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Start Pushed Back Again: Teams Ponder Monday 500

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, February 26 2012

The 54th running of the Daytona 500 will be held on a Monday, not a Sunday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Tom Copeland)

The start of the 54th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway has been postponed again due to rain showers.

Originally scheduled to begin on Sunday at noon, it was postponed until Monday, with a noon start again scheduled. But with rain still falling, the start was moved back to 7 p.m. Monday.

The race will air on FOX Sports.

Drivers on Sunday just shrugged at the delay.

“I don’t know,” Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle said. “I just tweeted that I guess I’m going have to win the first Monday Daytona 500.

“I got all of the hard work done today. I did all the hospitality and that stuff, so I’m ready to go. I just can’t wait. I guess I’ll have to wait until 12 o’clock tomorrow and take that green flag. I’m just excited. I’m still on the front row. Hopefully, the weather is better tomorrow. I know a lot of race fans are disappointed and a lot of people at home on TV, but we just hope they tune in tomorrow. It’ll be a great race.”

Biffle will start the race – whenever that happens – from the front row. He qualified second fastest last

The rains to came to Daytona on Sunday. They may be back on Monday. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Christa L Thomas)

Sunday. He almost won his Gatorade Duel race, finishing second behind winner and teammate Matt Kenseth.

“That does make it even more frustrating,” he said of having to wait another day to start the 500, “knowing that we have a good car, starting on the front row of the Daytona 500 and I feel like we can win this race. There’s just so much anxiety. I’ve watched all the programming leading up to this with all the interviews and then to just put it on hold makes it tough for a driver because there’s all kinds of adrenaline, and then you have to try to sleep tonight. It’s still a big race, so you try to stay hydrated for tomorrow.”

Not shrugging quite as much were the people who prepare the cars. They will have one less day to do their thing and that could be compounded by the fact that next weekend’s race is at Phoenix International Raceway.

“I think the biggest thing for us would be getting prepared to go to Phoenix actually,” Dave Rogers, crew chief for Joey Logano. “For us, we’re kind of looking towards next week because it’s west coast. You go out there and you’re going to be in Phoenix and Vegas the next couple weeks. Being prepared for those things –obviously, our cars are prepared, but as far as the team being prepared to go out there in case we are here Monday or even Tuesday. Other than that, it’s no big deal.”

The forecast for Monday is not that great. More rain is being predicted so there is a possibility that the 500 may not be held until Tuesday.

“Yeah and I was just looking at the schedule earlier today and we aren’t on track (in Phoenix) until midday Friday,” said driver Carl Edwards, who will start the 500 from the pole. “If we were to put this out until Tuesday then it would be real tough but I am sure it will be fine. We have guys that can do it. I know our Phoenix stuff is ready to go and I think there might be an issue with some of the engines, especially with our FR9’s. You would have to ask Jack but I know it was tough for Doug Yates and those guys to get the amount of engines ready for these first two races, so I am sure they will be running engines back and forth and turning things over.”

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, February 26 2012
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