Hello from NASCAR raceday at Watkins Glen International.
8:52 a.m. We arrive at the track after a grey, gloomy, drizzly, windshield-wiper-y drive up from Corning. All morning we'll be watching the Weather Channel to see if Mother Nature has any plans to disrupt today's 2 p.m. scheduled start of cars on the track.
9:49 a.m. While I've been doing a lot of Web-work, Larry Ott -- has he has done all weekend -- had been in and out of the garage tracking locals involved in today's race. He's already talked to Rodney Fetters of Niagara Falls, who is the jackman for Greg Biffle's crew. He's out talking to Ryan Gamble of Sanborn, who is the gas man for Biffle's team. With Glenn Waldron, a surface plate mechanic, also on the team, Larry's going to be hanging out with them for a lot of what is a crucial race for the No. 16 team (12th in points).
9:53 a.m. Great weather report from Larry. "It's not raining right now."
10:11 a.m. Not great weather report from James Johnson of the Rochester's Democrat & Chronicle. "Drizzling, off and on."
10:19 a.m. Just stepped outside the media center for my own weather report: I think we're going to go racing just fine today. Grey skies, but brightening.
10:20 a.m. Went to the bathroom and washed my hands alongside ... Boris Said, who will start ninth in today's race. That adds to my famous (or infamous) brushes with greatness (or not so much) in bathrooms at Watkins Glen International. A few years ago, when the bathrooms were in a trailer outside the rickety, cramped media center. I walked out and realized I had taken care of business next to then-Gov. Eliot Spitzer. Insert punchline here.
11:02 a.m. If you're Facebook friends with me, you can see video of my pace car ride yesterday. But I can't post it here due to NASCAR restrictions. Makes sense though that other media entities have the online rights.
11:06 a.m. Yikes. One of the greatest weekends ever for Buffalo sports fans ... and Patrick Kane gets arrested.
11:11 a.m. Off for the annual walk around the Glen infield.
11:54 a.m. A successful trip to the "mall." The Glen rearranged the merchandise trailers this year -- it was a longer walk, but the layout is much friendlier. It's less of a grid and more enjoyable to walk around. It's crowded but there seemed to be more space this year. I got a program, which comes with a small diecast -- I've got a diecast from each year they sold them when I've covered the race for The News.
1:01 p.m. You want bumping and banging? You want major traffic? Try getting lunch in the media center! Baddump-bump.
1:10 p.m. Stepped outside the media center on the second level that looks over victory lane and the skies were overcast but the sun was trying to power through. Things look good.
1:12 p.m. Then again, I just got an email from a race fan drooling for some race action. "It's raining and thunder-bumping big-time here in
Hamburg, perfectly lined up for a 2:30-ish arrival in Schuyler County.
There's no way they get this thing in, is there?" We shall see, race fans.
1:39 p.m. One radar Web site-scouring reporter to another just drawled: "It looks like it's gonna rain from 3 to about 4:15 -- but after that it should be fine."
1:58 p.m. Our live blog post is up and we'll be hanging out there for the race ... and hopefully not any rain delays.
2:16 p.m. Check that. No race yet. We've been delayed, and that's a good thing. I was just atop the media center and saw a few lightning bolts. The cars have been covered and drivers are hanging out in the garage area.
TV showed some menacing-looking radar screens. The jumbotrons here read: "Heavy Rain. Please Seek Shelter."
2:30 p.m. The media center is getting crowded, and noisy, as photographers and cameramen come in from the storm.
2:39 p.m. Rain is coming down and puddling on pit road. Thunder audible here in media center.
2:55 p.m. You can bet that NASCAR will wait as long as they can to get the race in, particularly when you think about last week's race at Pocono being rained out.
Two consecutive races being moved back a day would be bad news in terms of TV ratings, attention for the series and the sponsors and logistics for all the teams (the next stop is next weekend Michigan).
If you work backwards from 8-8:15 p.m. as your daylight expiration time, and you guesstimate two hours for a official race (halfway through would be 45 laps), the race could conceivably start close to 6 p.m.
3:20 p.m. My sunny disposition is taking a hit, because I'm now having doubts about whether we'll get this race in. The radar says a system will pass through here, but my Facebook is gettng hit with status updates of Buffalonians complaining about the rain. Hmm. It's still dark grey skies and drizzling here, with blow-drying trucks making their way around the track.
3:32 p.m. More gloomy evidence: the weather.com page for Watkins Glen states there is a severe thunderstorm watch on until 7 p.m. Yikes. The hour-by-hour forecast calls for 65 percent chance of rain at 5 p.m. and sunny skies at 6 p.m., which one would think would be the latest the race could be started.
3:39 p.m. NASCAR's race page stated at 3:19 p.m. "The rain is now a drizzle as the storm looks to have moved past the track. Drying efforts continue as it will take a couple hours to get the track race-ready." We're going to be cutting it close if we go racing today.
3:43 p.m. It's pretty wild -- on television it doesn't nearly look as dark as it is here. A few shots of pit road were just on ESPN, while here just a glance out the window shows it a lot darker. I noticed that earlier this year while attending the U.S. Open golf tournament at Bethpage -- I was on the course as groups played up until the horn sounded to suspend play. Later when I watched the same action on television highlights, it looked much brighter than it actually was when I was in person.
3:48 p.m. Some scuttlebutt from the garage, where Larry Ott just returned from -- a theory that if NASCAR got at least one lap in, then it would be on better footing as far as trying to get the entire race in. If it waits until later to start a race that obviously won't go the full 90-lap distance, that won't likely sit well with fans who paid to see a whole race. Then again, if I'm a fan, I probably have to go back to work tomorrow and would probably settle for a 50-lap fun. But that's just me.
In any case, Ott says it is raining right now. If NASCAR as looking to fit this entire race in, that window (guesstimate at least three hours) would appear to be closing quite quickly.
4:03 p.m. A full-time national Cup newspaper reporter is on the phone with what sounds like an editor. "We're done ... I'll file a story from my hotel." That doesn't sound good :-) No announcement has been made on television or to the media center.
4:06 p.m. The jumbotrons have it: "Heluva Good! at the Glen has been rescheduled to 12:00 pm tomorrow."
4:22 p.m. Just ran out to the garage to get some quotes from Andy Lally. I'm all wet but happy I got an angle and some good quotes for a halfway decent rainout story. Gotta update a lot of stuff on here.
4:59 p.m. Updated and reworked a story for buffalonews.com.