Daytona 500 Postponed Until 7 P.M. Eastern

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR(DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.) -- The 54th running of the Daytona 500 will take place under the lights tonight at Daytona International Speedway. 

NASCAR President Mike Helton announced this morning that the scheduled time of 12 P.M. eastern would be pushed back due to the weather forecast of 60-70 percent chance of rain.

"We hope to have 'Lady and gentlemen, start your engines,' at 7:02 and then warm up and go to green flag," NASCAR president Mike Helton said. "We believe this is a reasonable expectation."

Heavy rain all day Sunday forced NASCAR to postpone the event for the first time in its 54-year history.

"The last thing we wanted to do was have our fans wait through another long day of rain delays and jet drier activity," said Speedway president Joey Chitwood III´╗┐.

"It's a good move to just move the race to 7 o'clock," said last year's runner-up Carl Edwards. "It's gonna' be a great race.  I think being at night, it's going to be really special."

Former IndyCar racer Danica Patrick will make her Daytona 500 debut. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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