Phoenix International Raceway


Phoenix International Raceway

Motorsport venue
Name = Phoenix International Raceway |

Image_caption= Phoenix International Raceway Logo
Location = Avondale, Arizona
Events = NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
NASCAR Nationwide Series
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series
Capacity = 76,800
Address = 7602 S. Avondale Blvd., Avondale, AZ 85323
Owner = International Speedway Corporation
Miles_first = True
Layout1 = "D"-shaped Tri-Oval
Surface = Asphalt
Length_mi = 1
Length_km = 1.6
Turns = 4
Banking = Turns 1 and 2 - 11°
Turns 3 and 4 - 9°
Backstretch - 9°
Frontstretch - 3°

Layout2 = Road Course
Surface2 = Asphalt
Length_mi2 = 1.51
Length_km2 = 2.43
Turns2 = 13
Banking2 =
Record_time2 =
Record_driver2 =
Record_team2 =
Record_year2 =
Record_class2 =

Phoenix International Raceway, or just PIR, is a one mile tri-oval race track located in Avondale, Arizona. It opened in 1964, as the new home of major open-wheel racing in the Phoenix area, replacing the track at the Arizona State Fairgrounds as an automobile racing venue.

History

Due to a change in focus by the track's current owners, ISC, the Phoenix area's long history of hosting Indy-style racing (only Indianapolis itself and Milwaukee have had more) came to an abrupt end in 2005, when PIR failed to host an Indy Racing League event for the first time. Ironically, stock car racing's top series, NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series, didn't even run at PIR until 1988. Their inaugural race was won by the late Alan Kulwicki, who debuted his Polish Victory Lap here after taking the checkered flag.

PIR has a unique tri-oval shape, with a curve in middle of its backstretch between turns two and three, commonly referred to as "the dogleg". This exists because the original builders were constrained by both the rocky hills located on the property and their incorporation of an external road course and dragstrip into PIR's design. Once nearby Firebird International Raceway became a regular stop on drag racing tours, PIR's dragstrip was rarely used. The external road course, which was used mainly for private testing and as parking lot access roads during oval events, was later replaced by the current infield road circuit. Prior to construction of a tunnel under turn four in 2002-03, the only access to the PIR's infield during events was via crossovers, where the old external road course and dragstrip intersected the oval. Once the tunnel was built, the crossovers were permanently sealed off.

The other notable feature of PIR is the presence of the "Hillside", a fan-favorite viewing area located on "Monument Hill" just outside of turn four. At the top of this hill lies a USGS bench marker known as Gila and Salt River Meridian that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Long before PIR existed, this spot was the original land survey point for all of what later became the state of Arizona. The original surveyors chose this location to begin their work because it is the nearest high ground from the confluence of the Salt River and the Gila River, and offered a great view after only a gentle climb. . In PIR's earlier years, residents of this neighboring Native American community were rumored to have sometimes sold concessions through the fence to hungry race fans unwilling to walk back down to the track's food and beverage stands.

Until 2005, PIR's oval annually hosted at least one major Indy-style racing event, dating back to its initial construction. It is still used year-round by various Indy Racing League teams for private testing as well as for the filming of television commercials featuring that series' cars.

The infield road course, originally built for IMSA was most recently used by the Grand American Road Racing Association.

The oval also remains home to what was traditionally called the Copper World Classic, a weekend of predominantly open-wheel competition with USAC midget and Silver Crown cars as well as modifieds. From 2002-04, the event was incorporated into early-spring the Indy Car Series / Indy Pro Series weekend, but with the departure of IRL, the Copper World event has returned to its original late-winter date on PIR's racing schedule.

In 2005, the track hosted a second NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race event, replacing the spring race formerly held at Darlington Raceway, in South Carolina. The track currently hosts the annual Subway Fresh Fit 500, considered one of NASCAR's top annual races. [ [http://www.maximonline.com/articles/index.aspx?a_id=7455&src=maxim_ed NASCAR's Best Races] ]

In a recent poll conducted by Sports Illustrated, 12 percent of NASCAR drivers voted PIR as their favorite track. That was enough for a second place tie with Atlanta Motor Speedway. [cite news |first= |last= |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=PIR a front-runner among drivers |url=http://www.azcentral.com/community/swvalley/articles/0710pir0710.html |work= |publisher=The Arizona Republic |date=2007-07-10 |accessdate=2007-07-13 ] David Reutimann said he "loves that place. It's just a weird-shaped racetrack, and I grew up racing on stuff that was odd-shaped. I think I like it because it's not the normal track. It's flat and fast."

Scenes from the movie "Taxi" were filmed at the track.

Previous Events

* USAC - Phoenix 150
* Indy Lights - Phoenix 75
* CART - Slick-50 200
* IRL - XM Satellite Radio Indy 200
* Rolex Sports Car Series - The GAINSCO Grand Prix

Current Events

* NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Subway Fresh Fit 500
* NASCAR Sprint Cup Series - Checker Auto Parts 500
* NASCAR Nationwide Series - Bashas' Supermarkets 200
* NASCAR Nationwide Series - Arizona.Travel 200
* NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series - Phoenix 150

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Records

(As of 104/13/08)
*Most Wins - (2) - Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Kevin Harvick, Davey Allison, Jimmie Johnson
*Most Top 5's - (9) - Mark Martin
*Most Top 10's - (15) - Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin
*Starts - (23) - Mark Martin
*Poles - (4) - Ryan Newman
*Laps Led - (868) - Rusty Wallace
*Avg Start (Minimum 5 starts) - (8.1) - Rusty Wallace
*Avg Finish (Minimum 5 starts) - (5.2) - Alan Kulwicki

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race Winners

*(*)Rain Shortened Event
*(**)Race Extended Due to Green-White-Checker Finish

Track Records

* NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying: Ryan Newman, 26.499 sec. (135.854 mph), 2004
* NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race: Tony Stewart, 2 hrs. 38 min. 28 sec. (118.132 mph), 1999
* NASCAR Nationwide Series Qualifying: Kyle Busch, 26.902 sec. (133.819 mph), 2004
* NASCAR Nationwide Series Race: Jeff Burton, 1 hr. 44 min. 13 sec. (115.145 mph), 2000
* NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Qualifying: Johnny Benson, 27.137 sec. (132.660 mph), 2006
* NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Race: Kevin Harvick, 1 hr. 24 min. 26 sec. (108.104 mph), 2002

References

External links

* [http://www.phoenixintlraceway.com Phoenix International Raceway Official Site]
* [http://www.nascar.com/races/tracks/pir/index.html Phoenix International Raceway Page] on [http://www.nascar.com NASCAR.com]
* [http://www.trackpedia.com/wiki/Phoenix_International_Raceway Trackpedia guide to driving this track]
*High Resolution image from [http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=33.374759,-112.311151&spn=0.005096,0.007918&t=k&hl=en Google Maps]
* [http://www.maximonline.com/articles/index.aspx?a_id=7455&src=maxim_ed NASCAR's Best Races]

ee also

List of NASCAR race tracks


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