Daytona 500: 2012 Race Postponed By Rain; Start Time Set For Noon Monday

For the first time in its 54-year history, the Daytona 500 has been postponed due to rain.

NASCAR will try again to run the Great American Race at noon EST on Monday morning, though the weather forecast for that time remains iffy.

Blame Mother Nature and the NFL for this one. When the NFL was approaching a lockout, it was believed the owners would force an 18-game schedule on the players and thus move the Super Bowl to mid-February.

NASCAR obviously didn't want to risk going up against the Super Bowl – it needs all the publicity for the Daytona 500 it can get – so officials moved the Daytona 500 date one week later than its historic weekend.

As it turned out, the NFL kept a 16-game schedule and the NASCAR season could have started earlier. Last Sunday was sunny and warm for Daytona 500 qualifying – which would have been the normal date for the 500 itself.

SBNation.com contributor Brian Neudorff, a meteorologist, said the best chance for NASCAR to race is Monday evening. Monday afternoon, he said, will still see weather conditions much like today's.

After that, Neudorff believes Tuesday would be a better option – but it's unclear whether NASCAR could hold the race Tuesday and still allow teams enough time to make it to Phoenix, which is the site of the next race.

There was never much hope of getting the race started on Sunday. Rain began falling around 10:30 a.m., and though there were several small windows of dryness, the jet dryers were never able to stay ahead of the weather.

DAYTONA 500 RAIN HISTORY

1963 – First 10 laps run under yellow due to rain.

1965 – Rain-shortened – 133 laps (332.5 miles)

1966 – Rain-shortened – 198 laps (495 miles)

1979 – First 16 laps run under yellow due to rain.

1992 – Laps 84-89 run under yellow due to rain on backstretch.

1995 – Red flag on lap 71 due to rain. Red flag lasted 1 hour, 44 minutes.

2003 – Two red flags for rain. Rain-shortened to 109 laps (272.5 miles)

2009 – Rain-shortened – 152 laps (380 miles)

2012 – Rain postponed.

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