NASCAR rolled out the track drying system Air Titan for several failed attempts over the delay. It was the only on-track activity for more than six hours, but there was plenty of behind-the-scenes fun as drivers desperately tried to stay entertained.
David Ragan made a pizza run in his firesuit, Hamlin played basketball, Clint Bowyer answered fans questions on Twitter and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s crew practiced tornado drills.
It hit absurd levels as Fox Sports tried to fill the air time with a replay of the 2013 race that hundreds of thousands did not understand wasn't a live broadcast. Social media exploded with congratulatory tweets for last year's winner, Johnson, who posted on his account: "I hear I won the #Daytona500? Haha! I also have friends confused and texting congratulations to me."
Fellow drivers had fun with the widespread error, too.
"Wait a minute! I'm confused, did @JimmieJohnson win or not?" Bowyer tweeted.
Plenty of fans on Twitter were confused throughout the replay, tweeting along as if the race was live. Deadspin ran some of them under the headline, "Scores Of Idiots Don't Realize Fox Is Airing Last Year's Daytona 500."
Even NASCAR couldn't resist jokingly weighing in on the confusion.
"Congrats @JimmieJohnson amazing," tweeted Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's senior vice president of racing operations.
Piling onto the strange story line, Fox's rain-delayed coverage was sponsored by the movie "Noah," which opens March 28 and stars Russell Crowe as the title character who builds an arc to save creation from a massive flood.
When the cars finally got back on track, Earnhardt took off. He had some challenges, particularly from the Roush Fenway Racing duo of Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards, but he managed to break free every time it mattered.