Stage set for Daytona 500 restart

Image by Levitt/LAT

Stage set for Daytona 500 restart

NASCAR

Stage set for Daytona 500 restart

By

For the first time since 2012 and just the second time in its history, the Daytona 500 could very well crown a new champion in prime time.

The 62nd edition of the race will restart after 4 p.m. ET today. Rain forced the postponement of the event after just 20 laps, and the green flag is scheduled to fly again at 4:12 p.m. ET. Engines will be re-fired at 4:02 p.m. ET.

Fox will continue to carry the TV broadcast of the race while MRN Radio and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will have the radio broadcast.

It was 2012 when NASCAR ran the Daytona 500 for the first time on a Monday. Rain forced the race to the next day, and it was initially to begin at noon before more bad weather forced it into primetime.

The field had to sit through another lengthy delay with 40 laps to go after Juan Pablo Montoya hit a jet dryer under caution, which then caught on fire and damaged the racing surface. The race ended with Matt Kenseth in victory lane near 1 a.m. ET.

The good news, as far as the weather is concerned, there is less than a five percent chance of rain for this evening.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the leader of the race at the red flag. Stenhouse, who started from the pole, has led every lap so far.

The No. 47 JTG Daugherty Chevrolet has been quick all Speedweeks. Following the first Duel race last Thursday, Stenhouse caught the attention of his fellow competitors not only because of his car’s speed, but also for his willingness to make aggressive moves.

Stenhouse is a former Daytona winner, but it came in the July 2017 race.

The 2015 Daytona 500 winner, Joey Logano, sits second under the red flag. Aric Almirola, Ryan Newman, and Kevin Harvick complete the top five.

NASCAR is not expected to throw a competition caution when the race restarts. When the red flag is removed and the caution is displayed, however, pit road will be open for the field to make their first round of pit stops should they choose.

The first stage break of the race will be lap 65.

Seven drivers took the green flag from the rear of the field for various issues, with some making headway before the red flag was displayed.

Ty Dillon is the highest-running of those drivers in ninth. Dillon had to drop to the rear because his team made a gear change prior to the start. Ryan Blaney sits 23rd after he started in the rear with a backup car. BJ McLeod is 26th after dropping to the rear because of a transmission change. Corey LaJoie is 27th in his backup car.

Kenseth was a Monday Daytona winner in 2012. Image by Williams/LAT

Christopher Bell sits among his Toyota teammates in 34th after being sent to the rear for unapproved pre-race adjustments. Behind Bell is Denny Hamlin in 35th, whose car failed pre-race inspection multiple times.

All five Toyota teams made the decision to settle in at the back early in the race.

Although he started 29th, Clint Bowyer runs 36th. The early report from the Stewart-Haas Racing driver is that his Ford Mustang is “out of control.”

Brennan Poole, whose team had to change the engine and had multiple inspection failures, is last in the field.

All 40 drivers who started the race are still on track and on the lead lap.

More RACER