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February 26th, 2012
The Daytona 500 has been postponed for the first time in its 54-year history, with the race now set to take place on Monday after being rained off on Sunday.
Twice during a five-hour period officials worked on getting the track to race-ready condition when the rain stopped, but once it returned with dusk looming, they decided to postpone the event for Monday, the green flag scheduled to wave just after noon local time.
“I just tweeted that I guess I’m going to have to win the first Monday Daytona 500,” said front-row starter Greg Biffle. “As you can tell, I’m still in my uniform because I was optimistic that this weather was going to get out of here and we were going to get this thing going, but I’ll just have to save my energy for tomorrow.”
Biffle expects speeds to pick up on the green surface once the racing gets underway, and anticipates that NASCAR will wave a competition caution to check tyre wear within the first 30 laps of the scheduled 200.
“Because of the grip and the downforce the racecars have, I think that you won’t see a big difference with the track rubbering up,” Biffle said. “The speeds will be a little bit faster because the track will be green, but I think for that first run the track is going to get some rubber on it.
“NASCAR will probably do a competition caution just to make sure that everything is going OK – probably lap 30 or 25 – so I think it’ll be OK. It’ll just be fast at 12 when we start, but then it’ll be the same game after the first pitstop.”
The NASCAR Sprint Cup series competes at Phoenix next week, which means teams could be faced with a major logistical challenge if the weather does not improve on Monday. They will remain on the west of the country after that to compete at Las Vegas in two weeks.
“I’m not sure about tomorrow,” said Todd Gordon, AJ Allmendinger’s crew chief. “It might be Tuesday morning, but we’re stacking up on two consecutive weeks. Phoenix is coming up and that’s a long trip so we’ve got to get a lot of stuff worked out for that and then our Vegas stuff will leave before we come back from Phoenix.
“We’re just trying to make sure that we can get our stuff prepared for the next two weeks that come after this.”
He added: “I think logistically it’s a challenge… We can kind of shuffle things around to make sure that we take care of the drivers, getting them where they need to get to. If we fall all the way back to Tuesday morning, it’ll definitely be a challenge.”
Weather forecasts continue to be ominous and Monday shows rain could persist around the Daytona area.