With Daytona in our rear-view mirror now, NASCAR kicks of the short-track season with a trip to the desert and Phoenix International Raceway. For those wondering if the Valley of the Sun will live up to its name, here’s your weather forecast for all the racing action this weekend.
To be honest, this forecast is a bit of a waste of kilobytes and keystrokes! The desert isn’t always dry, but it will be for the next three days, and the weather looks perfect. The action gets started today as both the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series get on the track for practice. Temperatures will be in the 60s as the Camaros, Mustangs and Camrys take the track at 10am local time, but warm into the upper 70s by this afternoon under full sunshine.
Sprint Cup Series qualifying starts at 4:10, and temperatures will be around 78 degrees. I don’t think the air temperature will cool off more than 2-3 degrees before qualifying ends, but with the sun getting lower in the sky, it should allow track temps to fall, perhaps giving some advantage to drivers rolling off pit road later.
Tomorrow, temperatures will bottom out in the mid 50s early in the morning under clear skies. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice begins at 10am, followed by Nationwide Series qualifying at 11:05am. Temperatures will be warming from the mid 60s to around 70 during this time. Skies will remain sunny for the Dollar General 200, with a light east to northeast breeze and temperatures around 80 degrees for the drop of the green flag. Expect temperatures to rise another 2-3 degrees during the race, as we top out at 82 for the day.
Finally, on Sunday we will see an increase in clouds as a disturbance passes to the north around the Grand Canyon. Skies will be partly to at times mostly cloudy, but there is no threat of rain to worry about. The added clouds will keep morning lows slightly warmer, in the mid-upper 50s, but we will still be able to warm up to the upper 70s in time for the start of the Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 at just after 1pm local time. The weather shouldn’t be much of a factor for the race as temperatures will remain steady in the 78-80 degree range throughout, and winds will remain light out of the southwest.
We stay in the desert next weekend, just up the road in Las Vegas. Early indications are that we may have some wetter weather to track at least for the start of the race weekend, so be sure to check in with us again next week for updates on the forecast for the Kobalt Tools 400 race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.