Phoenix to keep 2 cup races
Although a final decision isn't expected until late summer, Phoenix International Raceway appears likely to keep two NASCAR Sprint Cup events next year.
International Speedway Corp., which owns PIR and 11 other tracks, is expected to ask NASCAR to transfer a date so Kansas Speedway can have a second event. A hotel-casino is to be built near Kansas Speedway.
PIR, plus Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., and Martinsville (Va.) Speedway have been mentioned as tracks which might lose a Cup race.
"All the tracks, including Daytona, have one-year deals," PIR President Bryan Sperber said. "I'm always worried, and we're always trying to do the best job we can for the fans and the series.
"Having said that, I think the state and the Valley have demonstrated a terrific level of support for both races. Some of the tracks that were awarded a second date, frankly, struggled. If you look at the community support, the sponsors and teams are happy to come to Phoenix twice a year, the television networks love it, you add up all those things, and I think we make a good case that Phoenix deserves to have two dates."
NASCAR President Mike Helton told The Republic that ISC has not yet formally requested a change.
"As I sit here today, I don't know what their request might look like," Helton said before Saturday's Subway Fresh Fit 600.
"I like the Phoenix area. A lot of other people do. From the standpoint of a sports league, it's a great sports town. We've been very pleased."
Next year's spring race could be scheduled for March or April. A good sign for Valley fans: ISC is considering major improvements at PIR in the next few years, including repaving the 1-mile oval, which hasn't happened since the early 1990s. Arizona Central