Friday, February 24, 2017

Flashback Friday: Phoenix Raceway Celebrates Michael Waltrip’s Last Ride


“Everything that’s right about NASCAR is at PIR.” – Michael Waltrip

We couldn’t be more grateful to have a friend of the track like Michael Waltrip. His friendship and personality are what make the sport so near and dear to our fans. In honor of his 30th and final Daytona 500 this Sunday, let’s take a look back at his history at Phoenix Raceway – both on and off the track.

A two-time Daytona 500 winner, Michael has raced at Phoenix in three of NASCAR’s national series including the Monster Energy Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR K&N Pro-Series West. Michael got his first start racing on the one-mile oval in the 1998 Checker 500. In his 24 starts since, he earned two top-five and four top-10 finishes en route to completing a total of 6,743 laps. His last race in the desert earned him a runner-up finish in the 2010 3 Amigos Tequila 125 NASCAR K&N Pro-Series West race in 2010.

Denny Hamlin and Michael Waltrip shared Daytona 500 stories with the
MLB Network before Arizona Diamondbacks 2016 Spring Training
Off the track, Michael has been a huge ambassador of the track throughout the Valley of the Sun. Recently, he helped Phoenix Raceway and 2016 Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin kick off the NASCAR Season at the Arizona Diamondbacks Spring Training Season Opener. Denny and Michael talked NASCAR with the team from the MLB Network, before Denny traded jerseys and took in the game against the Colorado Rockies. Waltrip also spoke with ABC 15 about why everyone should share his love of NASCAR. Check out the video here!

In November 2016, Michael was on hand for a very special event as Phoenix Raceway Charities unveiled its renovation project of the Ronald McDonald House in Downtown Phoenix before the Can-Am 500 NASCAR race weekend. The FOX broadcaster helped commemorate the event with NASCAR drivers William Byron and Erik Jones.

After 32 years in the sport, we offer a sincere congratulations on his final start in the Daytona 500. Michael, we know your passion for NASCAR will keep on spreading across the country and around the world. We can’t wait to see you back in Phoenix this March 17-19 for the Camping World 500!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Leading the Pack: A Look Back at Phoenix Raceway’s Official Pace Car Drivers and Their MMA Ties

Chuck Liddell poses with fans during driver introductions for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 on November 9, 2014
At Phoenix Raceway, the fastest drivers in the sport of NASCAR are led to the green flag by the fastest hands in mixed martial arts. Dating back to 2011, the track has had a tradition of putting some of the best fighters in the world behind the wheel to serve as the official pace car driver. We look forward to continuing this tradition in this hosting one of Arizona’s-own great success stories, Olympic gold medalist and UFC flyweight Henry Cejudo. On Sunday, March 19, Henry will serve as the official pace car driver in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Camping World 500. In honor, Phoenix Raceway takes a look back at some of the best MMA fighters that have driven the honorary lap around the one-mile oval.

Anderson Silva poses with Phoenix Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber
before leading the field in the Kobalt Tools 500 on November 13, 2011.
Anderson Silva On November 13, 2011, the UFC® middleweight champion came to Phoenix Raceway to lead the field in the Kobalt Tools 500. The self-proclaimed long-time NASCAR fan was a hit at the track as UFC’s longest reigning champion, with 14 consecutive wins.

Dominick Cruz Dominick, from Tucson, Ariz., was a hometown hero as he paced the field of the AdvoCare 500 on November 11, 2012. After serving in the same role in the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ on March 3, 2013, the former bantamweight champion and star of The Ultimate Fighter® Live continued his partnership with Phoenix Raceway as they sponsored him in a fight versus Takeya Mizugaki in Las Vegas in 2014. Dominick recently returned to the track as the honorary pace car driver in the Good Sam 500 on March 15, 2016.
Benson Henderson, pace car driver for the
Advocare 500 on November 10, 2013, stands
in fronts of his MMA gym in Glendale, Ariz.
Benson Henderson – In addition to sponsoring Henderson in a fight versus Anthony Pettis in August 2013, Phoenix Raceway welcomed the local fighter to serve as the honorary pace car driver in the AdvoCare 500 on November 10, 2013. A Phoenix resident, the former UFC® lightweight champion is part owner of The MMA LAB in Glendale, Ariz., and is active in the community and the growth of mixed martial arts.

Chael Sonnen –
Also known as “The American Gangster”, UFC fighter and FOX Sports analyst Chael Sonnen came to Phoenix Raceway as the Honorary Pace Car Driver for The Profit on CNBC 500 on March 2, 2014. When not fighting in the Octagon, Chael was the host of UFC Tonight on FS1.

Chuck Liddell Regarded as one of the greatest light heavyweights in the history of professional mixed martial arts, the track was thrilled to have Chuck Liddell behind the wheel of the official pace car in the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 on November 9, 2014. In addition to adding pace car driver to his resume, the former light-heavyweight champion was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2009 and published an autobiography titled "Iceman: My Fighting Life," in 2008.

Dan Henderson waves to the crowd at driver introductions
for the Camping World.com 500 on March 15, 2015.
Dan Henderson (March 2015) Two-time Olympian and current UFC star, Henderson paced the field to green in the CampingWorld.com 500 on March 15, 2015. A former wrestler for Arizona State University, Dan owns more major tournament titles than any other athlete in MMA history, winning four different international events in three weight divisions – heavyweight, light heavyweight and middleweight.

Brian Stann – Phoenix Raceway was honored to have this Marine Corp Veteran as the honorary pace car driver in the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 as part of Veterans Day Weekend on November 15, 2015. Stann played middle linebacker for the U.S. Naval Academy and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2003 before serving two deployments in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The versatile fighter retired from the UFC in 2013 and is a nationally-recognized fight analyst and speaker, while also leading Hire Heroes USA, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that empowers U.S. military members, veterans and their spouses to succeed in the civilian workforce.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Carl Edwards: Throwback to the King of “Backflips” And His Most Memorable Moments

Carl Edwards jumps into a crown of Phoenix Raceway fans following his first Cup Series win at the track, and his first win in 70 races, in the Kobalt Tools 500 in March 2010.

"I can't tell you how cool it is," said Carl Edwards from Gatorade Victory Lane. "I love Phoenix."

It’s no secret how “cool” Carl’s racing history is at Phoenix Raceway. In 25 starts in Phoenix, he’s earned a total of eight top-5 and 10 top-10 finishes. His two wins, as well as his near-victories, have created some of the most unforgettable moments for fans of ZOOMTOWN, U.S.A.® Phoenix International Raceway.

Without a doubt, his outstanding racing at Phoenix Raceway will be revered for a long time to come. From snapping a winless streak not once – but twice – at the track, to the most exciting finish in track history, Phoenix Raceway takes a look back at some of Carl’s most memorable moments in the Valley of the Sun.

  • -> In 2010, Carl conquered the one-mile oval with a weekend sweep of the Kobalt Tools 500, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race as well as the WYPALL * 200 Powered by Kimberly Clark, NASCAR XFINITY Series race. Setting up the winning weekend, Carl set a track record in qualifying – clocking a speed of 136.389 to earn the coveted pole position. Carl picked up momentum in the WYPALL 200 the next day, leading 153 of 200 laps, including the last 56, to drive to victory with more than a five-second lead over runner-up Kevin Harvick. The very next day, Carl would hold off championship contender Denny Hamlin and gamble on fuel mileage to end a 70-race winless drought and earn his first career Cup Series win at Phoenix Raceway – a feat he was so happy to accomplish that he leaped into a welcoming grandstand full of fans that witnessed his outstanding race weekend at Phoenix.

  • -> In true “you can’t make this stuff up” fashion, Carl drove his No. 99 Subway Ford to win the 2013 Subway Fresh Fit 500. Phoenix would once again prove to be a haven for him, as he would find his groove to snap another 70-race winless streak. "This win feels as good or better than any win I've ever had," Carl said, who was still able to complete his patented victory backflip at the Phoenix Raceway finish line before once again jumping into a crowd full of fans. Edwards led a race-high 122 laps and held off a star-studded field including Brad Keselowski and Jimmie Johnson, who finished just a second behind the acrobatic winner. Phoenix Raceway welcomed him back to Gatorade Victory Lane with his second win in the desert in three years.
    Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick fight for the closest finish in the 53-year history of the track.


  • -> Few can forget the thrilling ending to the March 2016 Good Sam 500, and although it was not a win for Carl, it surely was for all the fans who got to witness the finish. Carl challenged Phoenix Raceway’s winningest driver, Kevin Harvick, to miss out on victory by mere inches. In a side-by-side battle down the stretch, Carl and Kevin would fight until the end in Phoenix Raceway’s closest finish in track history. A late caution gave Carl the chance to get fresh tires and an opportunity to contest Kevin’s dominance in the desert, but fell short by .010 seconds. "We made him work for it," said Carl. "That's more than we've been able to do here the last few times. Just a lot of fun. I really wish it would have worked out a little bit differently, but it's a good race.”

Edwards provided a lot of good of racing at Phoenix Raceway and throughout the sport of NASCAR. We’ll surely miss the backflips, but can’t wait to see what the future holds for the one-of-a-kind driver.




Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Art in Motion: Q&A with Gatorade Victory Lane Live Artist Bill Patterson

One of Phoenix Raceway’s most unique and creative traditions is the live art painting of each race winner by friend of the track and motorsports artist Bill Patterson. Bill prepares his canvas in Victory Lane and watches the race in suspense, not knowing which of the 40 cars he will be tasked to paint as soon as the Checkered Flag drops. PIR’s favorite painter is popularly known as a live artist, one who paints a visual performance in a public arena. While the chaos of Victory Lane unfolds, from Gatorade baths and confetti showers to an endless hat dance, Bill remains focused in the corner, intently finishing his newest masterpiece.

Read on for how he started painting at Phoenix Raceway, how a late pass from Kevin Harvick got Bill on to ESPN and more!

Phoenix Raceway: How did you start painting in Victory Lane?

Bill Patterson:
“It was something I was thinking about for some time and something that I wanted to throw out to Bryan when he asked me if I knew about the paintings that Leroy Neiman used to do at the races. I of course knew him for his very iconic work. He’s a genius and a huge personality. His sense of color, motion and style is just fantastic. So he asked what I thought about doing a live painting like Leroy for the fall race. I was stunned because that was exactly what I wanted to do. It was perfect.”

PR: What is the best part about working in live art?

BP:
“Live art to me is always so exciting, slightly terrifying, but mostly just a hell of a lot of fun. I love creating something from nothing and people being able to watch the process as they see me start from nothing and then they see this or that and then there’s a car. I kind of go through the same thing – I sort of know where I want to go with the painting when I start, I’ve got it sketched out and pretty well in my head, but I love watching it happen, too. I love changing it and letting it morph and develop and mature as I go. I get a huge kick out of it.”

PR: What is the worst part about live art?

BP:
“Dragging the stuff around, mixing the paint, stretching the canvas, setting up the easel, all that stuff I’m just sick to death of. But I still love to paint.”



PR: What is your favorite memory at Phoenix Raceway?

BP:
“The very first one I did was 2006. I remember it clearly because it was panic time. I started about 10 laps to go and it looked like Tony Stewart had it locked up. He and Kevin Harvick were running one and two, and were running that way for quite some time and Harvick didn’t seem to be making any progress on Stewart until after I had started the painting. Two laps from the end they swapped. The ESPN guys were setup right next to me and they had a hell of a time watching me switch those guys around. Actually, they came back from commercial with one of their guys trying to help me out. It was a lot of fun and the first time of many that I’ve gotten to shake Kevin Harvick’s hand in Victory Lane at PIR.”

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Experience NASCAR At Phoenix Raceway In 2017 For Only $20.17!

Cross off your New Year’s Resolution to attend NASCAR at Phoenix Raceway with our limited-time $20.17 ticket offer.

With this great price, you can ring in the New Year by securing your seat close to the action in the Lower Foyt Grandstand at the Camping World 500, Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race on Sunday, March 19.

The Camping World 500 NASCAR Weekend is the perfect getaway for your Spring Break 2017 with exciting changes on and off the track. Off the track, we welcome new title sponsor Monster Energy to NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns to the helm of the No. 88 and Stewart-Haas Racing (winner of the last three Camping World 500 Races at Phoenix Raceway) switch manufactures.

You can be #WinningSpringBreak during the Camping World 500 NASCAR Weekend, March 17-19 when NASCAR Goes West and drivers look to lock-in a Chase spot with an early season win on the one-mile desert oval.

Taking advantage of the 2017 New Year’s Offer is quick and easy. Simply click here or call a PIR Representative at 866-408-RACE (7223) today!

*The 2017 New Year’s Offer expires Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at 11:59 p.m. MT. All Phoenix Raceway offers are non-renewable and non-refundable. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Season of Giving: 3 Ways to Get Involved with Phoenix Raceway Charities

You don’t need a big wallet to have a big heart. ‘Tis the season of giving, and what better way to celebrate the holiday than to get involved with Phoenix Raceway Charities. It was a big year for Phoenix Raceway Charities in 2016 – capped off by the big unveil of the Ronald McDonald House renovation in Downtown Phoenix.

When you donate to Phoenix Raceway Charities, a 501(c)(3) donor advised fund under The NASCAR Foundation, your gift will go toward accelerating the development of children in Arizona by supporting education, children and families of our military and military veterans, and life enrichment programs for children and families in our community.

Check out these three ways you get can get involved with Phoenix Raceway Charities this holiday season.

  1. Purchase a PIR-Branded License Plate: NASCAR fans in Arizona can support Phoenix Raceway Charities courtesy of the Phoenix Raceway-designed Arizona license plate. You can show your love of NASCAR and support charitable grants by buying your plate for only $25 at DMV locations throughout the state or online. For each plate purchased, $17 will be donated to Phoenix Raceway Charities.

  2. Make a Donation: Sometimes the best gifts are the ones that pay it forward. Donate now to join Phoenix Raceway Charities and help support programs enriching the lives of children, families, military families and veterans in our community.

  3. Community Donation Requests: Are you involved with a nonprofit organization? Phoenix Raceway Charities welcomes requests for donations from qualifying nonprofits. In order to qualify for a donation: 1) Your organization must be recognized as a 501(c)3 with a qualifying employer identification number; 2) Your organization must be located in the state of Arizona; 3) The mission of your organization must align with Phoenix Raceway Charities’ mission statement.

Happy Holidays from Phoenix Raceway!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

DC Solar Brightens Fan Amenities at Phoenix Raceway as New XFINITY Series Entitlement Sponsor

It was quite the action-packed race weekend for Phoenix Raceway Nov. 11-13. Among the hustle and bustle of race week was a special announcement made on Saturday afternoon, just a couple of hours before the Ticket Galaxy 200, NASCAR XFINITY Series race.

Phoenix Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber revealed DC Solar as the title sponsor for the upcoming NASCAR XFINITY Series races in the spring of 2017 and 2018.


“We are very pleased to launch this new partnership with DC Solar," said Sperber. "We think Phoenix Raceway will provide a great platform to showcase their cutting-edge solar equipment to businesses and consumers alike.”

The announcement was accompanied by great excitement on both sides, as well as NASCAR XFINITY Series star Brennan Poole, driver of the No. 48 DC Solar Chevrolet for the 2016 season.


Phoenix Raceway surely did showcase to campers and race fans some of what DC Solar had to offer over race weekend. Throughout the campgrounds, parking lots and Fan Midway, DC Solar provided 23 of their solar-powered mobile generators and two table-top mobile device charging stations for fan convenience. This direct fan engagement connected the track’s newest sponsor with consumers and other businesses on-site.


DC Solar CEO Jeff Carpoff eagerly noted, “As our relationship evolves, we look forward to introducing new and innovative methods for improving the fan experience, as well as raceway operations, with our renewable energy products.”


DC Solar’s renewable energy products include their solar light towers located all around the raceway’s property. Just one solar tower will save over 24 gallons of diesel fuel during the course of a weekend. In regard to improving the fan experience, DC Solar will soon be providing electric vehicle (EV) charging stations that drivers can plug into during events on-site.


This new partnership between DC Solar and the track makes the solar company the Official Mobile Solar Power Provider of Phoenix Raceway! You can learn much more about what else DC Solar is doing within
NASCAR, as well as check out their variety of products, by visiting their website

            
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