Daytona 500 begins after rain delays

First night start for Daytona 500 race ever

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Daytona 500 was pushed back to a Monday night start because of rain.

The green flag finally dropped just after 7 p.m., more than 24 hours after its original start time.

NASCAR on Sunday initially postponed the Daytona 500 because of rain, the first time in the 54-year history of the event that it has been delayed a day.

Heavy rain soaked Daytona International Speedway, and NASCAR never had a big enough window to dry the track.  The 500-mile race was scheduled for noon Monday before more rain prompted officials to push the race to Monday night.

Carl Edwards, runner-up to Tony Stewart in last year's championship race, will start from the pole. Former IndyCar star Danica Patrick will make her Daytona 500 debut.

Fans came from as far as Canada and Texas to see the Daytona 500. Some race fans decided to stick around, but others gave up on the race and left the Speedway leaving a much smaller crowd than usual to spectate.

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Meanwhile, businesses near Daytona International Speedway enjoyed a busier-than-normal Monday, thanks to Sunday's delay.

Clarence Blair, Junior, the manager of Dickey's Barbecue along International Speedway Boulevard, says they've seen about a 20 percent increase in business compared to a typical weekday.

"It's quite intriguing," he said. "You think it's going to be a slow day, and all these people come in. I've really enjoyed myself today."