NASCAR race weather: Will rain in Daytona forecast delay Saturday night’s race?

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Inclement weather is threatening to delay a NASCAR Cup Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

This is the game NASCAR plays each summer, traditionally in July but this year in late August for the series’ regular-season finale. Central Florida this time of year is prone to daily passing storm systems, and based on the forecast for Saturday night in Daytona Beach, the Coke Zero Sugar 400’s later date on the schedule might not save it from a rain delay for the second consecutive season.

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Saturday night’s race at Daytona is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC and run 160 laps. It needs to reach only the halfway point at Lap 80 to be considered official.

Daytona obviously has lights, so NASCAR in theory could delay the race late into Saturday night if need be. However, NASCAR easily could push the race back to Sunday if weather makes a Saturday night event impossible. There are no schedule issues with the weekend’s Xfinity Series race at Daytona already completed and next week’s Darlington race scheduled for Sunday night.

Below are the latest weather updates for the Daytona Beach area on Saturday night as NASCAR tries to conclude its Cup Series regular season on time.

NASCAR race weather updates at Daytona

Here is a live weather radar for Daytona Beach, Fla. The hourly forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of precipitation and isolated thunderstorms around 7 p.m. ET. The rain chances dip to 25 percent at 8 p.m. ET before climbing to 50 percent at 9 p.m. ET.

Below are the latest weather updates from Daytona:

5:54 p.m. ET: A fan at the track claims a “faint drizzle” is falling at Daytona.

5:21 p.m. ET: The clouds over Daytona International Speedway are ominous a little more than two hours before the start of the race.

4:42 p.m. ET: A storm system is approaching the track but has not yet reached Daytona.

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