Monday, August 1, 2011

Sprint Cup testing set for Oct. 4 at newly configured Phoenix track


PHOENIX, Ariz. – Race fans eager to see the stars of NASCAR take on Phoenix International Raceway’s newly repaved and reconfigured 1-mile oval will have their first opportunity to do so during a Sprint Cup Series testing session at PIR on Tuesday, Oct. 4. Gates will open at 8 a.m. for this very special fan event and the public testing session will run until 5 p.m. A subsequent day of NASCAR testing on Oct. 5 will be open to media, but closed to the general public.

Phoenix International Raceway’s free fan event during the Oct. 4 test will offer general admission seating in the Bryan Grandstand and infield viewing for patrons to take in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage activities. In addition, Sprint Cup Series star Kyle Busch – driver of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota – will participate in a moderated fan Q&A session during the Oct. 4 event. Fans may submit their questions for Busch at Facebook.com/PhoenixRaceway.

PIR’s Fan Experience team will be in the grandstands throughout the day giving away gifts and prizes, while concession stands offering a variety of food and beverage will be open at various locations throughout the track.  Fans will also have the opportunity to take tram tours of the Raceway’s perimeter and the PIR Track Ticket Office will be open for fans to purchase tickets to the November 10-13 Kobalt Tools 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event weekend.

“We’re very excited for this opportunity to invite the community out to Phoenix International Raceway to watch the stars of NASCAR turn their very first laps on the new PIR,” said Bryan Sperber, Phoenix International Raceway president. “The October 4 testing session promises to give race fans a taste of all the excitement to come in November when Phoenix hosts the semi-final race in NASCAR’s playoffs.”

In February, Sperber announced details related to the 47-year old NASCAR facility’s first major track paving project since 1990. Construction began in March with the removal of the facility’s former racing surface and the subsequent installation of a new surface is in progress, with a series of changes designed to promote side-by-side racing. While maintaining the integrity of PIR’s oval – including the 1-mile distance – the slight configuration changes will produce a racier track with average speeds that are expected to increase two to three miles per hour. The project is slated to conclude in September and the October 4 testing session will be the first public event for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers at the new PIR.

The October testing session was put in place by NASCAR to allow all Sprint Cup Series teams an opportunity to practice and compile data on a racetrack that is undergoing the following changes:

- Widen the front stretch from 52 to 62 feet
- Reconfigure pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls
- Push the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet
- Tighten the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet
- Implement variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4

These same Sprint Cup Series teams and drivers will compete at PIR on Nov. 13 in the semi-final race of NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup – the Kobalt Tools 500. Tickets for the Kobalt Tools 500 on Nov. 13 are available now and start at just $25. For Phoenix International Raceway tickets and information, call 866-408-RACE (7223) or visit PhoenixRaceway.com.

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