At the start of 1989 Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone negotiated a five-year deal with the city of Phoenix, Arizona, to run a street race in the city's downtown area. The intention was to use the race to promote Phoenix and liven up its image as a place where people went to retire. Local interest was virtually non-existent, however, and the crowds stayed in the rich suburbs when F1 arrived for the first time in the baking heat of the midsummer of 1989. Alain Prost won a dominant victory for McLaren.
The following year the race was moved to be the opening event but the city failed to react again and missed an exciting battle between Ayrton Senna's McLaren and new boy Jean Alesi in a Tyrrell. Senna duly drew away to win the race. He did so again at the start of 1991, but after that F1 left and never returned.