FOLLOWING A CAPTIVATING championship and the addition of Danica Patrick, the last thing NASCAR wanted was a glitch.
And certainly not a full-on delay that pushed NASCAR into a lunchtime slot Monday for its biggest event of the year.
But the stock-car series will have to deal with a lower-profile stage for its banner day to open a much-anticipated season.
The Daytona 500 was postponed Sunday for the first time in its 54-year history after heavy rain saturated Daytona International Speedway.
“I know a lot of race fans are disappointed and a lot of people at home on TV, but we just hope they tune in,” driver Greg Biffle said.
NASCAR officials spent more than four hours waiting for a window to dry the famed track, but it never came. When the latest storm cell passed over the speedway around 5 p.m., they had little choice but to call it a day. The 500-mile race was rescheduled for noon Monday and will be aired on Fox.
It surely was a huge disappointment.
With several intriguing story lines on tap, NASCAR was hoping to capitalize on the success of last season’s down-to-the-wire championship race between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.
The most significant of them all could be Patrick. The Daytona 500 is the first of 10 scheduled Sprint Cup Series events for Patrick, who left IndyCar behind for a full-time move to NASCAR. She will race for the Nationwide Series championship driving for JR Motorsports.