News & Media

NASCAR moves up race time as rain reaches track

September 04, 2011, Mark Aumann,

Rain expected to hit Atlanta; race time moved up 20 minutes to 7:30 p.m. ET

HAMPTON, Ga. -- Atlanta Motor Speedway president Ed Clark is keeping a positive outlook hours before the start of Sunday's AdvoCare 500, even as the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee come ever closer. On the track's official website, Clark posted a note to fans.

"I just stepped out of a meeting with the National Weather Service and wanted to give you all an update," Clark said. "Our contact there has told us we will have some light rain today, but the heavy rains should stay to the west of us."


2.C. Bowyer 185.922 29.819
3.Ky. Busch 185.841 29.832
4.B. Vickers 185.772 29.843
5.J. Gordon 185.735 29.849

Race teams awoke Sunday morning to overcast skies and scattered sprinkles during the early afternoon hours. However, the forecast for the next 48 hours remains tenuous, at best.

* CNN: Weather forecast for Hampton, Ga.

According to the NWS, widespread showers and thunderstorms will be developing during the afternoon. The hour-by-hour prediction now shows a 100 percent chance of precipitation around 6 p.m. ET, with the possibility of up to a half-inch of rain by midnight.

However, there may be breaks in the weather that may allow for track drying.

In an effort to beat the storm, NASCAR officials already have moved the start time up some 20 minutes to 7:30 p.m. ET, but that may not be enough to allow completion of the next-to-last race before the Chase field is set. A race is official at the halfway mark; in this case, that's 163 laps on Atlanta's 1.54-mile oval.

Heavy rains are expected throughout the night and Monday, with as much as 3 to 5 inches total over the next 48 hours. The heaviest band of storms shown on the radar at 3 p.m. ET was near Columbus, Ga., approximately 90 miles to the southwest of the track.