Phoenix announces modernization plan

On Monday, Phoenix International Raceway announced plans to modernize the track through a $178 million project with hopes of being ready by late 2018. Known as the Phoenix Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar, the effort will feature a new infield and change in track layout. The track’s 2017 events, including NASCAR and IndyCar races, will not be affected by the renovation.

In the infield, the track will construct a tunnel underneath the track connecting to the grandstands. A Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Fan Zone will also be built to improve the fan experience. Other changes include moving Victory Lane, upgrading the infield care and media centers, and redesigning the Midway zone.

The track layout will see a change as the start/finish line is moved to what is currently turn two, entering the dogleg. Drivers like Joey Logano expressed his interest in the new location, believing it would lead to more exciting restarts.

“There will be high-energy restarts,” he stated. “You see us pull that dive bomb move and cut off the dogleg quite a bit (now) which makes turn three pretty interesting. There will definitely be drivers short-cutting that.”

In a promo video, fellow drivers Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson and Austin Dillon expressed their support for the move. “The new Phoenix Raceway is going to take racing there from good to great,” Johnson added, while IndyCar driver Alexander Rossi commented, “If we needed any more of an invitation to throw it down inside of (turn) one, it will be there now.”

The Bobby Allison Grandstand will be joined by a new grandstand in turn two, with the currently frontstretch grandstand being demolished. With the grandstand move, fans will be facing away from the sun. PIR intends to replace the bleacher-style seating with individual seats as the seating capacity is decreased from 51,000 to 45,000.

“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,” track president Bryan R. Sperber said. “By shifting the start/finish line to Phoenix Raceway’s famed dog leg, fans will be perfectly positions to watch one of the most exciting turns in motorsports.

The project is expected to be completed in November 2018.

Featured image courtesy of Phoenix International Raceway

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