The Coke Zero 400 Saturday night race will become a Sunday morning race after rain post-poned the traditional Fourth of July weekend event.
This isn’t the first time this year Daytona has been jinxed by bad weather. Oddly enough, as this night race turns into a day one, February’s daytime Daytona 500 turned into a night race after a six hour rain delay.
The race has been rescheduled for 11:00 am on Sunday morning. It was set to go green around 7:00 pm on Saturday and was called about two hours later. The track opted to go ahead and set off the elaborate fireworks display for the fans shortly afterwards – a small reward for fans who stuck out the two hour delay.
Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said the track takes over two hours to dry and DIS staff decided as rain was still falling close to 9:00 pm that an 11:00pm green flag would end too late.
“You think about public safety, getting people home all those things,” Chitwood said. “We wouldn’t be able to dry the track for a reasonable start time tonight.”
Chitwood said NASCAR worked with TNT to find the earliest possible start time that worked for television and would also help them avoid the rain in the forecast for Sunday afternoon.
Afternoon showers are typical of Florida summer days, and many have been critical of the nighttime start since the race moved from its traditional daytime start years ago. Chitwood, however, says he thinks the night time start puts on the best show.
“I’m really pleased with this date, it’s been working for us, we just had a little bit of bad luck tonight,” he said.
Green flag is set for 11:01 am.
This story originally appeared on Tori’s blog on the Florida Sports Talk website.