Fans have arrived at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the start of tonight’s Bank of America 500 race, and it appears as if the NASCAR Sprint Cup event will be run without weather problems.
A heavy thunderstorm hit the track area around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, sending fans to cover and drenching the racetrack. But the rain moved east of the area by 5:30 p.m.
National Weather Service radar at 7:35 p.m. showed a few small rain showers near Hickory. Those showers were moving eastward, but it appeared as if they will remain north of the speedway.
A much larger area of showers is along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, but that system isn’t expected to affect the Charlotte area until between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Here is the traffic and weather report for the speedway area at 7:45 p.m.:
WEATHER UPDATE ...
The good news ... it doesn’t appear as if weather will be an issue for the rest of the evening. National Weather Service radar shows no showers or thunderstorms west of Charlotte, except in eastern Tennessee. That rain wouldn’t reach Charlotte until almost midnight, forecasters said.
Fans can expect continued mild temperatures for the rest of the evening.
TRAFFIC UPDATE ...
Pre-race traffic conditions were good, for the most part. There were two exceptions – a multi-vehicle wreck on Interstate 485 that injured six people about 2:30 p.m., and a two-vehicle crash on southbound I-85 near the Bruton Smith Boulevard exit around 5:30 p.m. Both of those incidents caused major backups.
Fans leaving the speedway tonight should closely follow instructions from the N.C. Highway Patrol. Troopers said it might appear as if they are sending you in the wrong direction, but their traffic flow system is designed to get you back home promptly.
Motorists not attending the race should try to avoid I-85, U.S. 29, N.C. 49, Bruton Smith Boulevard, Derita Road, Mallard Creek Road and Odell School Road after 10 p.m. tonight. Those roads will be clogged with race fans headed home.