The last few weeks have been a challenge forecasting for NASCAR race weekend events, and as we head into one of the biggest weekends in all of motorsports, with stock cars and open-wheelers taking the stage over Memorial Day Weekend, I am looking forward to an easier forecast. While this one may not be all sunshine and blue skies, especially for our winged friends to the north at Indy, it does appear that Mother Nature is going to help me out this weekend.
There is so much good news in the forecast for Charlotte, I can hardly stand it. A cold front… yes, a bona-fide cold front… will sweep through the area this morning and afternoon, bringing gusty winds out of the northwest throughout the day, but more importantly it will knock temperatures and humidity down significantly. Highs on Friday will only be around 73 degrees despite full sunshine. For those camping at the track, don’t be surprised by how cold it gets at night though. Be prepared for temperatures dropping into the mid 40s tonight into Saturday morning! There is a good chance of setting a new record low for the date Saturday morning. Might as well, right? We did break the track record speed in qualifying last night! Saturday night and Sunday morning will be chilly too, with temperatures bottoming out in the upper 40s.
If that doesn’t sound like good news (it does to me- I’d take lows in the 40s right now here in Texas!), what it means is that afternoon temperatures will be comfortable, darn near perfect in fact, all weekend long behind this front. We’re looking at highs in the mid 70s both Saturday and Sunday, and with winds gradually switching to the south Sunday afternoon and evening, temperatures won’t be able to fall as sharply Sunday night as they will Saturday night.
So for Saturday’s Nationwide Series History 300, expect temperatures around 72 degrees for the roughly 2:45pm ET start. By the end of the race, we should still be in the low 70s, but it’ll be down to around 60 degrees by 9pm, and into the low 50s by midnight. For Sunday’s Coca Cola 600, even though we’ll be off to a later start at around 6pm, it’ll still be in the mid 70s at the drop of the green flag. This long race is likely to end at close to 10pm, at which point it will only be dropping into the low 60s. For this time of year, the weather doesn’t get much better than this.
So what about any rain chances in Charlotte this weekend? Don’t worry about it. There will be some disturbances dropping down from the Midwest through Kentucky and into Tennessee Saturday into Sunday, but the Appalachian mountains will essentially chop these up before they have any impact on the Charlotte area. We’ll see a slight increase in clouds on Sunday, but that looks to be about it. Everything looks great for NASCAR this weekend..
Since I mentioned Indy, and it is kind of a big event, I’ll go ahead and finish things off with a quick look at the forecast for the Indy 500. This forecast is a little trickier, as models differ on the placement of a front that could impact the area all weekend. At this point, I think most of the showers and thunderstorms will be off to the south and west of Indianapolis on Sunday, and the early start at noon ET should allow them to get running before the bulk of the isolated storms get going anyway. Plus, they can race in the rain, right? The caveat here is if there is a complex of thunderstorms that develops overnight and makes it into Indiana which, while only a remote possibility, would bring not only heavy rain, but the potential for severe weather. We’ll keep an eye on it, but I think even with a delay or two, the Indy 500 gets run in its entirety on Sunday.
The next NASCAR race weekend is sure to be a hot one as the series heads north to Dover, Delaware, and I do mean hot. Temperatures could reach the 90s during the weekend there, but a sneaky cool front could bring some cooler air in time for Sunday’s Cup Series race. Unfortunately that front could also mean rain rolling through, so it looks like I’ll have to keep the sleeves rolled up next week. Come on back here to BeyondTheFlag.com next Friday for your complete NASCAR weather forecast.