BOOGITY, BOOGITY, BOOGITY: How weather could impact NASCAR at Phoenix Raceway

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(Source: Phoenix International Raceway) (Source: Phoenix International Raceway)
AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

It’s officially November, Valley temperatures are under 90 degrees, and that means NASCAR mania will soon sweep through Arizona.

The Can-AM 500 will draw thousands to Phoenix Raceway in Avondale for the big chase on Sunday, Nov. 12. This will also be the final competitive visit to Phoenix for NASCAR great Dale Earnhardt Jr., who announced he will retire at the end of this season.

NASCAR is big business, and weather plays a big role in that business.

“We promote our blue sky!” said Greg Fresquez, Communications Manager at Phoenix Raceway.

For a race in the Valley of the Sun in the month of November, the odds are in NASCAR's favor. It's on the rare occasion when mother nature doesn’t cooperate.

[RELATED: Phoenix Raceway lifts veil on huge race track redevelopment]

Back in 2015, the Sprint Cup Race at Phoenix Raceway had a rain delay of nearly seven hours. This was only the second rain-delayed race at the track in its history of NASCAR competition. The other rain-delay happened in 1998.

Just like rain can cause havoc for most Valley drivers, it can be an even bigger problem for drivers that are in cars without any windshield wipers, no tread on their tires, and are hitting speeds of around 200 mph.

Conversely, sunny and hot weather also has an impact. Tires will actually slip on the track as the mercury rises. Some drivers will even have to use “cool suits” when the desert is in the midst of an unseasonable warm spell.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Weather blog]

“These suits pump chilled water through an ice chest and into a vest they wear. They will also have cool air pumped into their helmets,” said Fresquez.

On the flip-side, when the weather is cold, cars can burn more fuel, so horsepower increases.

“Several years ago, the cars would qualify individually, and the track temperature could change over the course of the session, giving the advantage to anyone who might have shade on the track and cooler temps,” said Fresquez.

According to data from the National Weather Service, the average high for Nov. 12 in Metro Phoenix is 77. The record high for that date is 93, set in 1999. While rain is not common, the average amount of rain for the date is .02”, with a record of 1.02” set in 1941.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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