Daytona 500 begins after rain delay in NASCAR doubleheader with Xfinity Series

Monday's weather was much better across Central Florida, with lingering morning rain showers gradually giving way to afternoon sunshine and high temperatures rising into the lower 60s. With both races at Daytona International Speedway postponed, the Daytona 500 and Xfinity Series season opener will mark the first-ever doubleheader on a Monday.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The 66th annual Daytona 500 started a day late on Monday afternoon as a slow-moving frontal boundary rained out the "Super Bowl of NASCAR."

The first round of precipitation reached Central Florida on Saturday, with steady rain continuing throughout the day Sunday and Monday morning. Daytona Beach picked up 1.35 inches of rain on Sunday after 0.66 inches had already fallen Saturday, leaving the track at Daytona International Speedway downright soaked.

NASCAR officials made the decision Sunday morning to postpone the Daytona 500 until 4 p.m. EST Monday because of the rainy weather across Central Florida over the weekend. The race was originally scheduled for 2:30 p.m. EST Sunday.

After a 24-hour delay, the track dried in time and the sun was out as drivers started their engines for NASCAR's biggest race of the year.

On Saturday, NASCAR officials announced that the Xfinity Series season opener that was originally scheduled for Saturday at Daytona had also been postponed until Monday. The race was scheduled to start Monday at 11 a.m. EST, but with lingering rain showers, organizers postponed the race again until after the conclusion of the Daytona 500.

With the latest delay, the Xfinity Series is now scheduled for approximately 9 p.m. EST.

The two races at Daytona International Speedway will mark the first-ever doubleheader on a Monday, according to NASCAR.

FOX Weather Correspondent Brandy Campbell spent the weekend in Daytona, where NASCAR fans were camped out for the races. But the rain forced race fans to wait another day to see the NASCAR events.

FOX NASCAR Insider reporter Bob Pockrass said this is only the third Daytona 500 to be postponed, but rain does postpone other NASCAR races about two or three times a year.

"I think the teams are happy that NASCAR made the decision early," Pockrass said.

NASCAR driver Anthony Alfredo (62) is one of the few drivers who will race in both the Daytona 500 and Xfinity on Monday.

"It’s unfortunate circumstances, but NASCAR has the most amazing fans in sports, and everybody is sticking it out with us," Alfredo told FOX Weather. "There’s about four of us, maybe five, running both races tomorrow. First time ever at Daytona. So I got 800 miles on deck."

Alfredo said it will be an exciting day on Monday if the weather stays dry and they can finish all 800 miles.

A look at the forecast rainfall in Florida through Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.
(FOX Weather)


Races in both 2020 and 2021 were impacted by rain, with the 2020 contest being postponed until the next day due to persistent rainfall.

The usual 200 laps take three to four hours to complete, and any delays can add substantial time to the race.


A look at the exclusive FOX Weather future radar and clouds in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.
(FOX Weather)


What a weather delay means

According to NASCAR, track drying can take anywhere from 90 to 180 minutes using giant jet dryers. On Monday, trucks with the dyers could be seen out on the track getting to work to ready the track for the race. 

"We use our buffalo turbine air blowers, and we use our jet dryers to combine and apply heat to the surface, just like you would think of a hair dryer," Thomas Davenport, a manager of track services for NASCAR, previously stated. "You know when you’re drying your hair out, right, you use the towel and ring your hair out to get the excess moisture off and then the hair dryer is just getting what’s left behind. It’s the same way with the jet dryers. Jet dryers come behind and take out the rest of that moisture that’s in the top layer of the asphalt."

Here's the forecast for the Daytona Beach, Florida, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.
(FOX Weather)


Cooler weather accompanied the precipitation in Florida over the weekend, with temperatures nearly 15 degrees below average.

A typical mid-February day would see high temperatures in the mid-70s, but the rain and a stiff wind out of the north between 20 and 25 mph held the high temperature at just 58 degrees Sunday afternoon.

Umbrellas are prohibited from the grandstands, meaning coats and rain ponchos would have been the only resources to keep people dry and out of the elements.

Monday's weather was much better across Central Florida, with lingering morning rain showers gradually giving way to afternoon sunshine and high temperatures rising into the lower 60s.

Even with the Daytona 500 officially postponed, fans can use their tickets at any sanctioned NASCAR event.


Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, Bubba Wallace, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., and Joey Logano are all expected to participate in the race. Still, the event is one of the most unpredictable in stock car racing.

You can watch the 66th annual Daytona 500 on FOX and