Daytona 500 under way again after being 'red flagged' 6 hours 21 minutes & 4 seconds

Fans seek refuge from major rainstorm early on in the Daytona 500 / Headline Surfer®

DAYTONA BEACH -- The green flag was dropped just before 1:30 p.m. on what was a beautiful Sunday, but the Great American Race gave way to the great Floridian thunderstorm, including a tornado watch later in the afternoon, that had the Daytona 500 red flagged at 2:12 p.m. for a record 6 hours 21 minutes & 4 seconds.

With only 38 laps completed before racing resuming just after 8:30 p.m., track officials were hoping get in the minimum 100 laps or be forced to red flag it again should the rain return with a large storm cell hovering over Ocala and moving this way. That would require the race to resume Monday and likely under the lights again.

Despite the earlier nasty rainstorm that had many of the 100,000-plus in the grandstands and another 20,000 or so in the infield heading for cover from sustained heavy downpours, thunder and reports of lightning behind the grandstands where heavy construction equipment has been left in place for the ongoing $400 million "Daytona Rising" modernization project.

Despite repeated stern warnings over public address system by Daytona International Speedway officials to seek protection from the lightning in particular, hundreds of fans either remained parked in their seats or milled around while others moved further up in their sections below the upper decks.

The public address announcer told fans -- who seemed unfazed -- by what was recognized as so readily by tens of thousands of others who sought protection under the stands at ground level or bathrooms, food service areas and even under the roof overhang of the race car garages -- that the Speedway would not be held liable for because they didn't heed warnings to play it safe. The track policy was reiterated to Headline Surfer® by DIS spokesman Lenny Santiago, who said of the PA announcer, "He advised the fans, but ultimately, ensuring safety is their own responsibility."

Daytona International Speedway spokesman Lenny Santiago / Headline Surfer®Lenny Santiago, Daytiona International Speedway's chief spokesman, who was embedded in the media center with was in constant contact with on-site track closaely monitoring the weather situation from the DIS Media Center with with The public address announcer told fans -- who seemed unfazed -- by what was recognized as so readily by tens of thousands of others who sought protection under the stands at ground level or bathrooms, food service areas and even under the roof overhang of the race car garages -- that the Speedway would not be held liable for because they didn't heed warnings to play it safe. The track policy was reiterated to Headline Surfer® by DIS spokesman Lenny Santiago, who said of the PA announcer, "He advised the fans, but ultimately, ensuring safety is their own responsibility."

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.