LAS VEGAS -- The people at Fox were relieved Sunday when the Subway 400 at North Car olina Speedway wasn't threatened by bad weather.
After severe thunderstorms canceled the final practice session Saturday and forced the postponement of the NASCAR Busch Series race for two days, the network was thrilled to see sunny skies Sunday for the main event, especially after it was accused of pushing NASCAR a week earlier to call off the Daytona 500 after 109 laps.
The decision to throw the checkered flag 91 laps before the scheduled finish at Daytona drew sharp criticism from fans who wanted to see all 500 miles of racing, even if it meant returning Monday to finish it.
Fox promoted a 90-minute special for The Simpsons and a Married With Children reunion throughout the race and two different rain delays.
When it became clear the race would end well into prime time weather permitting many wondered whether television prompted NASCAR to end the race prematurely.
''The fact that they called the race while we were in commercial will tell you how much we had to do with the decision,'' said Fox spokesman Dan Bell.
NASCAR rules state a race becomes official once it reaches the halfway point. The Daytona 500, therefore, became an official race on the 100th lap.
Rain returned for the second time on the 109th lap and radar showed showers were supposed to last most of the night. After waiting for 55 minutes to see if the rain would end, the sanctioning body called it quits.
NASCAR also said Fox had no say in the final decision to end the race.
''We are in contact with our television partners so they can make plans, but they don't make the decision,'' said Kevin Trip lett, the director of business operations.
PIT STOPS: ARCA Re/Max Series driver Dustin Maherg will make his debut in competitive power-lifting this weekend in Mobile, Ala. Maherg, 18, has been working out for three years and hopes to bench press 375 pounds at the competition. The ARCA Series is off until the March 8 race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. ... Dale Jarrett's victory Sunday at Rockingham, N.C., was worth $10,000 to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. Ford Credit, one of Jarrett's sponsors, donates $10,000 for each victory, $7,500 for a second-place finish and $5,000 for each pole position or third-place finish.
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