(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.)– Steady rain and gusty winds in Florida prompted NASCAR to delay the start of the iconic Daytona 500 race until Monday, officials said.

The race at the Daytona International Speedway, the official opening of the NASCAR Cup Series season, had been scheduled to begin around 3 p.m. on Sunday but was called off hours before as the weather forecast showed no sign that the rain would let up, officials said.

The green-flag start to the stock car race was delayed until 4 p.m. Eastern Time Monday, the Presidents Day holiday, according to NASCAR.

A storm moving through Daytona is forecast to dump heavy rain on the area throughout the day Sunday and into Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service.

The rain is expected to let up on Monday with showers expected in the morning before drying out in time for the race.

Monday’s racing schedule now calls for a doubleheader at the Daytona International Speedway because Saturday’s Xfinity Series race was also postponed to Monday at 11 a.m. ET due to the inclement weather.

The last time the Daytona 500 was postponed for a full day was in 2012 when heavy rain caused the delay. In 2020, drivers completed 20 laps before a rain delay was called and the race had to be finished the next day.

More than 140,000 spectators are scheduled to attend this year’s 66th annual race.

Team Penske driver Joey Logano secured the top starting spot in the Daytona 500 after edging out Michael McDowell in the qualifying race on Wednesday. Logano won the Daytona 500 in 2015.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won last year’s Daytona 500 in a dramatic double overtime race, the longest running of the so-called Great American Race. The two overtimes pushed the 65th running of the event to a record 212 laps, or 530 miles.

“Been a fun week here in Daytona so far (minus the rain) but looking forward to going racing tomorrow,” Stenhouse said in a social media post on X Sunday after the rainout was announced.

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