Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Updated: Hurricane Season Comes Calling
Update: Tropical Storm Hanna slowed down and is only expected to be passing Northern Florida on Friday afternoon, so the Nationwide Series race from Richmond looks good. Unfortunately, it is forecast to be over Virginia on Saturday evening. Weather.com has the projected path.
Living on the Southeast coast of Florida I have had the pleasure of three hurricanes over the past couple of years and a tropical storm just last week which left behind fourteen inches of rain as a present.
The picture above is the eye of Hurricane Jeanne literally over my house. We were almost a month without power. That little white blotch to the left is Lake Okeechobee. To give you some perspective on the size of the storm, Lake Okeechobee is the second largest freshwater lake in the US behind Lake Michigan. It has its own zip code.
Now, the tropics are swirling once again and this time things are not looking too good for the ESPN gang on Saturday night. The Rock and Roll 400 in Richmond is the first Sprint Cup Series race that ESPN is producing in the ABC package.
As of 8PM on Tuesday, Tropical Storm Hanna was expected to become a hurricane, slide up the Florida coast and be in the Virginia area on Saturday night. The rainfall in advance of the storm may well play a role in the Friday night Nationwide Series race as well. Saturday does not look good at all.
ESPN's David Newton updated host Ryan Burr on Tuesday's NASCAR Now about NASCAR's contingency plans. Newton's comments were that NASCAR would focus on the Sprint Cup Series race and move the Nationwide Series to Sunday or even Monday if weather cancelled the events on Friday night.
In terms of the big ABC race on Saturday, his comment was that NASCAR would stay and try to race on Sunday morning. This would presumably get the teams and transporters out of the track and on the way back to North Carolina in a timely fashion late Sunday afternoon. If worse came to worse, they would try to race on Monday morning.
Newton did not mention anything about the ABC or ESPN contingency plans. The ABC Network does not have network sports access on Sunday mornings across the four time zones of its affiliate stations. Sunday afternoon has a live WNBA game at 1:00PM Eastern Time followed at 3:30PM by the live IRL race from Chicagoland. Cross ABC off the list.
Sunday morning finds ESPN itself involved in the two-hour highly-rated NFL Countdown show. That program runs from 11AM to 1PM live and then transitions to a college football weekend wrap-up show. Cross ESPN off the list.
It looks like ESPN2 will be the intended target for the Cup Series in the same way that Richmond seems to be a potential destination for Hanna. We must make sure to add to this a term that we Floridians know all too well. I think it is one of the greatest phrases of the English language.
We have to remember that all of this is still in...say it with me..."the cone of uncertainty." Possibly the best term ever invented since "actions detrimental to stock car racing."
Basically, no one knows where a force of nature like a hurricane is headed so teams will be experiencing a very interesting weekend of weather as they travel from the Mooresville, NC area to suburban Henrico County, Virginia.
We will continue to add updated info to this post throughout the week and try to keep everyone updated on the series and the TV network plans for the weekend.
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