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DATE News (chronologically)
10/04/12
nascar
NASCAR’s Mexico Toyota Series to hold race at Phoenix Raceway
Federico Alaman, managing director of the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series and Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan Sperber shake hands on the agreement.
Randall Bohl/Phoenix International Raceway
NASCAR long ago expanded beyond its Southern base to become a national sport. Now, Phoenix International Raceway is looking south of the border as a way to expand its local fan base.

NASCAR’s Mexico Toyota Series will come to PIR on March 1, 2013, marking the first time that tour will race outside of Mexico and making it that much more likely that there will never be space on the Phoenix calendar for a return of the IndyCar series.  With another race now tugging at the wallets of the Phoenix fan base, we would expect less than 10,000 to show up for an IndyCar race.  IndyCar missed their window by not getting their foot in the door in 2013.

PIR President Bryan Sperber said at a Tuesday news conference one reason for the new race is to help boost Arizona in the American-Latino community.

“I don’t think it’s a secret that Arizona’s image, nationally, has taken a few hits because of political circumstances, particularly around immigration,” he said. “This race is a great opportunity to show that sports can bring people together.

Alaman and Sperber sign the agreement.
Randall Bohl/Phoenix International Raceway
“Through TV and media, people around the country will see that Arizona is a friendly place that is very welcoming to people of all walks of life, backgrounds, and cultural persuasions. The business and political leaders we’ve spoken to on both sides of the border are excited about what this could do.”

The event will consist of a 50-lap opening segment, followed by a 10-minute break when crews can work on the cars, and conclude with another 25 laps. The Nationwide Series race will be at PIR on March 2, with the Sprint Cup’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 on March 3.

The race will be televised in the U.S. (in both English and Spanish), Mexico and Latin America.

Hispanics comprise about 10-12 percent of the track’s Sprint Cup race attendance and 30 percent of the local TV audience, according to Sperber. “Our hope is some of those potential fans might take a look at what we do,” he said. “My experience has been that, if we can get folks to the racetrack, they become fans.

“We think there’s potential business-to-business opportunities, as well, because Arizona has a lot of trade relations with Mexico. This race could serve as a marketing platform for companies that are looking to do business in the U.S.”

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