Daytona 500 Forced to Wait due to Rain

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The Daytona International Speedway turned out to be a gathering place for seagulls instead of race cars on Sunday afternoon, thanks to the puddles formed by rainfall.

This was the first rainout in the history of Daytona 500, pushing the race to Monday, noon Eastern time, at least one day after the scheduled time. Along with the race, the answers expected to questions raised throughout Speedweeks have also been postponed: how safe would pack racing be now? And how crucial is Danica Patrick’s decision to drive full-time in Nascar as the sport moves towards building off of the previous year’s 10-race playoff challenge between Carl Edwards and Tony Stewarts?

Patrick was the star of the IndyCar Series who decided to move to Nascar, running a full schedule in the Nationwide Series. She will make her debut in the Sprint Cup at the Daytona 500, as soon as the rain stops, that is. Even in her first two races last week, she already met up with some bumps and walls.

On Thursday, Patrick managed to walk away from a terrible crash, after Aric Almirola’s race car hit hers in a chain reaction, having begun with Jamie McMurray during the last lap of a qualifying race for the Sprint Cup. Patrick rammed her car into the inside retaining wall, and it was destroyed.

Patrick grabbed top spots for qualifiers of the Nationwide race on Friday, which was her first pole in Nascar. However, on Saturday’s race, she faced up to a serious wreck again, with a bump behind her from teammate Cole Whitt putting her into the outside wall, resulting in her finishing 38th.

After the race, Patrick commented on how frustrating it was, especially when she had a very fast car.

“I thought it was a lot of fun,” she commented, adding “and quite chaotic” as her description of the race up to that point. Hopefully it entertained the fans, she quipped.

That was a total of two wrecks in only two races. Apparently, the race on Monday may have been even riskier with pack racing returning at Daytona, at it could result in multiple wrecks given how 43 cars race closely over long stretches. In response to fans’ complaints of the tandem-style racing which rose up to the norm the previous year, Nascar called for changes to the race cars, getting rid of two-by-two driving, wherein a car would lock on the bumper of another to push it around the track.

The tandems were successfully broken apart by those required changes, but pack racing will still point to greater chances of multicar crashes.

Brad Keselowski, after he finished second in the Nationwide race, said that he felt like they were walking a fine line “between chess players and daredevils.”

He described themselves as being more of a daredevil in tracks like Daytona, while in other places, they were more like chess players. He added a quip that not many people liked to watch chess matches.

With the rain falling for hours, the driver were stuck huddled in their motor homes, getting cabin fever and wishing they could do something.

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