DAYTONA BEACH – The Daytona 500 resumed after a record-setting rain delay that pushed the legendary NASCAR race under the lights.
Severe weather caused a six-hour, 22 minute delay – the longest rain delay in the history of the race – as the race kicked off at 8:36 p.m. ET.
Rain began to fall at the track around 2:22 p.m. ET forcing NASCAR officials to red flag the race after 38 laps. Severe weather including a tornado warning in the area forced track officials to evacuate the grand stands for a time as fans took shelter for their own safety.
The Air Titans driers worked throughout the early evening to get the track ready to resume racing with NASCAR Senior Vice President Steve O'Donnell tweeting, "8:30 latest estimate for going green."
Fox Sports resumed its live broadcast of the race at 8 p.m. ET as the covers came off the cars as the drivers prepared for racing.
Austin Dillon started the race from the pole position and quickly moved the iconic No. 3 Chevy to the outside lane. The lead, however, was short-lived lasting one lap as Dillon dropped back into the pack. Denny Hamlin and the No. 11 FedEx Express Toyota moved up and took the lead before water pressure issues forced him to surrender the lead to Kurt Busch.
Busch, who is in his first season with Stewart-Haas Racing, held the top spot followed by Paul Menard and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The first caution of the day came out on the 22nd lap after Kyle Larson's No. 42 Chevrolet spun out in Turn 2 on the front stretch, flattening his back rear tire. Larson made it back to pit row and was back on the track where he found himself two laps down.
Most of the field took advantage of the yellow flag and pitted for the first time. During the stop, Matt Kenseth's No. 20 Toyota spun out backwards into his pit spot.
When the green flag dropped on Lap 26, Paul Menard took the lead from Kurt Busch, who dropped back into the pack. Hamlin, having figured out his engine troubles, moved into second with Earnhardt Jr., third.
Martin Truex Jr.'s engine gave out on Lap 32 ending his day and forcing the second caution flag of the day. Part of the field pitted for fuel and tires and helped Kyle Busch take the lead.
While under caution, rain began to fall at the track, which brought out the red flag – halting the race at Lap 38.
After a six-hour, 22 minute rain delay – the longest in Daytona 500 history – the race resumed at 8:36 p.m. ET.
The green flag dropped at Lap 46 with Kyle Busch leading the pack.
Kasey Kahne led a pack of drivers challenging Kyle Busch for the lead including Denny Hamlin and Paul Menard.
A fresh track provided the drivers the perfect opportunity for clean racing and many of the drivers took advantage of it by going three wide in some situations.
It was another strong performance by Joe Gibbs Racing as Hamlin and Kyle Busch took command of the field early on after the restart. Brad Keselowski worked his way up to the front of the pack and challenged the leaders.
Menard pushed to the front as Kyle Busch and Kasey Kahne falling back to the pack. A green flag stop sent some of the drivers in to pit.
Kahne briefly spun out on Lap 74 at the exit of pit road in what appeared to be due to moisture while Kyle Busch left his pit with the air gun still attached to his car. NASCAR penalized his No. 18, sending it back through pit road.