Rain pushes race to Sunday

dscott@charlotteobserver.comJuly 5, 2014 

— A persistent rain Saturday forced the postponement of NASCAR’s Coke Zero 400 until 11 a.m. Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.

The race will be televised on TNT with David Gilliland on the pole.

Rain began falling in Daytona late in the afternoon and didn’t stop by the time the 7:58 p.m. green flag was scheduled to wave. NASCAR called off the race at 9 p.m.

Weather hasn’t been kind to the Daytona track this year. The season-opening Daytona 500 was delayed by six hours by rain, with Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning.

Rain is again in the forecast for Sunday in the Daytona area, with scattered showers early in the day and thunderstorms developing later. The wet weather has been a problem all weekend, with Sprint Cup and Nationwide practices and qualifying cut short.

Saturday, NASCAR used 20 high-powered Air Titan track dryers in an attempt to dry the track, which takes roughly one hour 45 minutes to completely dry.

Although the race wasn’t run Saturday night, what would have been post-race fireworks were still set off above the track.

“It’s tough for our fans, they make the commitment in traveling here and having to spend money on hotels,” said speedway president Joie Chitwood III. “But they’re out there enjoying the fireworks.”

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