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Daytona 500 postponed until Monday because of rain

NASCAR teams are generally ready for any contingency from replacement motors to taping metal on to a car. But on Sunday they were all beaten by the one thing they can’t control, the weather.

After 20 laps, which included two rain delays, the race was stopped and will be completed on Monday at 1:05 p.m. PST on Channel 11.

This is the first time the race has gone to a second day since 2012 because of weather. That race was more memorable for Lap 160 on Monday when Juan Pablo Montoya lost control of his car and hit a jet dryer, which sprayed fuel on the course and caught fire. No one was hurt but it caused a two-hour delay as they tried to repair the track.

In 2009, the race was cut to 160 of 200 laps because of rain. A race has to go at least 100 laps, or 250 miles, for it to be official. Monday’s resumption will be with the same running order as when the race was stopped.

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The race started after a 45-minute delay due to a light rain. Race cars are not equipped with windshield wipers and the tires have no traction or tread and it would be dangerous to race on. In addition, even when the rain stops, it takes a long time to dry the track.

When the race started, pole sitter Ricky Stenhouse Jr. went to the lead and was running out front by himself in a Chevrolet while five Fords — Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski — lined up behind the leaders.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his family suffered minor injuries in a plane crash last year. Getting back in a plane is tough, says the former NASCAR driver.

There were no changes when the caution came out because of rain in Turns 1 and 2, which quickly enveloped the entire track. There was a 2 hour, 10 minute delay before the conclusion of the race was postponed until Monday.

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After two hours there was hope that the race would be resumed and the drivers were called back to their cars. The thinking was several laps could be run under caution before racing resumes getting them closer to the 100-lap mark. But, rain started in Turn 2 and quickly a traditional monsoon-like Florida rainstorm eliminated any chance of resuming the race on Sunday.

The crowd that was estimated to be more than 150,000 and it’s expected that no more than half of that would be back for Monday’s conclusion.

Race fans are known to be strong Republicans and the crowd had a strong reaction when Air Force One did a fly over the track landing at nearby Daytona Beach International Airport.

About 45 minutes before the scheduled start of the race at 3:15 p.m. EST, Trump delivered a 3 minute, 45 second speech, heavy on God, family and country. He spoke looking at notes with Melania Trump at his side. Trump then met privately with several drivers.

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The sun was still shining when he completed the duties of grand marshal with the phrase, “Gentlemen, start your engines.” He was at a secure area just off pit road a little bit away from the cars, not the normal location. Trump then joined a parade of presidential and security limousines and did a lap around the bottom of the track before exiting the racing surface.

Trump did not see any of the race before departing on Air Force One.


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