Vicious Thunderstorm Rocks NASCAR Saturday at North Wilkesboro

nascar craftsman truck series wright brand 250
Vicious Thunderstorm Rocks NASCAR North WilkesboroJames Gilbert - Getty Images

A vicious thunderstorm slammed into North Wilkesboro Speedway Saturday afternoon during the Wright Brand 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race, flooding pit road and various sections of the garage, turning grassy parking areas into quagmires and knocking out electrical power at the facility.

The Truck Series race had completed 81 of the scheduled 169 laps when the race was stopped for lightning. NASCAR’s lightning rule states that if a bolt of lightning strikes within an eight-mile radius of the track everything must stop, including a race, for 30 minutes. If another lightning strike occurs during that time frame, the clock is reset to 30 minutes. Numerous times after the first lightning strike and then subsequent ones, fans were told to clear the grandstands and go to their cars.

When the severe thunderstorm finally hit the track several trucks competing in the race as well as at least one NASCAR mobile office were flooded, and tires floated down pit road. The three-quarter-mile track’s frontstretch goes downhill while its backstretch goes uphill. At least one crewman was reported swimming on pit road. An electrical power and WiFi outage in the infield media center forced track officials to call their Charlotte offices to get information about the event posted on their respective websites.


In one of the parking areas, several portable restrooms had blown on top of each other while others in the row were flooded.

Ilmor Engines representatives will inspect all of the truck engines for possible damage before the race resumes at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. The Warren Zeiders Concert is still scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday with Trackside Live at 3:45 p.m.

Sunday’s NASCAR All-Star Open is set for 5:30 p.m. and the NASCAR All-Star race for 8 p.m.