How Long Will 2021 Daytona 500 Be Delayed? NASCAR Writer Weighs In

Buckle up

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UPDATE (8:16 p.m.): The show must go on.

NASCAR announced it was targeting a 9 p.m. ET restart for the 2021 Daytona 500.

The race delayed for five hours Sunday due to weather.

The following was published in the original story.

“The Great American Race” hasn’t been so great Sunday night.

Not yet, anyway.

The Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway currently is suspended due to weather. Drivers completed just a handful of laps (including a crash after just 13 laps) before rain and lightning forced drivers and fans to clear the track.

It may prompt fans to question just how long officials will hold off before, if it gets to such a point, postponing the NASCAR 2021 Cup Series season opener.

Well, allow NASCAR reporter Bob Pockrass to explain, as he wrote for FOX Sports.

NASCAR’s policy is that it won’t start a race without a plan to get to the advertised distance. In the case of weather, though, officials can try to shoot for getting to the halfway point (or the end of the second stage, if that is earlier) once a race starts to make the results official.

But the Daytona 500 is an event NASCAR likely wants to have run the full 200 laps, and with three hours of racing time likely still needed after drivers completed just 15 laps on Sunday, NASCAR likely will want to resume by around 10 p.m. ET on Sunday night; it typically doesn’t want to race much later than 1 a.m., although previous races at Daytona have stretched that deep into the night before.

Pockrass did not have an estimated resumption time.

Obviously, making sure the track is completely dry is the most important for safety measures. That, as Pockrass explained, will depend on weather factors such as wind, cloud cover and humidity.

Pockrass further estimated it will take anywhere from 90 minutes to three hours to completely dry due to the 2 1/2-mile track at Daytona.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

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