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Weather pushes Daytona 500 to Monday

The team of Josh Berry work on his car during the Saturday practice rain delay for 66th Annual Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway on Thursday February 17, 2024 Daytona, FL. Photo by Mike Gentry/UPI
The team of Josh Berry work on his car during the Saturday practice rain delay for 66th Annual Daytona 500 at the Daytona International Speedway on Thursday February 17, 2024 Daytona, FL. Photo by Mike Gentry/UPI

Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Rain has forced NASCAR to move its season-opening Daytona 500 stock car race back a day, the first time in a dozen years the race has been postponed for a full day.

The race, which had been scheduled to rumble to a start under the green flag Sunday, was moved to Monday at 4 pm. ET.

"Unfortunate cards we have been dealt as a sport, but probably the right call. Feel bad for the fans that saved up for this trip and now can't stay," driver Carson Hocevar said on social media.

The race was still scheduled to begin Sunday afternoon despite doubts and the impending weather. Weather canceled the final practice for the event Saturday, as was the Xfinity Series race, which is now scheduled for 11 a.m. on Monday.

The Daytona 500 was suspended by rain in 2020 and completed the next day, but this is the first time in a dozen years that the entire race has been postponed by a full day.

The car of Alex Bowman is worked on after rain forced cancellation of practice for the 66th Daytona 500, on Saturday, February 17, 2024 in Daytona, Florida. Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI
The car of Alex Bowman is worked on after rain forced cancellation of practice for the 66th Daytona 500, on Saturday, February 17, 2024 in Daytona, Florida. Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI

Joey Logano is set to start from the pole for Team Penske when the race begins.

Driver Zane Smith took to social media and reached out to his fans, offering to mingle with those who were able to stay.

"Hate the rain won today but going to try to make the most of it and meet some of you guys," Smith tweeted. "Let me know your camp spot and I will try to come find you! Might be able to drag a few other drivers along too."

Despite postponing the Daytona 500, many of the pre-race activities went on as scheduled, including visits from Pitbull, who co-owns Trackhouse Racing, and actor Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, the race's grand marshal who gives the command for drivers to start their engines.

Pitbull's pre-race concert was canceled, but he agreed to come back and perform next year.

"Everything happens for a reason," said Madison Marsh, the reigning Miss America who was scheduled to drive the pace car and lead the field to the green flag.

"Although I would have loved, obviously, to get to drive the pace car, there have been so many other parts of this weekend that have been fantastic.

"Just getting to be a part of that, I'm never going to regret coming here. ... Obviously would have liked to drive, but everything is going to work out the way it's supposed to," she added.