CONCORD, N.C. — Joey Logano takes the Checkered Flag at the Nascar Sprint All-Star race Saturday night.
Fans from all 50 states, 25 foreign countries, representing 4100 cities worldwide are in the Charlotte region for the next ten days of thunder.
"Truly this is the most international spotlight that Charlotte hosts on a regular basis," says Scott Cooper, of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The massive NASCAR event often brings fans for several days at a time year after year.
"When people come in for a NASCAR race event the typical stay is two to three days plus we've even had some people in our campground that have already been here for more than two weeks," said Cooper.
And that means major money for the Charlotte area.
Officials estimate the 10 days of events at the Charlotte Motor Speedway support about 4200 jobs this month, and bring in more than $230 million to the Charlotte region.
Rain dampens race day
Charlotte Motor Speedway officials say they need about 2 rain-free hours to dry the track, and that break never came Friday night, forcing officials to either cancel or postpone all of the day's racing events.
Friday's main races- the Sprint Showdown and the North Carolina Education Lottery 200 have been pushed to early Saturday.
But fans say what matters most is the Sprint All Star Race.
"Saturday night race is what we all come for," Van Sinclari told Channel 9.
Officials tell me the new plan won't impact the weekend's big event. But if the rain continues, they're prepared to adjust again.
"Mother nature got us today but that's not going to back us down, keep us from having fun tomorrow," said Jonathan Coleman of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
He told us they have double the required amount of drying equipment if need be, and contingency plans in place.
Fans turnout despite rainy forecast
Despite the gray skies, fans said they're hopeful to make it through Saturday's events at Charlotte Motor Speedway without any cancelations.
The steady showers forced NASCAR to call off the scheduled Sprint Showdown Friday, a race that will send five drivers not already qualified for the All-Star race, into the main event. The Truck Series race also was postponed.
Both events were rescheduled for early Saturday, with the $1 million All-Star Race still scheduled to go off in the evening. NASCAR set the showdown field by points.
The lack of track time Friday could be problematic for many race teams. NASCAR only announced the format for the All-Star race on May 6, and the rules were not given to teams until earlier this week.
The Sprint Showdown is divided into three segments, and the winner of each segment will advance into the All-Star race. An additional two drivers will get into the All-Star race on a fan vote.
The All-Star race already has 15 drivers in the field. All drivers who won a race last year are eligible, as well as past All-Star race winners Tony Stewart, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman and Kasey Kahne.
The All-Star race will be 113 laps divided into three segments. The first 50-lap segment will require drivers to make a minimum two-tire pit stop under green. The drivers then will be required to do a minimum two-tire pit stop during the first break and start the second segment the way they come off pit road.
The second segment will also be 50 laps and also require a minimum two-tire pit stop under green before the 35th lap of the segment. There will then be a draw to determine whether the first nine, 10 or 11 cars will have to do a four-tire pit stop during the break while the remaining cars will not be allowed to pit.
The cars that pit will line up behind the drivers who weren't allowed to pit.
The final 13-lap segment will count only green-flag laps as drivers with fresh tires try to gain the lead from the drivers on old tires.
"It's going to be very interesting to see how it all plays out," said Denny Hamlin. "As a driver, there's going to be a lot of strategy played with crew chiefs and drivers."
NASCAR this week updated the rules package to reduce downforce and side force for the All-Star race. The idea is to reduce the speed in the corners in an effort to promote more passing. Drivers like less downforce because it puts the control of the car in their hands and allows the talent to rise.
If you are heading to the track this weekend, you can download our free WSOC-TV Weather app to stay on top of the latest weather conditions.
For those who want to avoid traffic, CATS buses will leave every 20 minutes from the Charlotte Transportation Center to the Speedway. A roundtrip fare is $8.80.