For years the joke was, “I want to be the weatherman, you can be wrong 90% of the time and still keep your job.” That statement, however, no longer appears to be true today, at least in auto racing.
Race track operators now believe in the predictions days and weeks in advance as do racers and fans. Events are now being postponed or rescheduled eight to 24 hours and in some rare cases days in advance of the gates opening because of predicted bad weather.
It now appears that the credibility of today’s meteorologists has become more of fact and something to trust, than a prediction or a guess.
The prediction of the weather, especially days in advance, has come a long way, but it is not 100% accurate. There are, however, so many more outlets tracking weather today than just the local newspaper, radio or television reports as in the past.
If you want a good or promising forecast you probably can find one. Want some hope, look far enough and that might be there as well.
Promoters can stay up to date on the tracking of a storm minute-by-minute on a computer or smartphone. Fans and racers can do so as well, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing for our sport. Often one phone says it’s raining and another that it’s just cloudy.
I believe attendance has suffered on questionable weather days as fans watch long range predictions and more and more promoters are canceling early. Racers and fans are now finding something else to do in advance, often when the storm in question is at that time across the country or in the gulf!
Back in the day, racers had to call the speedway phone to see if the event was cancelled or if it was raining there. Not every promoter told the truth. It might have been raining, then or earlier, but the report given was positive if the event promoter really wanted to hold the event.
Enroute to the track, well before cell phones were invented, it was common to see a race car trailer pulled off to the side of the road with the team making the call again to the track on a pay phone, often in the rain, to see if the races were still on.
Fans and racers still do support tracks that have a good reputation of trying to run every event despite the weather forecast. Pa.’s Lincoln Speedway leads the way in that category and Saturday night they were able to get their events in while most did not. Lincoln is also well prepared to do so with a paved pit area and a veteran track maintenance director who can perform miracles.
If you’re upset the next time an event is cancelled early, support the one track that does risk a financial loss and a message will be sent to track promoters.