NASCAR's regular season finale moved to Sunday due to rain
By Bob Pockrass
FOX Sports NASCAR Writer
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NASCAR will set its playoff field Sunday after rains forced the postponement of the regular season finale Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.
With the threat of rain Sunday, NASCAR opted for a 10 a.m. ET start (CNBC) for the 160-lap race on the 2.5-mile track. FOX Weather forecasts a 50 percent chance of rain in the morning, a 70 percent chance of rain in the afternoon and a 30 percent chance of rain in the evening.
The decision to start mid-morning — a rarity for a postponed race — shows that NASCAR is determined to get its playoff field set as it prepares for a week of promoting its postseason leading into the Southern 500 in a week, Sept. 4 at Darlington Raceway. If NASCAR can’t get the race in Sunday, it would try again Monday.
The race will set the 16-driver playoff field. Fourteen drivers have spots based on wins earlier this year.
Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr., both winless this year, currently hold the final two spots based on points. If one of the 14 drivers who already has won this year, or if Blaney or Truex wins, both Blaney and Truex make the playoffs.
If a driver who is top-30 in points but hasn’t won this year wins the finale, then either Blaney or Truex gets the final spot based on their points standing. Blaney enters the race 25 points ahead of Truex.
Teams will not be allowed to adjust their cars prior to the start of the race to accommodate for likely different conditions that come from racing in the daytime instead of night.
"Handling will be more of a factor for sure during the day than at night," said Kyle Larson, who will lead the field from the pole.
"Just the whole track is slicker. But I feel like Turn 4 gets really tight. I don’t remember us being on-track [at Daytona] much earlier this year with the sun out."
Bob Pockrass has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s. He joined FOX Sports in 2019 following stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @bobpockrass. Looking for more NASCAR content? Sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass!