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NASCAR 2012 Weather Forecast At Auto Club Speedway: Timing Of Rain Will Determine Whether We Race Sunday

Small changes have been made to the weather forecast for Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Auto Club Speedway.

Over the last 36 hours, the tendency of most weather forecast models has been to slow the arrival of the Pacific storm and associated rain. As of Friday night, the models showed the rain arrival to be between 2 p.m. EDT (the earliest) and 5 p.m. EDT (the latest).

The race is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. EDT, which is noon local time.

You may be asking: Can NASCAR get all 400 miles in during that potential window? If they start the race a little earlier than 3 p.m. EDT and because the race is shorter at 400 miles (average time: 2 hours, 45 minutes), they could easily get past halfway and possibly complete the race if the rain were to hold off.

All of this is dependent on the rain arriving two-to-three hours after the start of the race.

Timing of precipitation can make or break a forecast. It's one of the biggest challenges forecasters and meteorologists face. It's even more challenging when you have four or five different sources giving you four or five different times.

It is going to rain on Sunday in Southern California – it's just a matter of when it arrives.

We have two scenarios:

1) In the best-case scenario, the rain arrives two-to-three hours after the start of the race and we get to see racing, with the race ending after halfway or possibly the full 400 miles. Current odds are 40-50 percent that will happen.

2) In the worst-case scenario, the rain arrives as the race is about to begin and the race is postponed or rescheduled until Monday. Current odds of that happening are 50-60 percent.

If the race were to be postponed to Monday, the forecast looks good around midday and the afternoon as the rain quickly exits during the morning.

Because of the difficult and ever-changing nature of this forecast , please follow me on Twitter @NASCAR_WXMAN and like me on Facebook for the latest weather updates through the week.

Conditions in Fontana, CA: Click here for Current Weather Conditions | Look at Doppler Radar | Mobile Friendly Site | Mobile Radar

12:30 p.m. EDT
Sprint Cup practice – Partly sunny – temp: 57
1:30 p.m. EDT
Nationwide qualifying – Partly sunny – temp: 60
3:50 p.m. EDT
Sprint Cup final practice – Mostly sunny– temp: 67
5:30 p.m. EDT
Nationwide race – Mostly sunny – temp: 68

3:00 p.m. EDT
Sprint Cup race – Cloudy with possible rain showers – temp: 58

12:00 p.m. EDT
Sprint Cup race (possible back-up time) – Mostly cloudy, chance of scattered rain – temp: 50