The weather forecast for the Martinsville, Va., area Wednesday is such that the first NASCAR Cup Series night race in the history of the half-mile oval is in danger of experiencing a rain delay. Which would make it the fourth race since NASCAR's return last month that has been delayed by weather.
Wednesday night's race at Martinsville is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET on FS1, and the chances for precipitation in the area increase as the scheduled start time approaches. Go figure: NASCAR finally schedules a night race at Martinsville, and the weather forecast suggests it would have a better chance to run as a day race.
Wednesday night's race at Martinsville only needs to reach the the halfway point (Lap 250) to become official. That point would come just before the end of Stage 2, which ends on Lap 260.
My guess willing to start as late as 9:30-10 tonight b/c Thursday not option w/o upheaval of Homestead schedule (truck race already was moved from before Xfinity race Sat to night for more setup time for broadcast/equipment from Martinsville). Forecast shows potential windows. https://t.co/n4b1ip0VI8
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 10, 2020
Below is what we know about the weather forecast NASCAR will monitor as the 7 p.m. ET start time for Wednesday night's race approaches.
NASCAR race weather forecast for Martinsville
According to weather.com, there is a 55 percent chance of precipitation in the Martinsville, Va., area at 7 p.m. ET, when the NASCAR race is scheduled to begin. Chances of rain increase as the night progresses.
The weather forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms Wednesday night with very high humidity as some remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal enter the area from the southwest.
A live weather radar for Martinsville can be found here.
The Doctor is in: @MartinsvilleSwy #NASCAR fcst for tonite's #BlueEmu500 : Risk of showers & t-storms, some possibly severe - Race time fcst: 78F, Winds: South, 5-10 mph, 80% RH. @NASCAR_WXMAN's Odds of Racing: 50% fm @lappedtrafficpc - Similar situation to CLT Alsco 500(k) pic.twitter.com/3mpaVixjiY
— RaceWeather - Aaron Studwell, Ph.D. (@RaceWeather) June 10, 2020
The problem with a potential rain delay at Martinsville is the turnaround NASCAR has to manage before the next race on its modified 2020 schedule. Wednesday night's race was set for 7 p.m. ET (rather than 8 p.m. ET, the original time for the spring race at Martinsville) in part because teams will need to travel back to their facilities after the race in preparation for Sunday's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
That's why the Martinsville race can't run Thursday if it gets postponed. So NASCAR in that case would have to weigh two options, per Motorsport.com's Jim Utter.
In the event of a rainout, the Martinsville race could be postponed one week and instead run Wednesday, June 17. The other option is to scrap the Martinsville spring race altogether and run a Cup Series doubleheader at Homestead this weekend.