Phoenix Raceway is a mile long low-banked tri-oval race track located in Avondale, Arizona. The track was first opened to the public in 1964 and currently hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually including the final championship race in 2020. It has also hosted the CART IndyCar series, USAC and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The raceway is currently owned and operated by NASCAR.
The track is notable for being one of 13 facilities on the NASCAR schedule to host more than one race weekend each year. Which is exceptional since it only joined the NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 1988 as a late season event. But the track proved popular enough that in 2005 it was given a spring date. And in between the two years, the now-NASCAR Camping World Truck Series was added in 1995 and the now-NASCAR Xfinity Series began running there in 1999. On top of that, since 2020 when NASCAR announced that its championship weekend events would be run at Phoenix marked the first time since NASCAR’s inaugural championship weekend that Homestead-Miami Speedway was not the host track.
The Phoenix Raceway has hosted some of the most incredible racing events in NASCAR and in racing. And here’s a few short lists of these events.
- NASCAR Cup Series
- Ruoff Mortgage 500 (Spring, 2005–present)
- NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race (Fall, 1988–present)
- NASCAR Xfinity Series
- United Rentals 200 (Spring, 2005–present)
- NASCAR Xfinity Series Championship Race (Fall, 1999–present)
- NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
- Lucas Oil 150 (1995–present)
- ARCA Menards Series
- General Tire 150 (2020–present)
NASCAR Cup Series Records
And we can’t forget about the track wide legends that have taken on the track. These records are as of 3/14/21 and may not reflect more recent achievements.
- Most Wins 9 Kevin Harvick
- Most Top 5s 18 Kevin Harvick
- Most Top 10s 26 Kevin Harvick
- Starts 37 Kevin Harvick
- Poles 4 Ryan Newman
- Most Laps Completed 9530 Mark Martin
- Most Laps Led 1595 Kevin Harvick
- Avg. Start* 8.1 Rusty Wallace
- Avg. Finish* 5.2 Alan Kulwicki
- Closest Finish 0.01 Kevin Harvick
* from minimum 5 starts.
About Phoenix Raceway
The Phoenix Raceway, originally known as Phoenix International Raceway, was built in 1964 around the Estrella Mountains outside of Avondale. Because of the terrain and the corporation of a road course and drag strip, the designers had to build a “dogleg” into the backstretch. The original roadcourse was 2 miles long and ran both inside and outside of the main oval track. The design made it possible to watch races from “Monument Hill” located alongside turns 3 and 4 (now turns 1 and 2 due to the tracks’ later 2018 reconfiguration). Many race fans prefer this view because of its unique vantage point and lower ticket prices.
The raceway 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 it became a favorite spot for drivers and replaced the old track at the Arizona State Fairgrounds. This led to 1977 when the first Copper World Classic was held.
Nascar began racing at the venue in 1978. But it wasn’t until 1988 when NASCAR’s premier series, now the NASCAR Cup Series, began racing at the track. Following the announcement of NASCAR being added to the track schedule, the raceway built a 3-story suite building outside of turn 1 and increased grandstand capacity to 30,000.
Phoenix Raceway Project
On January 30, 2017, Phoenix International Raceway and ISC announced a $178 million renovation plan called the Phoenix RAceway Project Powered by DC Solar. The project was completed in October 2018, just in time fo the November race weekend. And the name of the venue was changed to Phoenix Raceway.
The following changes, renovations, and updates were part of the renovation project.
- Grandstand seating capacity will be 45,000.
- upgraded Club, 32 renovated suites and 19 new suites.
- New escalators and elevators, in addition to the existing elevators that will be upgraded.
- New souvenir areas, a new First Aid and EMS location, a new Guest Services area, as well as multiple new restrooms, including ADA restrooms.
- New Fanzone located in the infield.
- New DC solar fan midway.
- New Busch Garage, new Corporate Hospitality, and new Guest Services and Ticketing buildings.
- Technology upgrades planned for the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar include flat screen TVs throughout common areas, a new PA system and free Wi-Fi available throughout all common areas including the DC Solar Fan Midway, Infield and in-seat Wi-Fi.