Lightning, rain place Daytona 500 on hold in Stage 1

Rain and lightning in the Daytona Beach, Florida area have halted the 63rd annual Daytona 500 for the NASCAR Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway.

A lightning strike forced a 30-minute hold on at-track activities, and attendees were instructed to seek shelter at 3:29 p.m. ET. Kevin Harvick was scored as the race leader with 15 laps complete.

RELATED: Daytona 500 leaderboard | Photos from the track

Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman started from the pole position for the 200-lap race, but his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsport Chevrolet was snared in a multi-car crash on Lap 14, thinning the field of several contenders.

A fleet of 19 Air Titans, 10 jet dryers, two vacuums and two sweepers are at the 2.5-mile speedway for track-drying efforts.

NASCAR.com will continue to monitor the weather situation and provide further weather updates once they become available.

MORE: Full guide to the 2021 Daytona 500