Daytona 500 2012: Why NASCAR Had To Postpone Race To Monday

Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III took a seat in the track's media center and braced himself for questions about the unprecedented postponement of the Daytona 500.

"A long day," he said. "We attempted our best to try to get the track dry. Seemed like every time we got close, another pocket of rain showed up."

That about summed up what happened to NASCAR's biggest race on Sunday. Though the weather forecasts were dire leading into the day, there was still hope the meteorologists would somehow miss the mark.

But they didn't. There were a few periods of dryness, though none lasted long enough to get close to starting the race. And NASCAR had no choice but to ultimately postpone the event.

"We waited as long as we could in terms of the process, how long it might take to dry the track, and what was reasonable in terms of our fans staying and enjoying the event," Chitwood said.

Here are a few more of Chitwood's answers to some questions you may have:

• How late tonight would NASCAR and the track try to run the race?

"If you started the race at 10 p.m., that would put you at about a 1:45 a.m. finish," Chitwood said. "Then you have to think about the couple hours it would take to send all our customers home. I'm not really sure that's the environment we want to do that.

"I can't tell you the exact latest start time that we would do it. I have a feeling 10 p.m. is probably a little bit too late based on the logistical needs of our customers."

• If rain is in the forecast, why didn't NASCAR schedule the race to be a primetime event like Monday Night Football?

"I think we have to be careful if we were to try and set a later start time (today)," Chitwood said. "(If) we had great weather in the afternoon, then inclement weather by the time we started, I think that would be a disservice to our fans."

• What happens if the race is rained out today?

"It's tough to even talk Tuesday until we get into tomorrow," Chitwood said. "I think the plan with a noon start, I think there is inclement weather in the a.m., but by noon, it looks like the weather is better. We'll play it out best we can. ... I don't even want to talk about Tuesday right now."

• Does Chitwood regret moving the Daytona 500 date one week later?

"I'm sure I'm going to have some customers tell me about the date change and the challenges that we have with it," he said. "But I think weather is unpredictable. So we'll deal with it. I don't anticipate this would force us to change the date in the future.

"I think based on the NASCAR schedule, the TV schedule on whole, this was the right move for the industry. We'll continue to work with the last weekend of February."

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