Sunday, February 26, 2012

NASCAR update on rain delay

   NASCAR President Mike Helton provided Fox Sports an update on Sunday's rain-delayed 500:

   Q: The cars cannot race in the rain. We have been rain-shortened, we have been rain-delayed but we've never rained out. With all of the information available to you, what are we looking at? What is the contingency right now?
   It's one of those days here in Daytona where it pops up and falls off and pops up and falls off. But as the day progresses, we think the chances of the pop-ups diminish quite a bit. Hopefully this will be the last big cell we see and things will start falling apart and we can get the track dry and go on and get finish and run the Daytona 500 today.

   Q: I understand your crew has an unprecedented amount of equipment, jet dryers and other machinery to get the track as raceable as quickly as possible once the rain stops.
   HELTON: That is it needsto stop before we can begin the process of drying. So we areequipped. The International Speedway, the Daytona International Speedway, has every drying piece of machinery they got across the country here today, because we know that the fans at home and the fans here in Daytona want to see the race run, and we do, too. The sooner, the better.

It's raining at Daytona

  It's approximately 90 minutes before the green flag is scheduled to drop on the Daytona 500 and right now the only thing dropping is rain.

   That's no surprise. It's been predicted for a while and, say what you will about weather forecasters, but they got it right this time.

  The question is when will it stop raining. It will eventually stop. It always has.

  NASCAR will do its best to get its biggest race in today, studying radar images in NASA-like detail, looking for a window to get in at least 100 laps (250 miles). With lights at Daytona, no one's going anywhere for a while.

   At the moment, ponchos are obscuring the multi-colored t-shirts so popular among race fans and there are tarps over the set that rocker Lenny Kravitz is scheduled to use for his pre-race concerts. Kravitz did stop into the infield media center earlier for a quick question-and-answer session and said he's pulling for Danica Patrick today.

   Wearing a heavy jacket, a brown scarf around his neck and Tom Cruise/Top Gun-style shades, Kravitz looked like he was ready for a winter walk in Paris rather than the infield at a stock car race.

   Presidential candidate Mitt Romney stopped by to campaign today and, at the drivers meeting, said the Daytona 500 combines "two of the things I like best -- cars and sports."

   While Romney showed up in person, Rick Santorum's name showed up on the side of Tony Raines' race car. The Florida primary has come and gone but the campaign continues.

   So, for the moment, does the rain.

-- Ron Green Jr.