It’s that time of year again. The days are getting longer, the air is getting colder, and you know what that means: it’s time for racing to return! Whether you participate in NASCAR or not, the excitement of the season opener is just around the corner.
It’s not just about the racing though. With the World Finals of Pro Moto 3 about to begin in France, it’s the perfect opportunity to bring Formula One back to the States for a few weeks. Simpler times, as they say, as the world of motorsport prepares for a return to racing.
Before the season kicks off, it’s time to find out exactly what the weather is going to be like. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered on this front. Here’s a look at whether or not it’s raining at Daytona International Speedway as well as a few other top-notch U.S. racetracks.
Daytona International Speedway
If you’re coming from the north, you’re in for a surprise when you reach the southern shores of Florida. While it isn’t impossible for it to rain in the Sunshine State, it certainly doesn’t happen often enough for the condition to be considered normal. The good news is that it doesn’t usually rain at Daytona. In fact, there have only been 26 days out of the year since the start of 1991 when it rained at Daytona.
The track itself is a bit more humid than other tracks, which can make it harder for the track to maintain its original shape and, as a result, make it more likely for it to rain there. Additionally, the hot, humid air is often trapped near the surface, which can cause a thunderstorm or even a hurricane to form. All this considered, it’s still one of the safest places to be when there’s rain, lightning, and hailing. We’d put it on the extremely unlikely side of the scale to begin with.
Just across the Virginia state line, in North Carolina, you’ll find Richmond. Much like Daytona, Richmond is also in the same climate as Florida, and it has the same issues with regards to rainfall. Since 1925, there have only been nine rain-free days at Richmond. That’s not a lot of time when you’re talking about a track that’s twice the size of Daytona. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that Richmond is actually a bit more humid than Daytona, which makes it even less likely for it to rain there. In fact, the humidity is low enough that even the tiniest droplets can turn into a downpour. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the cold and dry winters, which can leave a mark on exposed skin that lasts the entire year. Thanks to all that humidity, though, Richmond is a track that can be both slippery and hazardous when wet. The track is located in a subtropical region, so while it doesn’t get as much rain as other tracks, it makes up for it in other ways. In 2014, the racetrack was named the 3rd best in the United States by Rolling Stone magazine.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Moving to the west, we reach Nevada, home of the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. While you might assume that it rains a lot in Las Vegas, you’d be wrong. In fact, the opposite is true. It only rains at Las Vegas on rare occasions. Since the beginning of 2017, there have only been five rain-free days at the track. However, when it does rain, it pours, and it usually floods the track. Because of the way the track is built, the entire stadium is at risk of being unusable if it gets wet. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere near a weather condition that makes the track unusable, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. While you might not want to be there when it rains, it probably doesn’t happen often enough to make you change your travel plans to avoid it.
Michigan International Speedway
Continuing on our trip west, we reach the Great Lakes. Michigan is a state with more than its fair share of precipitation, but it rarely rains at Michigan International Speedway. Since the track opened in 1969, there have only been 18 rain-free days, which is less than half of the years since then. As you’d guess, the track is at greater risk of flooding than most other tracks because of the way it’s built. The banks around the track are quite tall, and it’s not unusual for there to be standing water near the track before a single lap has even been run. In general, though, the track is well designed and has an incredible amount of grip, which makes it ideal for anything from a road course to a night race.
Continuing on to the North, we reach another State that’s home to the National Rifle Association: Texas! Like many other states in the country, the weather in Texas is quite unpredictable. However, it rarely rains at the famed Arlington Raceway. Since the start of 2002, there have only been five rain-free days at the track. On the other hand, it’s not unusual for it to hail or pour, which can turn an already-dangerous situation into something far more treacherous. Like the other tracks on this list, too, there’s no question that the banks around the track are quite tall, which makes flooding a distinct possibility. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, there were 28 flood-related accidents there. If you’re coming from out of state, it’s best to be extra-cautious when it comes to the weather in Texas.
Finally, we reach the Garden State, which is officially known as New Jersey. Like many other states, New Jersey is prone to flooding from heavy rainstorms. Since the beginning of 2016, there have been a whopping 62 rain storms, some of which were quite severe. Fortunately, the rain has mostly been confined to the countryside, which is something of a blessing for those who live there, as the floods have been contained to local rivers. However, it’s still considered quite the rare occurrence in the state, which is why you’ll rarely find anyone there when it does rain. The good thing is that at least there aren’t any noxious fumes in the air to make you sick, which is more than you can say for some places.
As we’ve established, it doesn’t rain a lot in New Jersey, but when it does, it does so with great intensity. From July 25th to August 8th, 2016, it rained a total of 38.62 inches at the track. On the opposite end of the spectrum, from July 13th to July 20th, 2009, it did not rain a single drop at the track. Because of the intensity of the rain sometimes, it’s also been known to cause power outages, which can disrupt the way the state functions. Fortunately, the track is well designed and is set back from busy roads, so it’s not as bad as it could be if everyone was trying to drive there during a downpour. Still, it’s best to be aware of the risks when coming from out of state, or if you live in a particularly wet city outside of New Jersey. For those who live in the state and plan on going to the track, it’s best to be prepared for any eventuality.
As you’ll see, most of the tracks on this list are quite safe, but you should still be mindful of the weather when coming from out of state or if it’s been a particularly wet year in the area. Remember, prevention is better than cure, so don’t wait until the last minute to travel or to get your tires changed, especially if you’re traveling at night or during rush hour. Also, keep your hands inside the car at all times while driving on wet or slick roads. Finally, if you’re headed to one of these tracks and it starts looking like it’s about to pour, you might want to find an indoor parking garage or an air-conditioned space in the building near the track.