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Mark Edwards: There's a reason Talladega couldn't run this race in earlier rain-free hours — money


NASCAR Monster Energy Cup driver Martin Truex Jr.'s team covers his car during a rain delay during the 500 Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in Eastaboga, AL. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

TALLADEGA — So, why did they just race earlier in the day?

It seems to make so much sense. By starting the 500 at 1 p.m. Sunday, NASCAR ran the risk of rain interrupting the race. Sure enough, bad weather came at 1:58 p.m., pushing drivers from the track at Talladega Superspeedway. At 3:33 p.m., NASCAR officials announced the race will be postponed to Monday at 1 p.m.

While it might make sense to us that the race should've moved up to, say, 10 a.m., that's just not possible.

There are too many puzzle pieces, too many balls in the air or (maybe a better analogy) too many cars in motion. Bottom line, this is a professional sport with too much money being spent by too many people.

The biggest factor is television. It's a called a contract for a reason, and running the race early would've lost more money than any network would be willing to absorb. It's easier and less costly to try to run the race, then postpone, if necessary.

There's an order to each race day, and it doesn't start 1 p.m. The schedule of work for each team would require adjustment. Even something as simple as the drivers' meetings would need to be pushed up.

And, what about the fans who bought tickets, which aren't cheap? Not everybody is on Twitter to see news that the race will run early. If you decide on a postponement Friday night, not everybody is going to get the news. Those who do might not be able to adjust.

Besides, not everybody comes just for the race. Heck, that's the what the whole Talladega transformation project was about — making the track more inviting to fans who want more than just a race.

Are fans just supposed to trash all other plans? An example: What about the planned appearance by racing greats Bobby and Donnie Allison at Talladega on Sunday? Do you just cancel it?

Sometimes NASCAR can adjust the race start by 20 minutes. A start time of 1 p.m. is actually 1:17 p.m. or so. NASCAR could push to start at 1 p.m. or a few minutes earlier.

But earlier than that? It can't happen. It wasn't going to happen Sunday at Talladega. This isn't like a high school event in which officials can adjust on the fly with few repercussions.

Sports Editor Mark Edwards: 256-235-3570. On Twitter: @MarkSportsStar.