Over the past several weeks, I’ve been waiting for that perfect race weekend weather forecast, as I’m sure you all have too. Well folks, we’re pretty close with this weekend’s outlook for NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide racing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, though there is some rain in the forecast.
There is a cold front draped across Wisconsin and Iowa this morning that is headed east toward Indianapolis. Showers have formed ahead of it over parts of Illinois, and it appears that these will swing through the Indy area this evening and overnight. The most likely time for this rain to occur will be between about 10pm tonight and 7am Saturday, though a few showers could sneak in a little sooner this evening. I can’t rule out a thunderstorm, but I’m not expecting a whole lot of fanfare from this front.
With the cold front passing through tomorrow morning, that means high pressure and dry weather behind it for the rest of the weekend. In the energy industry, we look at average temperatures in cities all over the country to see how far they stray from 65 degrees in order to give us an idea of how much demand there will be for natural gas or power to heat or cool down homes and businesses. A daily average of 65 degrees generally means that the temperature is so comfortable, there is no energy demand from weather, and it looks like that’s what we’ll see this weekend in Speedway, Indiana… perfectly comfortable temperatures.
The action kicks off today with practice for both the Nationwide and Cup Series teams. No issues from the weather are expected, as the showers to the west will arrive well after practice ends. Temperatures today will top out around 80 degrees and fall into the low-mid 60s overnight. With the chance for scattered showers and perhaps a thunderstorm, make sure you’ve got your campsite set up for rain should it fall while you’re sleeping. If you’re in a tent, it’s never fun waking up to rain in the middle of the night and having to scramble to find tarps or cover up your belongings.
A few showers may linger into Saturday morning but skies will gradually clear out throughout the day, and we should be good to go for final Sprint Cup Series practice at 9am. We’ll certainly be dry and ready to go for Cup qualifying at 2:10pm ET. By that time temperatures will be into the low 70s, and we’ll reach a high for the day by 4-5pm at 74 degrees, right as the Nationwide 250 gets underway. Winds will be out of the west-northwest during the race at only 10 mph, so they should not be a factor, and rain will be long gone. It’s all dry for this one with temperatures cooling to around 69 degrees by the end of the race.
It will be a cooler start to the day on Sunday, with morning lows in the middle 50s, but full sunshine will warm things up nicely in the afternoon, and everything looks perfect for the Crown Royal Samuel Deeds 400. Green flag is set for 1:19pm ET, and temperatures will be around 71 degrees at that time with a west breeze around 10 mph. We’ll add a few degrees to the green flag temperature and top out around 75 degrees as the checkered flag falls and the bricks get kissed.
My next test will be the forecast for Pocono Raceway next weekend where the Sprint Cup and Camping World Truck Series will take on the tricky triangle. And the Nationwide Series will be in the nation’s heartland for night racing at Iowa Speedway. An early look at the forecast shows some potential for rain at Pocono on Saturday, but otherwise more great racing weather. We’ve still got lots of time to fine tune the forecast so make sure to check in with me next week here at BeyondTheFlag.com or on twitter @weathersfuori. Enjoy the racing from Indianapolis this weekend!