In 1964, when Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) was carved out of the foothills of the Estrella Mountains, it was intended to be a new jewel in the crown of American open wheel racing. Drivers like Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt soon came to love the one-mile paved oval with the unique bend in the backstretch. Plus, they really loved coming to Phoenix, where the tourism industry was just starting to grow and its Western-style hospitality was second to none.
In 1988, when NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing came to PIR, auto racing in Phoenix really became a major sporting attraction for the "Valley of the Sun." New racing legends and legends-in-the-making like Davey Allison, Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace and the rest of NASCAR’s stars found out first-hand what their open-wheel brethren had known for years: Phoenix International Raceway is truly a great place for drivers, fans and tourists alike.
PIR has blossomed into perhaps the most storied NASCAR venue in the West, and in fact was voted “No. 2 favorite track” by NASCAR drivers in a 2007 Sports Illustrated survey. Similarly, the Phoenix area has matured into one of the most popular travel destinations not just in the Western U.S., but in the world. Full of attractions, recreation, and an average temperature of 85 degrees annually with more than 325 days of sunshine, who wouldn’t want to visit Phoenix?