some answers:

Will NASCAR be raced in the rain or wet?

No, not at Daytona. There is no tread on tires for the 2.5-mile track (treaded tires will wear too quickly and generate too much heat). NASCAR will put the race under caution if it rains, regardless of the amount. It will remain in place for 30 minutes after lightning strikes within an 8-mile radius.

How long does the track take to dry?

Depending on the amount of rain, it can take anywhere from 90 to 150 minutes to dry. NASCAR has 15 “Air Titans” trucks that blast high-pressure air over the racing surface to clear standing water. It has 14 jet dryers and blowers to complete the drying process.

When is the race official?

The race is official if it is stopped for rain and cannot be restarted at the halfway point or at the end of stage 2, whichever is earlier. For Saturday afternoon’s ARCA race, that’s lap 40 (of 80 scheduled laps); for Saturday night’s Xfinity race, it’s lap 60 (of 120); and for the Daytona 500, it’s lap 100 (of 200).
NASCAR removed the collision a day ago. Can NASCAR do something drastic like that?
Highly, highly unlikely. The collision was a unique situation with a temporary track and a potential situation where EMS personnel were needed for an emergency that had been declared (may have been declared at the time) for the area. NASCAR’s m.o. Postponed to a later date, not moved earlier.

Will NASCAR start the race early?

NASCAR’s unwritten policy that it followed from 2017-2023 is that it is willing to move the race up to an hour in advance with 24-hour notice so ticket holders can be notified of the change.

How late will the NASCAR race be?

NASCAR generally likes to race at least 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT unless the forecast and other factors create an urgency to race that night.

How long will NASCAR delay a race before deciding to postpone?

The forecast and the duration of the teams and officials determine the conditions. NASCAR made the decision earlier in the day if it appeared that no racing would be entered. It is NASCAR’s unwritten policy not to start a race that it does not believe can finish in a reasonable time. Once it starts a race, reaching the halfway point is considered.

When will the race be rescheduled?

It also depends on the forecast as well as the programming window of the broadcast partner.

What makes Daytona 500 weekend unique?

When a race is postponed on Saturday, NASCAR often tries to reschedule it before or after the Cup race on Sunday. But because of all the competition and spectacle of the Daytona 500, it’s doubtful that any race other than the Daytona 500 will be run on Sunday. Twenty years ago, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 and the rescheduled Xfinity race the following day.

If the Daytona 500 is rained out, will it be moved to Monday night so more people can watch?
Again, it depends on the forecast and broadcast partner. Monday is a holiday (President’s Day), so whether that affects the timing remains to be determined.

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