Weatherman For Hire


I find it interesting to see how often drivers are able to "steal" a victory of sorts by gambling on the weather. Oftentimes it's the teams that can afford to actually take the chance (e.g., those that have little to lose) that actually go through with it, but it's not unusual to see a team successfully pull it off once or twice a season.

With the modern advances in both weather and computer technology a team is capable of making much better judgments about the changing weather conditions than, say, 10-15 years ago.

Weather radar can now be brought down to street-level precision -- more than enough to identify a race track on the map. Precipitation is displayed real-time with both direction and speed, allowing for one to determine whether the shower is going to affect the track and if so, exactly when it should arrive. Furthermore, rainfall rates and duration can be analyzed to determine if the shower is going to just wet down the track, or be enough to wash out the remainder of the race.

Now I'm not necessarily suggesting that each team go out and hire a certified meteorologist (though I wouldn't be surprised if teams had them already, perhaps to predict the weekend's forecast to help the crew chief with the car's setup), but in these large teams that have 50, 100, or 200+ employees, you'd have to believe that they would have 1 or 2 that are weather enthusiasts that are sufficiently equipped to find and interpret weather data.

If rain is forecast for race day... wouldn't you want such a person in your pit area?

John Calla is a professional meteorologist. He has over 15 years experience watching The Weather Channel and 25 years experience shoveling snow. He also took an introductory level meteorology class in college. Mr. Calla will work for food.

Categories : NASCAR, Opinion



Mr. Calla
If you will wash and wax my big car, maybe I can arrange a hot dog or two. Let me know.



I generally try to steer clear of washing up “antique” cars. But I won’t lie — a hot dog is hard to turn down.


Actually, many of the larger teams (not to mention many outdoor pro sports teams) hire a weather consulting company to monitor the weather conditions instead of hiring someone outright. Sometimes they are on-site, sometimes they simply work remotely and call as conditions warrant.


That’s really cool, Ed. I’ll bet when a met makes a call that wins a race they’re a hero for a week. It’s really great that teams are using the resources available to them in this area.

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