NASCAR: Race Weekend Weather Forecast

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NASCAR is all over the place this weekend, so I’ve got my work cut out for me in the forecast this week as we look ahead to racing in three different states on three different days and in very different parts of the country.  While things are looking pretty good for the main event in Pocono on Sunday, the combination of an approaching front and Tropical Storm Andrea may have an impact on those of you planning to camp at the track Thursday and Friday night, and it’s looking likely that Sprint Cup qualifying will have to be set by current owner points.

Aug 5, 2012; Long Pond, PA, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Juan Montoya (42) leads the pack for the start of the Pennsylvania 400 at Pocono Raceway. Sprint Cup Series driver Jeff Gordon (24) won the race in 98 laps due to rain. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Andrea is currently causing issues across Florida and South Georgia with heavy rains, and isolated tornadoes have popped up and will continue to do so in the so-called Sunshine State.  The storm is starting to move a little quicker now and by tomorrow will be racing up the eastern seaboard into the Mid-Atlantic.  Meanwhile a trough of low pressure will be swinging through the Great Lakes, with showers and thunderstorms developing out ahead of it.

The combination of the these two systems will spread numerous showers and possibly a few thunderstorms across eastern Pennsylvania during the day Friday, and it is going to be a close call for Sprint Cup practice which is currently scheduled for 12-1:30pm ET.  This will be important because at this point I do not see much if any chance of us getting Sprint Cup qualifying in, as it isn’t scheduled until 3:40pm and the rain will almost certainly have moved in by then.  If we manage to squeeze in practice before the rain starts, and qualifying is rained out like I expect it to be, then NASCAR will set the field for Sunday’s race based on practice speeds.  If both practice and qualifying are rained out, they will line up on Sunday based on current owner’s points, and this looks more likely to me.

Fifteen-hundred miles away, the Camping World Truck Series will be at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night for the WinStar World Casino 400, as part of the IZOD IndyCar Series Firestone 550 race weekend.  Showers have been passing through the Fort Worth area this morning, but drier and somewhat cooler air is on the way for Friday, and the weather is looking absolutely perfect for the truck race, and certainly not what you would expect in north Texas in early June.  Skies will be mostly clear and temperatures will be around 81 degrees for the 8pm CT start of the race Friday night, and the best part is that humidity levels will be unseasonably low throughout the day tomorrow.

For those camping at the track and sticking around for Saturday night’s IndyCar race, expect low temperatures in the middle 60s Saturday morning, with hotter temperatures in the afternoon in the upper 80s to near 90.  We’ll see some return of the humidity as south winds pick up to 10-15mph.  By race time Saturday night, temperatures should be in the middle 80s, and although we should see some more clouds, it looks dry with no weather issues.

Moving on to Saturday and heading back to the East Coast for a minute, the ARCA Racing Series will be at Pocono as well, and the Pocono 200 is set to start at 1pm ET.  This forecast is a little more difficult… we’ll be done with Andrea, as her remnants will be over the New England coast by Saturday morning, headed for Nova Scotia.  But the trough I mentioned earlier will still be over the eastern Great Lakes, and this could produce a few isolated showers in the area.  Rain chances are low, so I think there is still a good chance of getting this race in, but it will be something to keep an eye on.  They don’t call it the Tricky Triangle for nothing.  Temperatures there in Long Pond, PA on Saturday will top out in the upper 60s after morning lows in the upper 50s.