NASCAR Weekend Weather Forecast

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After what turned out to be a great (albeit hot and humid!) weekend for racing at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend, we head to the final race of the regular season at Richmond International Raceway with our fingers crossed that we’ll have the same fortune.  Teams battling it out to make the chase or pick up a win under the lights may have to take the weather into account, as a cold front will bring a chance of showers with it Saturday night. But because the rain will be scattered, and there remains uncertainty regarding the timing of the onset of the wet weather, there’s still hope for a dry running of the Sprint Cup Series Federated Auto Parts 400.

Apr 28, 2012; Richmond, VA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Mark Martin (55) leads the start of the Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-US PRESSWIRE

The Nationwide Series kicks off the weekend with racing on Friday night in the Virginia 529 College Savings 250.  No weather issues are expected for this one.  Models show a slim chance of showers, but I think we stay rain-free.  It looks like we’ll have partly cloudy skies with temperatures still in the low 80s at the drop of the green flag, after daytime highs around 93 degrees. It’s still going to be muggy Friday night, with temperatures only cooling into the upper 70s by the end of the race.  This is very similar to what I experienced first-hand as a camper at Atlanta last weekend!  Take it from me… leave the sleeping bag at home and just bring a sheet- it’s all you’ll need!

On Saturday, we’ll be watching a cold front approach and move through the Appalachian Mountains on its way toward Richmond International Raceway.  It looks dry at the track in the morning, but rain chances will increase after around noon and peak late Saturday night into early Sunday morning as the front moves through.  Showers will be isolated before and probably right at the start of the race, but may become more numerous as the race wears on.  As of now, it appears that bands of showers along the cold front will be broken, meaning there could be gaps big enough to fit the race in Saturday night even with a possible delay or two, but we won’t know this for sure until race day.  In addition, it is possible that this front will slow down a bit, which would mean the bulk of the rain would come in either after halfway, or after the race ends.  Crew chiefs will surely need to keep a close eye on this.  As interesting as it can make it when weather threatens to end a race early, I personally would rather set the chase field without weather determining the outcome, so hopefully that won’t be the case. 

A few thunderstorms may be in the mix as well, so if you’ll be at the track, be on the lookout for lightning and be prepared to take shelter if needed, but otherwise no severe weather is expected.  As for temperatures, it’ll remain hot and humid throughout the day on Saturday, with afternoon highs in the upper 80s under mostly cloudy skies.  Timing of the cold front will be the key for Saturday night temperatures, but we look to drop only slowly through the 70s during the race after a (hopeful) green flag temperature near 80.

If Mother Nature doesn’t want to be a race fan Saturday night, the weather looks fine for a Sunday race if necessary.  Behind the front, we’ll see mostly sunny skies and cooler/less humid weather with high temperatures only topping out near 80 degrees during the day. 

Enjoy the racing this weekend!