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What If It Rains at New Hampshire?

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North Carolina Moonshine and Motorsports Trail

What’s Happening?

New Hampshire Motor Speedway is set to host the stars of NASCAR this weekend. Unfortunately, the weather could play havoc on the weekend for the third time in four years. What will happen if it rains in New Hampshire?

  • New Hampshire uses the short-track rules package, which means rain tires are available for the weekend. However, despite the weather, they were not used in 2023.
  • The track has seen some major weather issues in recent years. The 2023 race was postponed due to rain. In 2021, the race was shortened by eight laps due to rain after a crash in the early laps.
  • Fans are apprehensive about the weather this weekend. In recent years, New Hampshire has gained a reputation for bad weather on NASCAR weekends, and fans do not want to see this trend continue.

Saturday: Xfinity and Modifieds

Saturday’s forecast includes likely rain for pretty much all day, but predominantly in the later afternoon and evening hours when the Modified Tour and Xfinity Series are scheduled to race. There is even a slight chance of thunderstorms, and lightning strikes could cause havoc even if it does not rain. Look at Gateway in 2023, for example, where lightning delayed the race for over two hours even if it did not rain.

It all depends on how long the rain falls in the weather forecast. Will it be a long rainstorm, or will it be rain showers that come and go?

According to Bob Pockrass, track drying at New Hampshire takes around 60-75 minutes, and the track has no lights. According to Timeanddate.com, sunset is at 8:29 PM on Saturday. Rain tires are available for the Xfinity Series to race on a damp and drying track, but, not for the Modifieds.

Realistically, for both races to happen in full, there probably needs to be around 4.5-5 hours of dry weather plus the extra hour or so to dry the track. This means that activities need to likely start no later than 4:00 local time.

If it does rain, the races for both series could be postponed to Sunday, either before or after the Cup Series race, weather permitting. If things are pushed to Monday, the forecast looks about the same. With rain peppering the entire weekend, it looks like NASCAR may have to fit everything in when they can.

In all likelihood, the order of priority for getting things done goes as follows: 1) Cup, 2) Xfinity, and 3) Modifieds. It might be a race to halfway for the Xfinity Series and Modifieds in particular. It’s possible that one may happen while the other is pushed to another day.

Sunday: Cup

The forecast for Sunday’s Cup Series race is about the same as Saturday’s for now. Sunset is at the same time as Saturday, and rain tires are available for damp conditions.

Overall, the Cup Series needs about three hours to complete the race, plus probably around 45-60 minutes to dry the track enough to use wet weather tires. This means the rain must stop around 4:30 or so. The issue is that the chances of rain increase to nearly 70% later that evening, meaning more rain might come later.

If they have to race on Monday, the forecast is currently about the same as Sunday. This could incentivize NASCAR to slightly push up the start time for the Cup Series race on Sunday. However, NASCAR has the entire day on Monday to stage the race, so it’s conceivable they find a window if the race is pushed to that day.

It all depends on what kind of rain New Hampshire gets. Is it isolated rain where there are windows to complete the race or a big storm where it rains all day? New Hampshire has some flexibility with rain tires, but, the lack of lights means that the schedule could change massively.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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