Showers from Hurricane Matthew are expected to clear out well before Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. start of the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a National Weather Service meteorologist said.
Friday night’s NASCAR XFinity Series Drive for the Cure 300 could be a washout, however, NWS meteorologist Lauren Visin said. The race is scheduled to start at 8:16 p.m., with qualifying at 4:45 p.m.
Friday night has an 80 to 90 percent chance of rain, with heaviest amounts expected between 8 and 10 p.m. and after midnight, Visin said. Rain chances ramp up from a 60 percent chance beginning between 4 and 6 p.m. Friday, she said.
Showers are forecast to continue until about 11 a.m. Saturday in Concord. While Visin said meteorologists still can’t rule out the possibility of rain Saturday evening, the chance stands at only 20 percent.
“This is very dependent on the track of Matthew,” Visin said.
The National Hurricane Center predicts Matthew will curve eastward from the S.C. coast Saturday afternoon, but several computer models Wednesday night predicted the storm would continue northward to near the N.C.-S.C. border before turning east.
It’s too early to say whether the XFinity race will be postponed to Saturday or Sunday, Charlotte Motor Speedway spokesman Scott Cooper said. But speedway officials “feel very good about Saturday evening” for the Bank of America 500, he said.
The speedway has 12 jet dryers – double the number required by NASCAR – and 12 Air Titans to dry the track in 90 minutes, Cooper said.
An additional 10 dump truck loads of gravel and two additional dump truck loads of sand are on hand to shore up any spots on the property affected by rain, he said.
The speedway, meanwhile, has plenty of dry camping spaces with restroom/bathhouse access available to Hurricane Matthew evacuees, Cooper said.
At $125 for a week’s stay, spaces “are much more affordable than several nights of stay at a hotel,” he said. “Plus, there’s a lot of free entertainment with our Fan Zone through the weekend to take an evacuee’s mind off what may be happening with the storm on the coast.”