Phoenix International Raceway

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Phoenix International Raceway
Phoenix International Raceway Logo.jpg
Phoenix International Raceway, November 2011.jpg
Phoenix International Raceway in November 2011
Location 7602 S Avondale Boulevard
Avondale, Arizona 85323
United States
Capacity 67,000
Owner International Speedway Corporation
Opened 1964
Major events NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
NASCAR Xfinity Series
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
"D"-shaped tri-oval
Surface Asphalt
Length 1 mi (1.6 km)
Turns 4
Banking Turns 1 and 2 – 10–12°
Turns 3 and 4 – 8–9°
Backstretch – 10–12°
Frontstretch – 3°
Lap record 183.559 mph (Arie Luyendyk, , 1996, IndyCar Series)
Road course
Surface Asphalt
Length 1.51 mi (2.43 km)
Turns 13

Phoenix International Raceway, also known as PIR, is a one-mile, low-banked tri-oval race track located in Avondale, Arizona. It is named after the nearby metropolitan area of Phoenix. The motorsport track opened in 1964 and currently hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually. PIR has also hosted the IndyCar Series, CART, USAC and the Rolex Sports Car Series. The raceway is currently owned and operated by International Speedway Corporation.

The raceway was originally constructed with a 2.5 miles (4.0 km) road course that ran both inside and outside of the main tri-oval. In 1991 the track was reconfigured with the current 1.51 miles (2.43 km) interior layout. PIR has an estimated grandstand seating capacity of around 67,000. Lights were installed around the track in 2004 following the addition of a second annual NASCAR race weekend.

Phoenix International Raceway is home to two annual NASCAR race weekends, one of 13 facilities on the NASCAR schedule to host more than one race weekend a year. The track is both the first and last stop in the western United States, as well as the second and second-to-last track on the schedule.[1]

History[edit]

Construction of Phoenix International Raceway was completed in 1964. The track is built around the Estrella Mountains outside of Avondale, AZ. Because of the terrain and the incorporation of a road course and drag strip, designers had to build a "dogleg" into the backstretch. The original roadcourse was 2 miles (3.2 km) in length and ran both inside and outside of the main oval track.[2] The hillsides adjacent to the track also offer a unique vantage point to watch races from. "Monument Hill", located alongside turns 3 and 4, is a favorite among race fans because of the unique view and lower ticket prices. At the top of this hill lies a USGS bench marker known as Gila and Salt River Meridian, 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.[3]

PIR in 1989

PIR was built with the goal of being the western home of open wheel racing. Sports cars and USAC began racing at the track in 1964, and the track quickly became a favorite of drivers and soon replaced the old track at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.[2] In 1977, the first Copper World Classic was held, a marque event for USAC midget and Silver Crown cars.[4]

NASCAR began racing at PIR in 1978, however, it wasn't until 1988 when NASCAR's premier series, now the Sprint Cup Series, began racing at the track. Following the announcement of NASCAR being added to the track schedule, PIR built a 3-story suite building outside of turn 1 and increased grandstand capacity to 30,000. A year prior, the track's main grandstand was struck by lightning and burned to the ground, reconstruction was finished in time for the first NASCAR cup race. That first race was won by Alan Kulwicki where in his celebration he performed the first "Polish Victory Lap".[4]

PIR infield in 2004

In 1991, the old 2.5 miles (4.0 km) road course was removed and replaced by a 1.51 miles (2.43 km) infield road course. On August 25, 1992 the Guns N' Roses/Metallica Stadium Tour came to the raceway. In 1996 the grandstand capacity was increased to 65,000. ISC officially took ownership of PIR from Emmett "Buddy" Jobe in April 1997. Racing at PIR began to dramatically change in 2003. The track reconstructed turn 2 by pushing back the outside wall to make racing safer. The wall originally came to an end where the old road course crossed the oval track. At the same time, an access tunnel was built under turn 4. Previously, vehicles had to use crossover gates and pedestrians used a crossover bridge. In 2004, NASCAR announced it would give a second annual race weekend to PIR starting with the 2005 season. Following the announcement, the track installed lights to allow the newly scheduled NASCAR race to be run in the evening. The addition of a second NASCAR racing weekend had dramatic effects on the economy of the state of Arizona. A study at the Arizona State University estimated that PIR brings in nearly $473 million annually to the state of Arizona. 2005 would also become the last year that a major open-wheel racing series would race at PIR. The track is still used by the IndyCar Series for testing purposes.[4]

In 2006, the Allison Grandstand was expanded from turn 1 to turn 2, increasing the reserved seating to 76,800. Included with the expansion is "Octane", an exclusive lounge on top of the grandstands overlooking turn 1. In 2008 PIR added the SPEED Cantina, a one-of-a-kind at-track sports bar and grill, outside turn 2. In early 2010, some of the grandstands along the backstretch were removed to allow additional room for recreational vehicles, thus the seating capacity dropped to around 67,000.[4]

In November 2010, ISC and the Avondale City Council announced plans for a $100 million long-term development for PIR. $15 million would go towards repaving the track (first time since 1990) and building a new media center. The plans also include a reconfiguration of the track.[5] The reconfiguration of the track made the width of the front stretch 62 feet (19 m), changed the pit stalls from asphalt to concrete, moved the dogleg (back stretch) outward by 95 feet (29 m), as well as making the radius of the dogleg 500 feet (150 m). Along with the other changes, the track changed to progressive banking with the banking of the first and second turn as well as the dogleg changing to 10–11 degrees, while the third and fourth turns will change to 8–9 degrees. The infield road course was also sealed off and removed from use, making PIR an oval-only facility.[6] $7–8 million will go towards connecting the track property to the Avondale water and sewer systems. Work began following the 2011 Subway Fresh Fit 500.[5] The reconfiguration project was completed by mid-August 2011, and on August 29–30, five drivers tested the new track, describing the new dogleg and backstretch as a "rollercoaster" as now when they enter it dips, then rises on exit and dips down going into turn 3, due to the elevation changes. On October 4–5, several Sprint Cup teams tested the oval which was open to the public.

On June 11, 2015, PIR announced the track would be renamed to "Jeff Gordon Raceway" for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, in tribute to Gordon, who was contesting his final full season in NASCAR in 2015.[7]

Racing events[edit]

Current events[edit]

Previous events[edit]

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Stats[edit]

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series records[edit]

(As of 3/15/15)

Most Wins 7 Kevin Harvick
Most Top 5s 14 Jimmie Johnson
Most Top 10s 21 Mark Martin
Most Top 20s 32 Mark Martin
Starts 34 Mark Martin
Poles 4 Ryan Newman
Most Laps Completed 9530 Mark Martin
Most Laps Led 1202 Kevin Harvick
Avg. Start* 8.1 Rusty Wallace
Avg. Finish* 5.2 Alan Kulwicki

* from minimum 5 starts.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners[edit]

  • (*) Rain-shortened event
  • (**) Race extended due to green-white-checker finish
  • a April race extended to 375 laps (600 km)
Season Date Winning Driver Car # Sponsor Make Distance Avg Speed Margin of Victory
1988 November 6 Alan Kulwicki 7 Zerex Ford Thunderbird 312 mi 90.457 mph (145.576 km/h) 18.5 sec
1989 November 5 Bill Elliott 9 Coors Ford Thunderbird 312 mi 105.683 mph (170.080 km/h) 6 cl
1990 November 4 Dale Earnhardt 3 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Lumina 312 mi 96.786 mph (155.762 km/h) 0.67 sec
1991 November 3 Davey Allison 28 Texaco Havoline Ford Thunderbird 312 mi 95.746 mph (154.088 km/h) 11.44 sec
1992 November 1 Davey Allison 28 Havoline Ford Thunderbird 312 mi 103.885 mph (167.187 km/h) 3.22 sec
1993 October 31 Mark Martin 6 Valvoline Ford Thunderbird 312 mi 100.375 mph (161.538 km/h) 0.17 sec
1994 October 30 Terry Labonte 5 Kelloggs Chevrolet Lumina 312 mi 107.463 mph (172.945 km/h) 3.09 sec
1995 October 29 Ricky Rudd 10 Tide Ford Thunderbird 312 mi 102.128 mph (164.359 km/h) 0.53 sec
1996 October 27 Bobby Hamilton 43 STP Pontiac Grand Prix 312 mi 109.709 mph (176.560 km/h) 1.23 sec
1997 November 2 Dale Jarrett 88 Quality Care/ Ford Credit Ford Thunderbird 312 mi 110.824 mph (178.354 km/h) 2.105 sec
1998 October 25 Rusty Wallace 2 Miller Lite Ford Taurus 257 mi* 100.375 mph (161.538 km/h) 0.17 sec
1999 November 7 Tony Stewart 20 Home Depot Pontiac Grand Prix 312 mi 118.132 mph (190.115 km/h) 2.081 sec
2000 November 5 Jeff Burton 99 Citgo Supergard Ford Taurus 312 mi 105.041 mph (169.047 km/h) 0.854 sec
2001 October 28 Jeff Burton 99 Citgo Supergard Ford Taurus 312 mi 102.613 mph (165.140 km/h) 2.645 sec
2002 November 10 Matt Kenseth 17 DeWalt Power Tools Ford Taurus 312 mi 113.857 mph (183.235 km/h) 1.344 sec
2003 November 2 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 312 mi 93.984 mph (151.253 km/h) 0.735 sec
2004 November 7 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 315 mi** 94.848 mph (152.643 km/h) 1.431 sec
2005 April 23 Kurt Busch 97 Irwin Industrial Tools Ford Taurus 312 mi 102.707 mph (165.291 km/h) 2.315 sec
2005 November 13 Kyle Busch 5 Kellogg's Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 312 mi 102.641 mph (165.185 km/h) 0.609 sec
2006 April 22 Kevin Harvick 29 GM Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 312 mi 107.063 mph (172.301 km/h) 2.774 sec
2006 November 13 Kevin Harvick 29 Reese's Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS 312 mi 96.131 mph (154.708 km/h) 0.250 sec
2007 April 21 Jeff Gordon 24 DuPont Chevrolet Impala SS 312 mi 107.71 mph (173.342 km/h) 0.697 sec
2007 November 11 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS 312 mi 102.989 mph (165.745 km/h) 0.870 sec
2008 April 12 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS 312 mi 103.292 mph (166.232 km/h) 7.002 sec
2008 November 9 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS 313 mi** 104.725 mph (168.539 km/h) 0.295 sec
2009 April 18 Mark Martin 5 Carquest/Kellogs Chevrolet Impala SS 312 mi 108.042 mph (173.877 km/h) 0.734 sec
2009 November 15 Jimmie Johnson 48 Lowe's Chevrolet Impala SS 312 mi 110.486 mph (177.810 km/h) 1.033 sec
2010 April 10 Ryan Newman 39 Tornado's / U.S. Army / Haas Automation Chevrolet Impala SS 378 mi**a 99.732 mph (160.503 km/h) 0.130 sec
2010 November 14 Carl Edwards 99 Aflac Ford Fusion 312 mi 110.758 mph (178.248 km/h) 4.770 Sec
2011 February 27 Jeff Gordon 24 Drive to End Hunger / AARP Chevrolet Impala SS 312 mi 102.961 mph (165.700 km/h) 1.137 Sec
2011 November 13 Kasey Kahne 4 Red Bull / Circle K Toyota Camry 312 mi 112.909 mph (181.709 km/h) .802 Sec
2012 March 4 Denny Hamlin 11 FedEx Toyota Camry 312 mi 110.085
2012 November 11 Kevin Harvick 29 Budweiser Chevrolet Impala SS 319 mi** 111.182
2013 March 3 Carl Edwards 99 Subway Ford Fusion 316 mi** 105.187
2013 November 10 Kevin Harvick 29 Budweiser Chevrolet SS 312 mi 105.733
2014 March 2 Kevin Harvick 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS 312 mi 109.229
2014 November 9 Kevin Harvick 4 Budweiser Chevrolet SS 312 mi 99.991
2015 March 15 Kevin Harvick 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS 312 mi 105.753

Track records[edit]

Current Configuration[edit]

Record Date Driver Time Speed/Avg. Speed
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Qualifying November 7, 2014 Joey Logano 25.327 142.141 mph (228.754 km/h)
Race November 13, 2011 Kasey Kahne 2:45:47 112.918 mph (181.724 km/h)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Qualifying March 14, 2015 Joey Logano 26.627 135.201 mph (217.585 km/h)
Race November 12, 2011 Sam Hornish, Jr. 2:21:18 85.918 mph (138.272 km/h)
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
Qualifying November 12, 2011 Greg Pursley 26.894 133.859 mph (215.425 km/h)[8]
Race November 12, 2011 Ryan Blaney 1:37:07 77.227 mph (124.285 km/h)

Prior to 2011 Reconfiguration[edit]

Record Date Driver Time Speed/Avg. Speed
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Qualifying February 26, 2011 Carl Edwards 26.224 137.279 mph (220.929 km/h)
Race November 7, 1999 Tony Stewart 2:38:28 118.132 mph (190.115 km/h)
NASCAR Xfinity Series
Qualifying February 26, 2011 Joey Logano 26.806 134.048 mph (215.729 km/h)
Race November 4, 2000 Jeff Burton 1:44:13 115.145 mph (185.308 km/h)
NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Qualifying February 25, 2011 Clint Bowyer 26.876 133.949 mph (215.570 km/h)
Race November 7, 2002 Kevin Harvick 1:24:26 108.104 mph (173.977 km/h)
NASCAR K&N Pro Series West
Qualifying November 13, 2010 Greg Pursley 27.700 129.964 mph (209.157 km/h)
Race October 5, 2003 Scott Lynch 1:18:46 114.262 mph (183.887 km/h)
CART
Qualifying April 1, 1995 Bryan Herta 19.019 181.952 mph (292.823 km/h)
Race April 12, 1987 Roberto Guerrero 1:26:56 138.020 mph (222.122 km/h)
Verizon IndyCar Series
Qualifying March 23, 1996 Arie Luyendyk 18.758 183.599 mph (295.474 km/h)
Race March 19, 2005 Sam Hornish, Jr. 1:30:24 137.753 mph (221.692 km/h)
USAC
Qualifying October 27, 1978 Danny Ongais 36.285 145.513 mph (234.180 km/h)
Race November 4, 1972 Bobby Unser 1:27:32 127.618 mph (205.381 km/h)
Source:[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The best seat in NASCAR isn't really a seat at all". Nascar.com. August 12, 2010. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Phoenix International Raceway". Autoracing.com. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  3. ^ Caraviello, David (April 12, 2008). "The best seat in NASCAR isn't really a seat at all". Nascar.com. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Timeline". Phoenixraceway.com. Retrieved November 16, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Madrid, David. "PIR starts its engine on $100M expansion". azcentral.com. Retrieved November 21, 2010. 
  6. ^ http://www.phoenixraceway.com/Articles/2011/02/Track-Repave.aspx
  7. ^ Knight, Michael (June 11, 2015). "PIR to be renamed in honor of Jeff Gordon for fall race". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved June 11, 2015. 
  8. ^ Green, Kevin (November 12, 2011). "Qualifying: Pursley Tops The Field". NASCAR Home Tracks. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 
  9. ^ "Race Results at Phoenix International Raceway". racing-reference.info. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°22′29″N 112°18′40″W / 33.37475°N 112.31115°W / 33.37475; -112.31115