Officials for the IZOD IndyCar Series and the Baltimore Grand Prix are praying for sunny, dry weather Sunday, but they are prepared to change the format or schedule should heavy rains hit the city.
While Grand Prix CEO and president Jay Davidson said earlier this week that the race would go on in "anything short of another hurricane," it might take less than that for the highly anticipated race to either be shortened or postponed until Monday.
According to the latest forecasts, there is chance of showers and possibly thunderstorms after noon. The chance of precipitation is 30 percent, and while the forecast is for rainful amounts of less than a tenth of an inch, higher amounts are possible in the event of thunderstorms.
Good weather has followed the IndyCar Series this year, with only one race in Brazil being postponed until Monday after two delays and 15 laps were completed. Last year, an IndyCar race in St. Petersburg, Fla. was postponed until Monday because of heavy downpours prior to the start of the race.
Amy Konrath, director of public relations for the series, said Friday "that our standard rule of thumb is to go the whole way unless the rain is affecting the drivers' visibility" or if there is "standing water" on the track. Typically, street courses such as the one in Baltimore drain well.
If a race is shortened, it is "usually a two-hour timed" race.
Konrath added that, in the event of "active lightning," IndyCar officials would work with event organizers "to make sure all the people are in safe places."
Brian Barnhart, chief steward and president of competitions and operations for the IndyCar Series, wrote in an email, "Our goal is first and foremost to ensure a safe race for our competitors while balancing entertainment for the fans. Once inclement weather comes into play on a street or road course, we look at the elements like standing water and visibility to determine whether we are safe to move forward under these conditions."
In the case of a postponement, Grand Prix organizers would have to determine how to handle the crowd's admittance on Monday. At St. Petersburg last year, fans were allowed in for free to watch the race on Monday.