RELATED: Fast facts on project
Officials with International Speedway Corp. and ISM Raceway jointly announced last year plans for a $178 million facelift for the 1-mile facility that focuses on improving the fan experience while also including a competition twist that will see the relocation of the track’s start/finish line.
The facility, located in Avondale, Arizona, annually hosts two NASCAR race weekends, and has hosted the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series since 1988.
The project, sponsored by Xfinity Series entitlement partner DC Solar, is expected to be completed in November of 2018.
Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of ISC, described the announcement as “a huge day for our company … as well as motorsports overall.”
Kennedy said the project “brings us full circle with Phoenix Raceway.
“The track itself has a very long and successful history with motorsports with NASCAR and IndyCar. Since we took it on in the ’90s … there has been a lot of evolution and a lot of changes. It’s time to take it to an entirely different level.”
With the Monster Energy Series and Xfinity Series returning to the track, it’s time for an update.
Among the fan amenities to be included in the project that are debuting this weekend:
• Wheelhouse/ROLL-BAR: A brand-new climate controlled sports bar and grill for fans that will feature driver appearances and pre-race games.
• Trackside Bar & Grill: Live music nightly
• “Canyons” consisting of elevators and escalators to aid fan access, additional restroom facilities and expanded concessions located in a new midway area. The ISM Connect Canyon 1 provides two new escalators for this weekend.
• Curve, a luxurious fan hospitality club, also recently opened, providing incredible views over Turn 1.
Future amenities for the fall of 2018 include:
• A redesign of the infield to include a new Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Fan Zone that will allow improved access for fans
• New and upgraded seating and hospitality areas located in what is currently the Turn 2 portion of the facility
• Construction of a pedestrian tunnel to provide access to the infield for those seated in the new, expanded grandstand areas
From a competition standpoint, the start/finish line will be relocated in what is now Turn 2, near the dogleg area.
Track president Bryan Sperber said at the 2017 announcement that track officials spoke with approximately 30 drivers about moving the start/finish line, “and the feedback was universally positive,” he said.
The undertaking comes on the heels of the first major improvement project for an ISC-held property since the completion of the $400 million Daytona Rising effort. Kennedy said that project “exceeded our expectations.”
No less is expected for the Phoenix project.
“It’s a great sports market, it’s a great media market,” Kennedy said. “It’s a fantastic destination for the fans as well as the world class racing. Those combined provided compelling reasons (to move forward).
“There were also some areas there at the track that needed to be updated. Not only to get up with the times but also to propel us forward. We can’t lose sight of that. We have to have compelling reasons to come and be entertained.
“It starts with the fans, because that’s the most important thing. If the fans are coming and enjoying themselves, I think it really propels the rest.”