NASCAR Race And Cardinals Game Means Heavy West Side Traffic

By Steve Shadley
Published: Friday, November 7, 2014 - 5:28pm
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(Steve Shadley/ KJZZ News)
The backside of the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale.
(Steve Shadley/ KJZZ News)
A sign welcomes NASCAR fans to Avondale. The Phoenix International Raceway brings a lot of business to Avondale but it creates a lot of traffic too.
(Steve Shadley/ KJZZ News)
The desert is crowded with RV's and campers for race fans outside of the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale.

The west Valley is bracing for heavier-than-usual traffic this weekend. Thousands of NASCAR and football fans are expected to clog local freeways, but people who live in the area are prepared to stay home and off the road.

The race cars barrel around the track at Phoenix International Raceway. The noise is pretty deafening, but that’s a welcome sound to NASCAR fans who have gathered in Avondale this week. Some vendors have set up temporary shops beside the entrance to the track in hopes of making a quick buck selling NASCAR tickets and souvenirs.

“Yeah, it’s been steady,” Steve McCaig said. He lives in Scottsdale and he’s sitting in a cotton field at a shady spot under a plastic tarp where he’s selling his NASCAR stuff. McCaig said the races at PIR attract people to Avondale from across the country and that’s great for business.

“One major factor is the weather," McCaig said. "Sitting in the sun, racing and it brings everybody out."

Not far away from McCaig’s roadside stand, Juliana Santos is feeding a pair of goats in front of her house on Avondale Boulevard. She moved the U.S. from the Philippines 20 years ago and said the heavy traffic around the race track is really annoying.

“The traffic, very long, the traffic is very long,” Santos said.

About a block away from Santos’ home, Reynaldo Nava is holding a garage sale on his driveway. He’s not a big racing fan, but he takes the chaos in stride.

“Because I’m retired, I can choose the hours that I got out," he said.

Nava said, to him, it is not too much of a hassle to take his car on the busy road.

"Compared to California that’s not bad," he said, laughing. "If you go over there to Los Angeles where we lived right here what they call congestion its everyday over there.'

Down the road, Tim Caserta stands outside of his feed store in Avondale. He’s happy the race track brings tax revenues to the city, but he knows what’s ahead.

“There’s going to be a complete cluster of traffic getting out of here, there’s no question," Caserta said. "No matter which direction you are going its going to be very very bad, complete disaster.”

He's telling his customers to avoid Interstate 10 or the Loop 101 where traffic from the race track and the NFL game will converge on Sunday.

“The Cardinals game is at 2:30," he said. "NASCAR with no wrecks will end at about 4:30, 4:45, with a couple of wrecks they are going to coincide right away.”

The Arizona Department of Transportation and Maricopa County traffic officials expect the heaviest glut of cars and trucks around five o’clock Sunday afternoon. 

They’re encouraging people to arrive early and allow for extra travel time before and after Sunday’s events. And of course, if possible, they say you should try to take an alternate route away from I-10 and the Loop 101.

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