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Fast Facts: Phoenix International Raceway

[dropcap style=”style1″]N[/dropcap]ASCAR has taken over the valley of the sun and it seems as though everyone is at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) this weekend. Whether its your first time at PIR or your twentieth, here are some fast facts you may not have known about the track:

  • ¬†The track was completed in January of 1964 and opened as a home for open-wheel racing. The first NASCAR race wasn’t until 1988.
  • PIR features a tri-oval design which is the result of some design constraints around the track-mountains on one side, a road course and drag strip on the other. The frontstretch length of the track is 1,179 feet, the backstrech length is 1,551 feet, while the pit road length is 1,140 feet. The total distance driven by the race cars in one lap is a mile. The track also has variable banking. Turns 1-2 have a 10-11 degree angle while 10-11 degree is also seen in the Backstretch dogleg. Turns 3-4 have an 8-9 degree angle with 3 degrees on the frontstreth and 9 degrees on the backstretch.
  • IMG_0264The Hillside overlooking Turn 4 was once the site of the original US Geological Survey point for the entire state of Arizona.
  • The Hillside also contains the boundaries for the Gila River Indian Community. Previously, the community used to sell food and drink to race fans that did not want to hike all the way back down the hill for track concessions.
  • IndyCar left the track in 2005 which was a major blow to PIR as it was open-wheel-oriented. To make up for it, dozens of smaller races are run at the track and commercials have filmed at the raceway each year.
  • IndyCar is returning to PIR in April 2016 after an 11 year hiatus.
  • Scenes from the movie Taxi, staring Jimmy Fallon and Queen Latifah were filmed at PIR.
  • According to a survey of drivers in 2007, Phoenix tied with Atlanta for the second-favorite course on the circuit with 12 percent of the votes.

Photography by Nicole Ellan James 

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