Phoenix Area, Mecca for Motorsports and Motorsports Facilities

Jan 14/14  From:

Our Man in Phoenix – Brian Minto  BrianAt60_small

The Phoenix area is bristling with motorsports and motorsports facilities.

PIR, the stock car has gone through more upgrades and intends to continue its program of several NASCAR events per year, including two Nextel Cup events per year – the second race of the year (just after Daytona) and the second last race of the year (just before Homestead). Tickets are currently on sale for those events.

Firebird Raceway was just taken over by the Indian band who’s land it is located on, and was renamed accordingly. They built a big shopping mall, casino and resort just right beside the entance gates to the race facility. That should make that resort a genuine destination for tourists. Overall, that facility remains a real monster with a track for any type of motorsport that you could imagine, including hydroplane and drag boating. And there’s winter off-road truck and buggy series races there every few weeks on either of several tracks.

The NHRA Arizona Nationals 3-day event is there in a few weeks. The Bob Bondurant racing school operates there daily. The Freddy Spencer racing school is often there.

There are several other motocross tracks around the city and several other stock car tracks as well, including a few special-purpose tracks like the one for just quarter midget cars.

There is a second all-purpose family-owned racing facility with drag strip, several stock car tracks, motocross tracks, mud bog track, etc that provides day-use for interested individuals and groups.

There is a very nice looking family-owned road race track on the west edge of town but it has serious noise restrictions due to its location in a residential area. The peculiar thing about the noise restrictions is that the track is also very near Luke Air Force base which is a main training facility for F16 fighter pilots that land and takeoff without any restriction and make a sensational amount of noise – think ‘deafening’, and then think just a bit louder, and then think of this happening all day and all night. The track is essentially located at one end of the main runway of the air force base but oddly. the track is the only facility with noise restrictions as well as restrictions on hours of operation. I’d guess the US military has an exemption on such issues.

The Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and the Russo Collector Car Auction are on again during the same week and located rather close to each other – about a mile apart in Scottsdale. I live about 5 miles from Scottsdale. (Actually, when you think of Phoenix, you likely think of metropolitan Phoenix which is a city about 125 miles across, with a population of about 4 1/2 million and made up of about 15 cities including Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, Tempe, Gilbert, Mesa, Chandler, Peoria, Sun City, El Mirage, Goodyear, Litchfield, Avondale, Deer Valley and so on.)

The Russo auction sells more collector cars but the Barrett-Jackson is a monster event. The surrounding cities of Tucson, Yuma, Flagstaff, Kingman, Havasu City and Prescott also have operating motorsports tracks within 200 miles of Phoenix.

The Monster Energy Supercross was in Phoenix this past weekend at Chase Field, home of the major league baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The monster trucks were here about 4 weeks ago.

The Barrett-Jackson started Sunday and continues until next Sunday. It probably takes two full days to see the cars and related displays. It’s kinda like an exotic combination of mild-to-wild car show, snazzy auction with auction of about 1500 cars varying from $10,000 to $5,000,000 and and a Mini-SEMA event with a thousand or so automotive vendors, including every automobile manufacturer that would cross your mind. Very interesting displays. The place ‘oozes’ with money and celebrities.

There were two BCS football games here around the Christmas/New Years season.

The Superbowl is here next year. The Arizona Cardinals were exciting but just missed the playoffs. The Phoenix Coyotes are doing fine. I don’t follow the NBA Phoenix Suns.

Pre-season Cactus League major league baseball starts in about 5 weeks with about 15 teams playing daily for about a month at stadiums all over the city for about $10 admission. It’s $20 for 30 beer and $10 for a 1.75 litre of alcohol. Gas is $3.20 per gallon. Food is 60% as much as Calgary. The daytime temperaure is 20-24C.

Life’s OK. Did I mention – no snow?

Brian Minto – Guest Blogger

 

 

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