Palm Beach International Raceway

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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 facility has 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).[citation needed]

PBIR is also home to the Palm Beach Driving Club.

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.

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 [16]


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 [17]

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 June 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "High Performance Driving Schools, Lessons, Driving Experience, HPDE, Professional Driving School". www.hookedondriving.com. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  8. ^ "Bertil Roos Racing School – America's Largest Racing and Driving School – Teaching drivers to win since 1975". racenow.com. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Florida Track Days".
  10. ^ "Home - FMRRA / Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association". FMRRA / Florida Motorcycle Road Racing Association. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Palm Beach Cavallino Classic". Palm Beach Cavallino Classic. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  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. ^ "Trans-Am Moroso 1983". RacingSportsCars.com. Retrieved December 27, 2016.
  17. ^ "Schedule". ARCAracing.com. Retrieved September 1, 2010.

External links[edit]

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