Dover International Speedway Prepares for Possible Hurricane - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dover International Speedway Prepares for Possible Hurricane

The speedway in Dover is preparing for a possible hurricane (Photo: WBOC) The speedway in Dover is preparing for a possible hurricane (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - The threat of Hurricane Joaquin is very serious for Dover International Speedway. The fall race weekend is this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

There are tens of thousands of people already in Dover or on their way for the upcoming race weekend. That's a lot of people for the speedway and the town to keep safe if the weather turns bad.

Track officials are monitoring the weather - hoping for the best, preparing for the worst. It's a bit easier to prep in the fall than in the spring, because spring storms can pop up out of nowhere. Hurricanes give a lot of advanced warning.

"As opposed to hours you have days to prepare for this as we're doing now," said Ed Klima, who is in charge of public safety for the track. "[We're] making sure the large number of people who come here to camp for the weekend - that we have contingency plans in place that if we needed to move them we could do so."

"We're very prepared for it. Obviously fan safety and public safety is number one," said Cpl. Mark Hoffman, spokesman for the Dover Police Department. 

Hoffman said the department has already increased manpower in place because of the races. Staffers will turn their attention to evacuations, if necessary, from the grandstands or the campgrounds.

Judy Jones is camping. She watched from under her RV's awning as clouds rolled through the campground, not too concerned about the possible storm.

"The last time that happened we just put our slides in. There was less room for any wind," she said. "We stayed here."

The speedway will use social and traditional media to get out information, like if a race is postponed. Klima says even a little rain could put the breaks on them. Lots of things affect the ability of cars to drive on the track.

"We're fortunate that we have our concrete racetrack that dries faster than a lot of other racing surfaces. If we can get the track dry and race that day, that's our goal. Certainly, we don't have lights here. So, there's a time equation."

Klima said races could be pushed back to as late as Tuesday depending on the weather.

Right now, everything is scheduled to go off as planned with the big race slated to start at 2:30 on Sunday afternoon. 

According to the track's website, in the event of a delay or postponed race, tickets will be honored on the rescheduled race day. There aren't refunds.

Dover International Speedway deal with a similar situation in 2003 with remnants of Hurricane Isabel on a Thursday and Friday of a race weekend.

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