The program aired during the winter months between November and January (during NASCAR's offseason). The program began during the 1994-1995 winter and ran through the 1998–1999 winter. The races were held at the 3/8 mile Tucson Raceway Park in Tucson, Arizona.
There were six to eight races per winter. The first season of Winter Heat featured the then brand new Craftsman Super Truck Series, the Winston West Series and the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour. In later years when ESPN covered the events, there generally were three late model races (called the Winston Triple Crown), and a race or two from the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Tour and Winston West Series. Ron Hornaday, Jr. won the first ever Southwest Winter Heat race while Garrett Evans won the second.