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Run Daytona 500 at night and in prime time? NASCAR is open to it, says Brian France

Feb 27, 2014, 6:25 PM EDT

Brian France AP

In an interview with SportingNews.com, NASCAR chairman/CEO Brian France addressed an issue that fans have long sought to have happen.

Namely, running the Daytona 500 under the lights and on prime-time television, rather than start in its traditional early afternoon slot.

Sunday’s race began shortly after 1 pm ET, only to run just 38 laps before it was delayed by rain for nearly 6 ½ hours. The race resumed after 8:30 pm ET, and finished nearly three hours later at almost 11:30 pm ET.

It marked the second time in three years that the 500 was not only delayed by rain, but the end result was the race was broadcast by default in prime-time.

Would NASCAR like to see the 500 under the lights permanently, with the likelihood that TV ratings would increase due to the prime-time slot?

“We have considered it and for lots of reasons have not done that,” France said.

He added that while NASCAR remains open to the idea, officials from Fox Sports, which televises the race, as well as from Daytona International Speedway would have to agree to a time change.

“It’s always a consideration,” France said. “Of course, it’s not just our decision. Fox has to believe that’s the right time and all the rest.”

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