Soggy Daytona 500 put off till Monday for first time

Posted: February 27, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - NASCAR has raced on the beach at Daytona, under the lights, and even around a pesky pothole.

But never on a Monday - until now.

The Daytona 500 was postponed Sunday for the first time in its 54-year history after heavy rain saturated Daytona International Speedway.

NASCAR officials spent more than four hours waiting for a window to dry the track, but it never came. When the last 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.

"This is one of the toughest things for us drivers," pole-sitter Carl Edwards said. "It's now who can really stay focused. That's not just the drivers, that's the pit crews, the crew chiefs, everyone, the officials. But I think we'll be just fine."

But Monday might be another test for both drivers and fans.

The forecast calls for more rain, and officials are prepared to wait all day and into the night to avoid a Tuesday race, which would strain teams that must get to Phoenix for next week's race.

The 2010 race had more than two hours in delays as NASCAR twice stopped the event to fix a pothole on the track's surface. Jamie McMurray held off Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win that race.

Three-time and defending NASCAR champion Tony Stewart is trying to snap an 0-for-13 losing streak in the 500. Earnhardt, the 2004 Daytona 500 champion, takes a 129-race losing streak into the event.

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