Storms may threaten Saturday night's NASCAR race at Thunder Valley

By Renee Duff, AccuWeather meteorologist
August 18, 2018, 11:36:21 PM EDT

This year’s final NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway, nicknamed Thunder Valley, will be threatened by showers and thunderstorms on Saturday night.

Weather played a factor during the first NASCAR weekend in Bristol, Tennessee, in the middle of April. The Food City 500 was delayed multiple times on Sunday, April 15, due to rain, and officials eventually postponed the race to Monday, April 16.

AP Bristol Motor Speedway

Crews cover their cars as a rain delay is called during a NASCAR Cup Series auto race, Sunday, April 15, 2018, in Bristol, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Fans heading to the racetrack this weekend should again prepare for possible delays and postponements. Umbrellas, ponchos and waterproof shoes will be must-haves.

A system separating moist air to the south from drier air to the north will bring showers and thunderstorms to the Bristol area through the first part of the weekend, according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson.

After a period of rain moves through Bristol during the first part of Saturday, additional showers and thunderstorms can pop up during the afternoon hours and linger into the evening.

Bristol 8.18 AM

"This will potentially put the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race in Bristol in jeopardy on Saturday evening," Adamson said, adding that a delay or postponement is possible.

Given that the storms will be hit or miss in nature and a full washout is not expected, there is still a good chance that an official race can be run (250 laps completed).

"It might be a struggle for all 500 laps of the race to be run due to the threat of rain," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert.

On Friday, NASCAR announced that the start time of Saturday's race will be moved up from 7:30 p.m. EDT to 6:30 p.m. EDT due to the potential for inclement weather.

Temperatures will be in the 70s F throughout the evening.

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Fans at the racetrack can keep up to date with when stormy weather is expected to arrive and how long it will last by downloading the free AccuWeather app on their cellphone or tablet.

Adamson expects stormy weather to linger in the area for Sunday in the event that the race is postponed, but coverage will likely be more spotty than at the start of the weekend.

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