AVONDALE, AZ – MARCH 04: Mark Martin, driver of the #55 Aaron’s Toyota, leads a group of cars during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 4, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images for NASCAR)

February 17, 2014

AZ Business Magazine

PIR Celebrating 50th Anniversary in 2014

Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced plans today for the track’s 50th Anniversary celebration in 2014. Sperber was joined by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, Avondale Mayor Marie Lopez Rogers, West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame Chairman and former NASCAR Vice President Ken Clapp and 1983 Indianapolis 500 winner Tom Sneva for the announcement.

A year-long 50th Anniversary campaign will be a celebration of Phoenix International Raceway’s relationships with its fans, community partners and the racing industry. Many of the greatest drivers to ever turn a lap on PIR’s one-mile oval, along with the brightest personalities in the track’s history, will be invited to return for race weekends and other events throughout the coming year.

“The 2014 season will truly be a magical one for Phoenix International Raceway as we celebrate our golden anniversary,” PIR President Bryan R. Sperber said. “(This) year is all about our fans, our community and our shared passion for racing, and we are looking forward to a year-long celebration that recognizes our history and those that helped to create it.”

The 50th Anniversary celebration will feature a one-of-a-kind interactive and three-dimensional race weekend exhibit entitled Memory Lane, which will showcase the past 50 years of racing at PIR, including photos, artifacts and race-used memorabilia from drivers. The exhibit will also feature a number of classic cars with ties to the track and which, in some cases, actually raced at PIR.

Race fans will also see the 50th Anniversary theme incorporated in a number of ways over the next 13 months, including philanthropic and community outreach initiatives as well as special events throughout the year featuring noteworthy drivers and personalities. Plans also include commemorative publications and broadcast content; a year-long fan engagement program focused on the most influential people in the history of Phoenix International Raceway, as decided by a blue-ribbon panel of industry insiders, media and local officials; and world-class race weekend events and entertainment.

Phoenix International Raceway staged its first professional race on March 22, 1964 when, in front of a crowd of 7,000 spectators, A.J. Foyt led every lap on his way to victory in the Phoenix 100. The race track has evolved many times over the ensuing 50 years and has hosted races for virtually every major sanctioning body in American motor sports, including USAC, CART, Indy Car, Motocross and NASCAR.

Today, PIR is most well-known as the host for two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends annually. Phoenix stages the second race on the NASCAR calendar every spring immediately following the Daytona 500, the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500TM, and the semi-final race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup, the AdvoCare 500, each November.