NASCAR prepares to open season with Daytona 500 as weather conditions cause additional hurdle for drivers
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Heavy rain poured down at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. on Saturday, just one day before 40 drivers are set to compete in “The Great American Race.”
Officials were forced to cancel the final two practices before NASCAR’s Daytona 500 in a season already altered because of the pandemic.
PARTY IN A PANDEMIC: NASCAR FANS POWER THROUGH AT DAYTONA
“Obviously, the 500 is wrapped around a lot of tradition, and we all love that and we’re grateful that we have a little bit of track time for the guys that get their hands dirty,” David Wilson, head of Toyota Racing Development, said. “They always like to be able to get out there on track and make sure that everything is running as it should.”
Another noticeable difference will be the presence of fans or lack thereof.
Daytona International Speedway has a capacity of 101,000 but because of COVID restrictions, that number was reduced to approximately 30,000. But even with the cutback, Sunday’s race is expected to be the largest-attended single sporting event in the nation since the coronavirus shut down much of the sports world nearly a year ago.
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With as many challenges facing the event, fans will still have much to look forward to as Denny Hamlin looks to make NASCAR history by attempting to become the first driver to win three consecutive Daytona 500s.
NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan will also try his hand in a new business venture as he becomes the first Black principal owner of a full-time Cup Series team in nearly 50 years.
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Viewers can tune in Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX to catch the 200-lap race. Those with a participating TV provider can also watch the race online and on smart devices using the FOX Sports app.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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