Phoenix International Raceway Hits A Grand Slam For Nascar Fans

Angela WolfContributor IApril 3, 2009

AVONDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 11: A general view while cars race during the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Checker Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on November 11, 2007 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

In bad economic times, Phoenix International Raceway has come through for the fans. Adding numerous activities, cutting prices, and creating one of the best NASCAR racing experiences for their fans is the goal they were determined to meet this year and it looks like they will succeed.

I was honored to speak to the president of Phoenix International Raceway, Bryan Sperber, and he did agree that everyone in the racing business is feeling an impact because of the economy.

Arizona has been hit drastically by this failed economy. Some homes have lost 50 percent of their value and unemployment is growing fast.

Many people are struggling and are losing their homes. NASCAR fans who have already purchased their tickets when times were good are having a hard time affording the trip alone to the track, even though they already have the tickets paid for.

Sperber assured me that the staff has been preparing for this, and now they have even more things to offer during the upcoming race and have lowered some prices.

Many of the NASCAR drivers say this is their favorite track and many fans feel the same. The one-mile, tri-oval track has been there since 1964, and every year people have seen improvements.

But this year is incredible.

Some changes include more driver appearances, cuts in beverage costs, value meals available, ride alongs at the track for discount prices, raffles for garage tours for the loyal season ticket holders and fans who have renewed their tickets. These are only a few additions.

Families who want to attend the Nationwide race will have tickets available for only $7.00 and children’s value meals offered for only $5.00.

This cost is comparable to going to the movies, but you’re going to see LIVE RACING and the kids will have the time of their life.

You can bring in water or Gatorade or alike beverages (no alcohol) into the track as long as it is not in a glass container and families can bring in a lunch if need be.

Bashas Grocery has a full size store in a tent located on the track property, which is very convenient. They do not increase costs to the fans just because of the race. In fact they have very reasonable prices and some of the best BBQ around. Bashas opens early and closes late, and you may see one of your favorite drivers signing autographs at the store.

Sperber went on saying that this reminds him of long ago when his father took him to the Firecracker 400 at Daytona when he was a boy. Times were hard back then too.

They had discounts for that race making it more affordable to families with children. Traffic was not as bad, it was a shorter race, and it was more accessible for families to attend.

Besides enjoying the Nationwide race, there are numerous vendors and sponsors providing activities the kids can enjoy, which are located right next to the track. A family can make a day out of it. It will be something they will never forget.

Sperber has not forgotten the loyal season ticket holders and the people who renew their tickets from year to year. Season tickets holders save about 15 percent.

They can also purchase additional tickets for friends and family at this lower price if they have people from out-of-town who may want to join them. 

They have added a separate phone line for season ticket holders that makes it convenient for them if they have any questions.

Also an addition is the "First to Know" program making sure the Loyal Season Ticket holders are updated before anyone else about upcoming events or activities. They are offering more drivers appearances, and a raffle for 25 people to get a garage tour.

Twelve lucky people will also have a chance to wave the green flag.

P.I.R. has added the new Budweiser Roll Bar. There will be a lot of live entertainment, day and night, throughout the facility.

The Speed Cantina will be offering a new menu including such things as Jimmy Spencer Nachos and Wendy Venturini Martinies. Jimmy Spencer, Wendy and the gang are often spotted at the Speed Cantina eating some of the wonderful food they offer here.

Sperber said they are working very closely with the Phoenix Convention Visitors Bureau to make sure people coming from out of town are able to get accommodations and these costs seemed to have lowered this year.

Sperber said that he wants people to be able to come to the race, enjoy, relax, not worry, and witness live one of the greatest sports we have.

I asked him in one word how he would describe Phoenix International Raceway.

He said to me: “Well, I would actually like you to answer that question because I want to get a fans point of view on this." 

I told him I would think about this and let him know. I did a little poll on this and asked many of my friends and family who attend the race and we all came up with the same word: "FUN."

Be sure to try to make it to the April races, because there is no doubt in my mind you will definitely have the time of your life.

If you can't make it to this race, remember Phoenix International Raceway is loved by so many that they have another race in November, which is equally exciting.

In the heat of the Chase this is one of the races that helps determine who will be NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series Champion.

Take it from me, I once had an opinion that NASCAR doesn't care much about what their fans might want and need when attending a race.

Phoenix International Raceway has changed my mind because they do care about the fans.

After speaking with Sperber, he seemed very sincere about wanting to make sure the fans get an even "bigger bang for their buck" and he and his team at P.I.R. are offering more instead of less this year.

Thanks, Ang