Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Fast Track Facts: Phoenix Raceway

credit: NASCAR Media
Phoenix Raceway will host the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series this weekend, the fourth weekend of the 2017 season. Learn more about the track in this week’s Fast Facts.
  • Phoenix International Raceway was built and opened in 1964. The track originally included a 2.5-mile road course, which became a 1.51-mile track in 1991, and a one-mile oval.  Sports car driver Davey MacDonald won the first event at PIR on the road course on Feb. 16, 1964; five weeks later on March 22, A.J. Foyt won a 100-mile USAC event at PIR, the first oval-track race at the track.
  • The first “Copper World Classic” was contested in Feb. 1977. The Classic was a special event for USAC Midget and Silver Crown cars, featuring two road course races and two oval-track races.
  • In July 1987, NASCAR announces the first Cup Series race at the track, taking place in Nov. 1988. That race, the Checker 500, was won by Alan Kulwicki, his first career Cup Series win; he celebrated by making the first “Polish victory lap” around the oval.
  • On Feb. 5, 1995, the NASCAR SuperTruck Series (now the Camping World Truck Series) made its national debut at PIR – Mike Skinner won the Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic. The series’ final race of the regular season, the GM Goodwrench/Delco Battery 200 was also held at PIR, with Skinner visiting victory lane again in October.
  • The first NASCAR Busch (now Xfinity) Series race was held at PIR in Nov. 1999, with former Copper World Classic winner Jeff Gordon going to victory lane.
  • In 2004, it was announced that the Cup Series would get a second weekend at PIR beginning in 2005. During the winter of 2004-05, lights were installed at PIR. The first night race was the first spring race in April 2005, won by Kurt Busch.
  • In Jan. 2017, track officials and ownership group International Speedway Corp. announced the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar, a $178 million renovation set to be completed in Nov. 2018; this also signaled a name change to Phoenix Raceway. Among the updates scheduled: upgraded club seating, 32 renovated suites, 19 new suites, a new souvenir area, multiple new restrooms, a new Fanzone and Midway, and technology upgrades including Wi-Fi in the Midway, infield and seats.
  • Jimmie Johnson holds the Cup Series track qualifying record at Phoenix – 146.308 mph (25.147 seconds). Ryan Newman has the most poles at the track (four), while Kevin Harvick has the most wins (eight).
  • In addition to the all three of NASCAR’s top-tier series, Phoenix also hosts the Verizon IndyCar Series and USAC’s Silver Crown and National Quarter Midget Series annually. In the past, it has hosted the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, NASCAR’s Mexico Series and the Indy Lights Series.
  • Find out more about Phoenix Raceway at www.phoenixraceway.com


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