SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 Start

This week, Phoenix International Raceway announced its 2011 schedule and the news was good: PIR will maintain two Sprint Cup weekends in the face of widespread schedule realignment by NASCAR. With sweeping changes to the entire NASCAR schedule – adjustments that saw multiple dates swapped between multiple facilities – Phoenix comes out as the only race track in the West to host two Sprint Cup events.

How big is it for Phoenix and Arizona to host two NASCAR weekends annually? Super Bowl big. Consider this: Past studies conducted by Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business for PIR have indicated that the economic impact of hosting two Sprint Cup weekends annually in Phoenix exceeds $400 million.

“The State of Arizona is well aware of the tremendous economic impact that comes along with hosting a NASCAR weekend in the Valley of the Sun,” PIR President Bryan Sperber said. “The fact that Phoenix International Raceway has been confirmed to host two Sprint Cup events provides a shot-in-the-arm for our local economy at a time when it’s most needed.”

While PIR will be hosting two Sprint Cup weekends for the seventh consecutive NASCAR season in 2011, the new schedule did not come to the Valley without change. Phoenix’s first race will move from April to February 27 – one week after the season-opening Daytona 500. As part of the change, and perhaps due to chillier evening weather in February, PIR’s SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ will run at 1 p.m. instead of under-the-lights. PIR’s fall race – the Kobalt Tools 500 – maintains its spot as the semi-final race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup and will run at 1 p.m. on November 13.

While some fans have expressed concern over changes in the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ – particularly in the race’s move from night to day – Sperber says the trade for prestige of both opening and closing the West Coast portion of NASCAR’s schedule is positive. PIR now has the first non-restrictor plate race of NASCAR’s season and Phoenix will also benefit from increased TV ratings that are traditionally very high coming off the excitement of Daytona.

“Phoenix will be the first and last stop NASCAR makes in the West,” Sperber said. “It’s a great privilege for us to help celebrate the excitement of a new season in February and to help crown season champions as the year winds down with the Chase in November.”

Phoenix International Raceway has also finalized its fan schedule of events for the Nov. 11-14 Kobalt Tools 500 event weekend, including races in four different NASCAR series: Sprint Cup, Nationwide, Camping World Trucks and the K&N Pro Series West. As part of a date move to Nov. 13 for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season finale – a race that will be part of double-header action following PIR’s WYPALL* 200 in the Nationwide Series – fans will be offered unprecedented West Series garage access.

View 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 Fan Schedule Online

Download/Print 2010 Kobalt Tools 500 Fan Schedule (PDF)

Teams from the K&N Pro Series West will qualify on Thursday, Nov. 11. After qualifying, the entire West Series garage will move into PIR’s interactive midway for the West Series Garage Open House from 12-5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12. As part of this first-ever midway garage open house at PIR, all fans in attendance that day will have an opportunity to see K&N Pro Series West cars up close and will be able to interact with teams and drivers. All PIR patrons will also be able to take in the official pre-race inspection process, autograph sessions, driver/team Q&A’s and more. PIR Season Ticket holders will be granted early entry to the open house at 11:30 a.m.

“We are excited to be able to host the season finale for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West at PIR and crown the 2010 champion – the Kobalt Tools 500 weekend has always had championship implications across all four NASCAR divisions,” Sperber said. “Additionally, our date change for this event has allowed us to create a first: the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West garage in the Midway where fans can mingle with drivers and teams.”

The culmination of Phoenix’s November NASCAR event weekend will be the Kobalt Tools 500 Sprint Cup Series race, slated to begin at 1 p.m. local time on Sunday, Nov. 14. The last three fall Sprint Cup winners at PIR have gone on to win the Chase for the Sprint Cup and – as the semi-final stop in NASCAR’s version of playoffs – fans can expect more championship implications at Phoenix in 2010. Spectator gates open at 8 a.m. for the Kobalt Tools 500.

On Saturday, Nov. 13, the WYPALL* 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race is set to get underway at 2:30 p.m., followed by the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season finale at 6 p.m. Spectator gates will open at 9 a.m. and fans will have the opportunity to view NASCAR Nationwide Series qualifying at 10:05 a.m., along with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practices at 11:30 a.m. and 12:50 p.m.

Competition on Friday, Nov. 12, will feature the Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race beginning at 6 p.m., with qualifying at 2:30 p.m. Gates will open at 10 a.m. and fans will also have the chance to watch the NASCAR Nationwide Series practices at 10 a.m. and 1:40 p.m., as well as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice at 12 p.m. and qualifying at 3:45 p.m. The aforementioned K&N Pro Series West Garage Open House also takes place from 12-5 p.m. on Friday.

Spectator gates will open to fans at noon on Thursday, Nov. 11 for the opportunity to watch NASCAR K&N Pro Series West practice and qualifying, as well as NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice. NASCAR K&N Pro Series West practice will be at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., with qualifying at 6:40 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series practice will held at 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Fans with pre-race pit passes will have access to designated pit areas on all four days of the NASCAR event weekend at PIR. Fans will be able to explore the infield from 12-7 p.m. on Thursday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. on Sunday.
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