Great Clips 200 – November 9th – Phoenix International Raceway
World Financial Group (WFG) taps into the excitement of the NASCAR racing series and is proud to once again take to the track with Roush Fenway Racing. Since 2004, our alliance has strengthened and we have sponsored Roush Fenway drivers, including racing greats Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth, in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Camping World Series. Continuing our winning tradition, in 2013, WFG is thrilled to sponsor racing phenomenon Trevor Bayne, the youngest winner of the legendary Daytona 500. Trevor placed fourth driving the No. 6 WFG Ford Mustang at the Sam’s Town 300 on March 9, and will drive the WFG sponsored Mustang again when the rubber hits the road in the Great Clips 200 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 9 as part of the NASCAR Nationwide series.
The Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) is just sixteen miles west of downtown Phoenix in Avondale, Ariz. Built in 1964 around the Estrella Mountains, the racetrack includes a one-mile tri-oval course and a two and a half mile road course.
The first race at PIR, on February 16, 1964, was an open sports car event on the road course and was won by Davey MacDonald. The next month, on March 22, racing legend A.J. Foyt won the PIR’s first oval course race in a 100 mile United States Auto Club event. The first stock car race in 1968 saw Don White taking the checkered flag.
NASCAR came to PIR in 1978, but it was more than ten years before NASCAR’s premier series featured a race in Avondale. Alan Kulwicki won the Checker 500 on November 16, 1988, the first Winston Cup (now Sprint Cup) race.
As more NASCAR races came to PIR the racetrack needed to improve and expand – which included an increase in grandstand seating to 30,000. However, fans still love to observe races from the unique vantage point of “Monument Hill”, located along turns three and four, which also includes a United States Geological Survey marker known as Gila and Salt River Meridian – the original land survey point for the area that became the state of Arizona.
In 1991 the original road course at PIR was replaced with a 1.51-mile infield road course, and, five years later, the grandstand was increased to hold 60,000 race fans. In 2004, NASCAR announced that a second race would be held at PIR and, as a result improvements have been made to the track, including the addition of lighting in 2005 to allow the second NASCAR race to run in the evening. Then, in 2006, the Bobby Allison Grandstand was expanded to offer fans an exciting view of the track from outside turns one and two.
In November 2010, International Speedway Corporation, who own and operate the facility, and the Avondale City Council announced plans for a $100 million long-term development for the raceway, which includes the repaving and reconfiguring the track along with other improvements. The repaving and reconfiguration began in March 2011 and is to be completed by September.
Today, PIR continues to host exciting racing action from NASCAR as well as IndyCar testing and other entertainment events.