NASCAR has moved the start time of the 2012 Daytona 500 again, this time postponing the Great American Race until 7 p.m. Monday due to continued rain in the Daytona Beach area.
After two weeks of mostly clear weather, NASCAR was plagued by a storm system Sunday that washed out the 500 for the first time in its 54-year history.
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Officials initially rescheduled the race for noon today, but more rain made that an impossibility – and there was more on the radar for this afternoon. But meteorologists are calling for a possible window in the ugly weather, and NASCAR felt confident enough in the forecasts to move the start time again.
The command to start engines will be given at 7:02 p.m., followed by warmup laps and the race. WWE wrestler John Cena was scheduled to do the honors (and wave the green flag), but he has to leave town to appear on WWE Raw. The new grand marshal and honorary starter are unclear.
FOX will preempt its primetime programming, which includes House and Alcatraz. It should be a fascinating experiment for NASCAR to run on a weeknight in primetime (against such shows as The Voice and The Bachelor); that hasn't happened in recent memory.
Will the power of social media give NASCAR some new viewers? If so – and if the ratings are high – it might prompt a new wave of NASCAR races on weeknights.
And what if the race cannot be run as scheduled? NASCAR president Mike Helton told reporters at Daytona International Speedway that Tuesday was "a possibility" for the Daytona 500.
Previously, it had been speculated that a Tuesday race might not allow NASCAR's traveling circus to get to Phoenix in time for Friday's practice sessions. Easter Weekend has been rumored as a backup plan in case Tuesday won't work, but forecasters say the weather should be fine that day.