CIRCUITS: PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Name: Phoenix International Raceway
Although there had been racing on ovals in the Phoenix area in the 1950s it was not until 1964 that Phoenix International Raceway was built in the shadow of the Sierra Estrella Mountains to the west of the city. PIR is now in the outer suburbs of the fast-expanding Arizona city. The track hosted its first USAC Indycar races in 1964 with AJ Foyt winning the 100-mile event and Lloyd Ruby a 200-miler but it remained underdeveloped. It continued to hold two events a year into the 1980s while there were also smaller events on a road course which ran inside and around it. This has not been used since the 1980s and a smaller infield road course has also fallen by the wayside. The one-mile oval, however, has been a big success. It is fast and very demanding for the drivers as there is rarely time to relax as they threat their way through the traffic.
The track was acquired by Emmett "Buddy" Jobe in 1985 and he began an expansion program which raised the number of seats from 10,000 to around 65,000. In 1988, after considerable investment, Jobe landed a round of the NASCAR Winston Cup which guaranteed the track's success for the first time in its history.
CART was dropped from the PIR calendar in 1994 and replaced by the Indy Racing League. The track was later acquired from Jobe by the International Speedway Corporation.