Daytona 500: A Monday (Night) Affair?


NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race cars sit on pit road during a rain delay for the 54th Annual Daytona 500. The race has been postponed to Monday at Noon EST. (Matt Weaver /NASCAR Ranting and Raving)

The 2012 Daytona 500 has been delayed by Mother Nature; marking the first time in its 54 year history that it will run on a day other than it was scheduled. NASCAR has made the call to run the race Monday, at 12:00 EST.

The decision to run the race at high noon has many people on twitter questioning NASCAR.

"This 500 won't be tarnished because of the rain, it's going to be tarnished because NASCAR didn't run it at a time people could see it" says @MarkRH.

"This is bad for NASCAR all around, like the Super Bowl on a Monday in middle of day.." echoes @Roushfenway1fan.

The debate about whether a rained out race should be run at noon or in the evening on the Monday following the event has been thoroughly discussed the past few seasons, but it would seem NASCAR is firm in their decision: They will attempt to run the race at the first available opportunity. It almost seems like if a race is not run on the scheduled date, NASCAR simply crosses the race off as a failure and tries to get out of town as soon as possible. While that decision is somewhat acceptable for the other 35 races each season, I firmly believe it is unacceptable for the Daytona 500.

The Daytona 500 isn't just any other race. The drivers spend 3 hours qualifying, a week before the event, just to set the front row. They run 300 miles worth of races on Thursday to set the rest of the field. There is no other race that does that; and for good reason. The Daytona 500 is NASCAR's Super Bowl and should be treated as such.

NASCAR shouldn't worry about "first available time" for this race. They should make every attempt to run this race when fans can see it, whether that be Monday evening, Tuesday Evening or a to-be-determined off weekend in the future.

Luckily, it looks like rain is in the forecast during the day tomorrow which could set up for a NASCAR first: A Primetime running of the Great American Race. I believe if that happens, NASCAR will be in for a pleasant surprise. While they would be going up against some solid TV shows, many people who would otherwise be doing something else on a Sunday afternoon, will likely tune in to see NASCAR under the lights.

Hopefully, if that scenario happens, NASCAR and the TV executives will see the benefit & run more Monday night races in the future.

What is your opinion? Should NASCAR jeopardize a mid-day "window" to run the race in order to ensure a primetime event?

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