Mar. 4, 2012; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series fans watch the race from the mountainside in turn four during the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

NASCAR Race Weekend Forecast


Just two weekends left in the 2012 NASCAR season, and both are packed with lots of track activity as all three series will be in action.  This week, it’s Phoenix International Raceway hosting the Camping World Truck Series, Nationwide Series, and Sprint Cup Series in Avondale, Arizona.  So lets find out if the desert will live up to its name this weekend…

Well, the answer is- mostly.  A huge upper level low pressure system is barreling into northern California Thursday evening, and will swing through the desert southwest Friday and Saturday.  The good news is it looks like showers will be very hit and miss, but the greatest chance for rain will be Friday (I’ll say around 20% for those of you who like numbers).  The Camping World Truck Series Lucas Oil 150 is set for a 6:00pm local time start (8pm ET), which is good because I think the best chance for any showers may be during the afternoon hours, decreasing a bit as the sun goes down.  Expect mostly cloudy skies with that slight chance of a shower, and green flag temperatures in the upper 60s dropping to around 60 by the end of the race. It will be pretty breezy too… west winds around 15-20 mph, gusting to around 30 mph at times.  For you campers, rain chances diminish overnight and temperatures will bottom out in the low 50s Saturday morning.

On Saturday, its the Nationwide Series Great Clips 200, which will kick off at 2:16 pm local (4:16 ET). Again, we’ll have a slim chance of a shower for this one (even slimmer than Friday), with partly to mostly cloudy skies and continued breezy conditions (still out of the west).  Cooler air is going to start filtering into the area though, so temperatures for the green flag will only be in the low 60s… call it 62 degrees, which will also be the high temperature of the day.  With that wind it’ll feel cooler, so be sure to bring a jacket and/or dress in layers.  It’ll be around 6o degrees at the end of this race, too, provided there are no delays.

On Sunday, the storm system will be pushing east of the area, with high pressure building in behind it over the deserts.  Winds will die down, skies will clear and chances for rain will drop to zero. It will be much colder in the morning though, so if you are camping or just arriving at the track early, be prepared for temperatures in the low to mid 40s through around 8am local time, and 50s all the way through noon.  By race time at 1:15 pm local time (3:15 ET), we just might squeak up to 60 degrees.  We should then hover right around  59-61 through the end of the race.  With nothing but sunshine on Sunday, track conditions may be a little different than in practice, so we may see some teams struggle a bit with the setup, but air temperatures at least will be similar.

Overall, I don’t see any big issues from the weather this weekend, so enjoy the races, and be sure to check in next week for the last forecast of the season as NASCAR heads to south Florida for Ford Championship Weekend!

Tags: Camping World Truck Series NASCAR Nationwide Series Phoenix International Raceway Sprint Cup Series Weather