published Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Rain postpones Coke Zero 400 at Daytona

Driver David Gilliland, center, walks back to the garages at the NASCAR Sprint cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, July 5, 2014.
Driver David Gilliland, center, walks back to the garages at the NASCAR Sprint cup Series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday, July 5, 2014.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — The day race at Daytona International Speedway ended up at night.

And now the night race will go off during the day.

Steady rain forced NASCAR to postpone the Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday night. It's the second race at Daytona this year delayed by rain. The season-opening Daytona 500 was stopped for more than six hours because of rain and ended under the lights.

"We seem to have a little bad luck with the weather," said Joie Chitwood III, the track president. "We had it in February and we have it right now."

The Coke Zero 400 will start at 11 a.m. Sunday, about 14 hours after officials postponed the event. The forecast calls for more rain Sunday, but Chitwood said scheduling an early start gives NASCAR a "bigger window of time to get it in."

The race was supposed to start at 7:57 p.m. Saturday, but showers soaked the 2 ½-mile superspeedway and forced officials to delay the green flag and eventually postpone the race.

This is the fourth Cup race affected by rain this season and the second to be postponed a day. Bristol also was affected by rain, and Texas was delayed a day.

Despite the latest washout, Chitwood does not want the race moved from its traditional Saturday night spot around the July Fourth holiday. The race has been run in that spot for 27 years, and prior to that, it went on the annual holiday itself.

Chitwood was reminded of what a rain-free event looked like as he watched a replay of last year's Coke Zero 400 during Saturday's delay.

"The crowd was fantastic and the weather was good and we gave the fans a heck of a show," he said. "I think July Fourth weekend is a great time."

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