The nearly $180 million facility redevelopment project at Phoenix International Raceway might not be the only big change eventually coming to the Avondale track.
Preliminary discussions have taken place between PIR and NASCAR about moving the track’s spring weekend to April from the mid-march March date it’s had since 2015.
Nothing is likely to happen for next year, but there’s little doubt PIR would eventually love to reclaim the mid-April Saturday evening date it enjoyed from 2005-10.
Sunday’s grandstand crowd for the Camping World 500 was estimated by azcentral sports to be 45,000, about the same as last season.
PIR competes in March with the Cactus League and numerous other sports and entertainment events. It’s the end of the winter tourism season, which typically is accompanied by peak rates for resorts and hotels in the Phoenix area.
The Valley’s March race also vies for attention with two other races in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series’ western swing, which began last week in Las Vegas and ends next Sunday in Fontana, Calif. PIR draws well from southern California; Vegas’ attractions offer race fans other options for their entertainment dollar.
PIR President Bryan Sperber and Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR vice president and chief racing development officer, were diplomatic in discussing the issue with azcentral sports.
“All year we have conversations with NASCAR about optimizing our schedule, whether it’s a date change in the future, or how we might set up a race weekend,” Sperber said. “All of that is conceptual discussions. We’re not in any position to talk about any changes. We’re not close to anything like official decisions or announcements.”
Said O’Donnell: “We are always having discussions but I’d say, short term, we like the (schedule’s) flow.”
— Arizona Republic —