By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
On Jan. 30, Phoenix Raceway and its parent company, International Speedway Corporation, announced the long-awaited details of the facility’s $178M modernization plan. AZBEX was among the first to report on the project when news first broke in December. (AZBEX, Dec. 6, 2016)
A key component of the redesign is a repositioning of the track’s start/finish line in Turn 2. In the official announcement, Phoenix Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber said, “By shifting the start/finish line to Phoenix Raceway’s famed dog leg, fans will be perfectly positioned to watch one of the most exciting turns in motorsports.”
Spectator improvements specifically referenced in the announcement include:
- Grandstand renovations: A current portion of the grandstand seating, sometimes called the ‘Sunburn Section’ because of its intense exposure, particularly at sunset, will be demolished and replaced with northeast-facing seating.
- Improved Seating, with the removal of the current grandstand benches and replacement with armrest-equipped individual seats.
- Midway reconfiguration: The current midway will be updated and expanded to include a new care center, Busch Garage, corporate hospitality, guest services and ticketing buildings.
- Infield camping will be reconfigured after March, 2018 to include new viewing options and improve the infield fan experience.
- Suites: 32 existing suites will be renovated and 19 more will be added to increase comfort and availability. In addition, nine new “vertical transportation options” will be added to the single current suite elevator to facilitate movement to and from the suites.
- Connectivity: Making a nod to the realities of the modern age and fan experience, the renovated facility will provide an upgraded public address system, as well as flat screen TVs and free wi-fi connectivity in all the common areas.
Motorsports has a long history of corporate sponsorship, and PIR’s renovation project continues that tradition. DC Solar will serve as the title sponsor for the modernization project, to be officially known as the “Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar.” The company will also serve as a multi-year sponsor of the redesigned midway.
“When our project is completed, we will have a venue that delivers amazing fan experiences to go along with our reputation for great racing action,” said Sperber. “We are confident The Phoenix Raceway Project powered by DC Solar will put racing in Arizona in a whole new and exciting light.”
A History of Investment, Innovation, Renovation
Changes to PIR over its more than 52-year history have included replacing the grandstand after a 1987 fire and a $10M reconfiguration of the track into a 1-mile oval in 2011. Following voter approval in 2012, the City of Avondale spent $7.2M to start creating a sports and entertainment district at PIR and to connect it to the city’s water and sewer system.
It had initially been speculated by pundits following the raceway and the sport that renovations might have been announced as part of Phoenix Raceway’s 50th anniversary season in 2014.
ISC announced approval of the project on Nov. 30. The Phoenix Raceway Project powered by DC Solar is part of ISC’s FY 2017-2021 capital allocation plan, which calls for the company to reinvest a total $500M across its 13 raceways.
The report from Sporting News cited Derek Muldowney, President of Design and Development for ISC in saying ROSSETTI will team with DLR Group for this project and that Barton Malow will play “a minor role” in association with Okland. That information was not able to be independently confirmed by press time.
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