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Will It Rain Again at the Chicago Street Race?

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What’s Happening?

The Chicago Street Race is this weekend, and fans are thrilled that NASCAR will return to the city streets. However, weather was the big story in 2023, with a wild rainstorm wiping out around half of the racing action. Will the same story repeat itself in 2024?

  • A lightning delay on Saturday forced NASCAR to postpone the Xfinity Series race after only 25 of 55 laps. However, Sunday was even worse as what seemed like a hurricane descended on the streets of Chicago, forcing the Xfinity Series race to be called after only 25 laps and delaying the Cup Series race by an hour. The Cup Series race was eventually started but eventually shortened due to impending darkness.
  • Not only did the weather wreak havoc on the race, but three of the four concerts scheduled were canceled. Overall, the weather almost completely derailed the weekend.
  • Fans are nervous that the weather could again impact the race this season. However, the law of averages says a weather system like 2023 probably won’t happen again.

The Weather Forecast

As of this writing, the weather looks pretty good for Saturday. Rain chances are below 10% all day, with a forecast for sunshine and temperatures flirting with 80 degrees. Add a nice breeze off the lake, and that sounds like a perfect afternoon to get all on-track activity in. Check out the article above for the latest updates on the forecast if it changes.

Sunday, however, looks a bit more iffy. It should be a nice enough day with temperatures in the 80s and a nice breeze. However, the chances of rain hover around 30%, and, worse yet, thunder and lightning are possible. Many forget the Xfinity Series race was not moved to Sunday because of rain, as it barely rained at all. It was lightning that detailed that afternoon.

What Happens If It Rains?

While Saturday looks pretty good, Sunday could be a bit iffy, but it should not be much of a problem if it’s just rain. Even if a brief, hard rain delays the race, last year showed that cleaning up some of the standing water could allow drivers to race in the rain. In a light rain, NASCAR will probably continue the race.

However, lightning is a different story as both Grant Park and Chicago were not nearly as lenient last year as NASCAR typically is with lightning. NASCAR’s policy is that for every lightning strike within eight miles of the facility, a 30-minute clock starts and resets after every additional strike. Grant Park does not have such a policy, and grantparkmusicfestival.com states that, in the instance of lighting, “Patrons are advised to exit the Park.”

Will the policy from last year change this year? Hopefully, we never have to find out.

The race starts at 3:30 PM local time, with sunset scheduled for 8:28 PM local. That gives NASCAR about five hours to complete the 75-lap race. This race took just over two and a half hours to complete 75 laps in 2023, meaning NASCAR has more breathing room than last year if weather derails the event.

If rain or lightning wipes out the race entirely, NASCAR may be unable to reschedule it. The Xfinity Series race in 2023 was not pushed to Monday despite not reaching the halfway point, which is when NASCAR races are usually considered “Official.” If the Cup Series race is stopped early, it might get the same treatment.

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