NASCAR: Wildfires Force Postponement of Inaugural Night Race at Daytona
2 July 1998
By Terry Callahan
The Auto Channel
DAYTONA BEACH, FL: For the first time in 39 years, the Fourth of July weekend race at Daytona has been postponed. Speedway officials made the announcement this morning.
The Pepsi 400 was scheduled for Saturday night, July 4. The race has been rescheduled for October 17. Officials were forced to make the decision due to wildfires raging in the Daytona Beach area. The wildfires intensified overnight.
The race would have been the inaugural running of the race "under the lights." The Daytona International Speedway installed the lighting system during the winter months. The construction project is complete, but mother nature is not cooperating.. The new race date will be preceded by two nights of practice and qualifying.
"The wildfires plaguing Daytona Beach and surrounding communities intensified Wednesday night to a level that makes postponing this race the right thing to do," said John Graham, president of the Speedway. "Our manpower, facilities and resources will remain completely devoted to our community until this crisis is over."
Even though the fires are not a direct threat to the Daytona International Speedway, the fires have caused havoc for the racing fans traveling to the world famous racing facility. Road closures along the major highways leading to Daytona played a major role in the decision.