Wet and wild: Rain dampens first NASCAR day at Dover

Campers will be working their way around water-soaked lots this weekend after this week’s heavy rains. Friday afternoon, Dover International Speedway announced that some shuttle service had to be temporarily halted due to conditions. (Delaware State News/Ian Groneau)

Campers will be working their way around water-soaked lots this weekend after this week’s heavy rains. Friday afternoon, Dover International Speedway announced that some shuttle service had to be temporarily halted due to conditions. (Delaware State News/Ian Groneau)

DOVER — Race fans are excited for a wild weekend at Dover International Speedway’s Monster Mile, but depending on the weather, it may be a damp affair.

Camping out for the events won’t be for the faint of heart this year.

“There has been some ponding in the RV park and campgrounds, but we’re not anticipating too much of a problem,” said Gary Camp, spokesman for Dover International Speedway.. “We’ve been doing this for 50 years, so we’re pretty good at handling this. We’re focused on just accommodating everyone the best we can.”

Mr. Camp says with the help of the on-site meteorologist watching forecasts closely and the assistance of the NASCAR team he’s able to make frequent updates on the track’s website to let visitors know what to expect for conditions and event cancellations.

The National Weather Service said there is likely to be rain around Dover this afternoon, setting the chance of precipitation at 70 percent.

The high temperature today is expected to be about 74,

On Sunday there is a chance of showers in the morning. But forecasters expect partly sunny weather in the afternoon with a high around 79 for the Citizen Soldier 400 at Dover International Speedway.

Driver Brad Keselowski will be on the pole for the 400-miler on the high-banked oval.

Qualifying was rained out Friday so the starting order is based on owner points.

Today’s race is the Drive Sober 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Green flag is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Race fans, of course, are hoping to see more fast laps from the cars than the slow, continuous circuits from the track driers.

“People coming down are better off checking our website at doverspeedway.com rather than guessing, we’ve been able to stay on top of it pretty well even though the weather seems like it’s changing every minute,” said Mr. Camp.

Some events already had to be cancelled because of the inclement weather. The NASCAR Hauler Parade through downtown Dover was axed Thursday and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series first practice was canceled Friday morning.

Also, as of Friday afternoon, the RV lot shuttle services were halted because of the muddy conditions, but they will resume if road conditions improve.

The state is still reeling from heavy rains on Thursday morning that dumped over a foot of rain on some parts of Sussex County and 6 inches or more in Dover and other local areas.

The National Weather Service extended its coastal flood advisory till 2 a.m. and maintains a hazardous weather outlook throughout the state. Although the forecast only called for less than a tenth of an inch of rain Friday night, it predicts drizzles before 11 a.m. today and heavier rain afterward.

The Department of Transportation (DelDOT) stressed that if conditions persist, drivers should always find an alternate route instead of driving through flooded areas, even if they seem shallow. They also noted that driving in heavy rain conditions requires motorists to be alert, reduce their speed and turn on their headlights. Motorists should not attempt to drive through barricaded or flooded areas at any time, as the standing water could be deeper than anticipated.

Reach staff writer Ian Gronau at igronau@newszap.com

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