Palm Beach International Raceway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Palm Beach International Raceway
PBIR logo.jpg
LocationPalm Beach County, near Jupiter, Florida
Time zoneUTC-04
Capacity6,000
OwnerIRG S+E
Broke ground1964
Opened1965
Construction cost$1.5 Million
ArchitectMartyn Thake, Others
Former namesMoroso Motorsports Park
Road Course
SurfaceAsphalt
Length3.27 km (2.043 mi)
Turns11
Race lap record1:12.783 (Spencer Pigot, Cape Motorsports, 2012, U.S. F2000 Winterfest)
Kart
SurfaceAsphalt
Length1.29 km (.8 mi)
Turns11
Drag Strip
SurfaceConcrete
Length.402 km (.25 mi)

Palm Beach International Raceway (formerly Moroso Motorsports Park) is a motorsports facility located west of Jupiter, Florida. The state-of-the-art facility boasts a quarter-mile drag strip, a 2-mile road course, 7/10-mile kart track as well as mud racing tracks. The road course at Palm Beach International Raceway is a 2-mile, 10-turn circuit. The track was constructed of hot-mix asphalt and set on an aggregate base. It is 40-feet wide with a 1/3-mile section measuring 80-feet.

The Palm Beach International Raceway Drag Strip is a quarter-mile, all-concrete racing surface. One of six tracks in the U.S. built completely from concrete, it is more stable, level and consistent than asphalt. The track is sanctioned by the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and is technologically advanced including LED Scoreboards with 48-inch digits reading to 1/1000thof a second, COMPULINK Timing and Scoring system and a BittermanScale with a 30-foot deck.

PBIR is also home to the Palm Beach Driving Club, a community of motorsports enthusiasts from novices to IMSA race car drivers and everything in between. Palm Beach Driving Club meets every Wednesday evening, weather permitting, with registration starting at 5 pm. The track goes hot at 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm and then again from 7:30 pm to 10:00 pm with different race session. Race Sessions include Novice, Street Car and Advanced Street Car/Race Car. We serve a gourmet dinner from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm and from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm the track goes cold. At 7:30 pm the track is hot until 10 pm. On two Wednesdays a month, Palm Beach Driving Club opens at 3 pm catering to open wheel, vintage racers and street cars. We also offer weekend dates throughout the year. Palm Beach Driving Club also participates in many off-site racing events, car shows and social events that members can take advantage of through Palm Beach Driving Club.

With capabilities to host more than 1,000 events per year, Palm Beach International Raceway’s exceptional track designs accommodate high-level national events to automotive manufacturers, professional and club-level racing series, along with a variety of other events such as concerts, corporate hospitality for motor racing events, product launches and much more.

History[edit]

Early days[edit]

The facility opened in 1964, costing a reported $1.5 million to build. The track was originally named "Palm Beach International Raceway" and was owned by local contractor Joe Bucheck Jr. and his brother Edward. In March 1965 the inaugural race was held at the track. Some 10,000 spectators attended the event, which was a series of sports car events.

Racing promoter Alec Ullman was set to move the 12 Hour Race in Sebring from Sebring International Raceway for the 1967 season to the facility after deaths in the 1966 race. Those plans eventually fell through due to the $1.5 million it would cost to expand the site. In November 1969 a controversial rock concert was held at the facility after months of legal battles. During the rock festival artists such as Janis Joplin, The Rolling Stones, Sly & The Family Stone and Jefferson Airplane performed. Since then, several artists including Eric Clapton have performed there. Another concert featuring Led Zeppelin, Bachman–Turner Overdrive and J. Geils Band was in the works in 1975 but organizers cancelled it when they decided the facility couldn't handle the estimated 50,000 fans that were expected to attend.

In April 1971 the Grand American Series of Professional Drag Racing had one of the first major drag racing events held at the track. The facility hosted an air show November 7, 1971. The Air Force Thunderbirds were scheduled to perform but had to cancel due to flooding on the track. In 1979 famous sports car and Indy 500 racer Lyn St. James made her professional debut at the facility, which ended in a major accident in which her car crashed into the swamps and sank in the mud.

Moroso era[edit]

Moroso Motorsports Park in 2003

In 1981, Dick Moroso,[1] founder of Moroso Racing Parts, purchased the track and renamed it "Moroso Motorsports Park". In 1982, Moroso spent $100,000 to upgrade the facility to host the opening event of the 1983 SCCA Trans Am Series.[2] The facility was scheduled to host a circus in 1987, but it was cancelled after promoters found out about a poor safety record.[citation needed]

The facility hosted several SCCA national and regional events. The track was also host to several IHRA and NHRA special events and the "Super Chevy Show", which drew more than 100,000 spectators over the three-day event for several years. The event was later replaced with the "All Chevy Show" which generally occurs in March. In 1996, Moroso considered spending $2 million on a one-mile oval track for stock car racing, but those plans fell through. In 1998, Moroso died from brain cancer and his family inherited ownership of the track. In 2002, MTV filmed a drag racing documentary at the track.[3][4] The Speed Channel show Pinks visited the facility in 2007 to film an episode.

The raceway featured quite prominently in Top Gear's 2007 USA Special. Jeremy Clarkson, James May, Richard Hammond, and The Stig's American cousin all raced cars at the speedway, that the former three had purchased in Miami earlier. This was its most notable appearance on television, and one of the most recent appearances.

Modernization[edit]

In 2008, a group of local motorsports enthusiasts purchased Moroso Motorsports Park. The new owners closed the track, remodeled it into a state-of-the-art motorsports facility and changed the track's name back to "Palm Beach International Raceway." The old facility was completely altered, adding a new road course similar to the original but with some minor modifications. Low-glare lighting was added to the track along with brand new safety barriers and an amount of other upgrades. The track hosted an ARCA Remax Series event and several drag racing events. The facility again hosted to the show "Pinks All Out" on March 6, 2010.[5] The facility also host a wide variety of motorsports events, including "Mud Bog"—an event for ATV and offroad enthusiasts—the Palm Beach Driving Club (PBDC),[6] Hooked on Driving (HOD),[7] Bertil Roos Racing School,[8] Florida Track Days (FTD),[9] Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association (FMRRA),[10] and the Ferrari Cavallino Classic.[11]

The facility is popular with teams from all forms of racing for testing. Several IndyCar Series teams use the track for winter testing, as do several sports car teams from the Rolex Sports Car Series including locally based Orbit Racing, as well as Riviera Beach-based Extreme Speed Motorsports.[12] Once the track gets its FIA Grade 2 certification it will be eligible to host a wide variety of motorsports events including IndyCar Series, Indy Lights, Grand Am and other major forms of racing.

Facility[edit]

Map of the facility

Road course[edit]

The road course's length is 2.043 miles and was designed by Martyn Thake with help from several other in-house designers.[13] It is paved with 5-inch-deep (130 mm) asphalt on an aggregate base. It features a 90-foot-wide (27 m) section on the back straight for adding a chicane in the future. The course is currently awaiting a FIA Class II certification.[14]

Drag strip[edit]

The drag strip is an IHRA-sanctioned 1,000-1,320-foot concrete course[15] built to NHRA specifications, as well.

Kart course[edit]

The go-kart track is a 0.8-mile track with three straight and 26-foot-wide (7.9 m) corners. The course is considered a World Karting Association Master Track.[16]

Race winners[edit]

Road course[edit]


Trans-Am Series

Year Date Driver Car Make Distance
(miles)
Average Speed
(mph)
Team Ref
1983 May 1 Gene Felton Pontiac Trans Am 101.25 85.309 Oftedahl Racing [17]


ARCA Remax Series

Year Date Driver Car Make Distance
(miles)
Average Speed
(mph)
Team Ref
2010 February 27 Justin Marks Dodge 150 73.037 Win-Tron Racing [18]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • On May 26, 2009, a 9-year-old boy was seriously burned when his go-kart overturned and caught fire. He was rushed to Jackson Memorial Burn Center in Miami in critical condition.[19] The boy's family filed suit against the Palm Beach International Raceway, the track's investors, go-kart maker Carter Brothers, and go-kart engine manufacturer Briggs & Stratton for personal injury, after the accident caused the 9-year-old to lose all ten of his fingers.[20]
  • In January 2010, 18-year-old Casey Bicknell crashed his Chevrolet Corvette on the Quarter Mile Drag Strip while travelling over 109 mph. He sustained a traumatic brain injury in the incident and was not expected to survive but is currently in an assisted living facility.[21]

Fatalities[edit]

Year Name Location
1967 Theodore Detar Road Course[22]
1976 Randolph Thomas Road Course[23]
1983 Oliver Chandon de Brailles[24] Road Course[25]
1987 Paul Gant Drag Strip[26]
1989 Jack L. Roberts Drag Strip[27]
1989 Leon Backus Drag Strip[28]
1992 Graig Hinton Road Course[29]
1992 Dana Kyle Road Course[30]
1998 John Davis Road Course[31]
1998 Phil Kane Road Course[31]
1999 Mario Robinson Road Course[32]
2001 Greg Russakis Drag Strip[33]
2007 Chris Could Drag Strip[34]
2007 Gary Cole Road Course[35]
2009 Isidro Castillo Road Course[36]
2010 Jerry Baxter Drag Strip[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ "Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press". Nl.newsbank.com. May 20, 2002. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  4. ^ "Sarasota Herald-Tribune - Google News Archive Search". google.com. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  5. ^ "PINKS All Out at PBIR a success". Racepbir.com. March 9, 2010. Archived from the original on July 13, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  6. ^ "Palm Beach Driving Club | Palm Beach Driving Club". racepbdc.com. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  7. ^ "High Performance Driving Schools, Lessons, Driving Experience, HPDE, Professional Driving School". www.hookedondriving.com. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  8. ^ "Bertil Roos Racing School – America's Largest Racing and Driving School – Teaching drivers to win since 1975". racenow.com. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  9. ^ "Florida Track Days".
  10. ^ "Home - FMRRA / Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association". FMRRA / Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  11. ^ "Palm Beach Cavallino Classic". Palm Beach Cavallino Classic. Retrieved 2018-06-14.
  12. ^ "Kyle Petty Seen Testing at PBIR". Racepbir.com. November 24, 2008. Archived from the original on December 9, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  13. ^ "Local Automotive and Racing Enthusiasts Purchase Legendary Moroso Motorsports Park â"¢". Racepbir.com. August 29, 2008. Archived from the original on July 15, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  14. ^ "Palm Beach International Raceway's Road Course". Racepbir.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  15. ^ "Palm Beach International Raceway's Drag Strip". Racepbir.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  16. ^ "Palm Beach International Raceway's Karting". Racepbir.com. Archived from the original on November 19, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  17. ^ "Trans-Am Moroso 1983". RacingSportsCars.com. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  18. ^ "Schedule". ARCAracing.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  19. ^ Marra, Andrew (May 26, 2009). "Local News: West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Martin & St. Lucie Counties". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  20. ^ Trop, Paige (October 7, 2009). "Pompano Beach Family File Palm Beach Injury Lawsuit After 9-Year-Old Loses 10 Fingers and Sustains Burn Injuries During Go-Kart Accident". Florida Injury Attorney Blog. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  21. ^ "Casey Bicknell Incident". Palmbeachpost.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  22. ^ [3][dead link]
  23. ^ [4][dead link]
  24. ^ [5]
  25. ^ [6]
  26. ^ [7]
  27. ^ Brogan, Joe (January 31, 1989). "Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  28. ^ Baran, Jim (September 18, 1989). "Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  29. ^ "Buying a Vintage Corvette Race Car: Interior". reocities. May 1992. Retrieved October 3, 2011."Speed's ultimate price: the Toll..." Autosports Bulletin Board. Oct 30, 2002. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  30. ^ McKenney, Mitch; Haggerty, Gillian (July 13, 1992). "Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  31. ^ a b "Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press". Nl.newsbank.com. August 24, 1998. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  32. ^ Brown, Doug (March 22, 1999). "MIAMI MAN, 24, KILLED IN RACE CYCLIST CRASHES INTO A WALL AT MOROSO MOTORSPORTS PARK". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  33. ^ "Race Car Driver Killed In Accident". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. February 9, 2001. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  34. ^ "Cache of 'barn-fresh' bikes, parts to be sold at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Auction". Amadirectlink.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  35. ^ Davis, Lester J. (January 28, 2007). "Palm Beach Post - News from The Associated Press". Nl.newsbank.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.
  36. ^ "Man in motorcycle accident at the Palm Beach International Raceway dies". Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  37. ^ "2010-14 - Drag Strip Deaths". Archived from the original on May 4, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°55′19.54″N 80°18′20.06″W / 26.9220944°N 80.3055722°W / 26.9220944; -80.3055722