Why NASCAR Called The Daytona Race So Early
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- When the sky opened and drenched Daytona International Speedway with 48 laps remaining in Sunday's race, the decision was finally made to pull the plug on an event that had already been postponed a day.
But it was done early in the afternoon, and many fans took to social media to voice their displeasure.
A handful of drivers weren't all that pleased, either, that NASCAR didn't wait it out to see if there was an opportunity to resume the race later in the day or even the evening.
"We battled the weather throughout the day," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said. "That last bit, when the entire race track got washed out, we looked at forecasts and there was potential of at least a few more hours of rain. It was past halfway so we just called the race."
The National Weather Service called for rain into the evening, and even when it stopped shortly after NASCAR called the race, the rain didn't stop long enough that NASCAR would have been able to dry the track.
It was just too much of a battle on a weekend that had been plagued by rain. A popup shower caused a multi-car accident during Nationwide qualifying on Friday, then rain delayed the start of the Nationwide race and forced the Cup race from Saturday night until Sunday.
Even when the race finally started Sunday, it was delayed twice before it was called after 112 of 160 laps.
"We've seen this weather pattern and felt it was the best interest of fans getting done and getting home," Pemberton said. "When you looked at what was in front of us weather-wise, we felt it was best for all concerned that the race was completed."
Pemberton also noted that fans and crews had been at the track as long as 18 hours on Saturday, and NASCAR did not want to put that burden on them again. With water trapped behind a SAFER barrier in Turn 3 and spilling down the track, drying could have taken longer than usual.
And, if it had rained until 8 p.m., NASCAR would not have had the sun to help cut down drying time.