An ambitious and extensive renovation project costing $178 million has been unveiled by Phoenix Raceway together with its parent company, International Speedway Corporation (ISC). The modernization project will see an upgraded garage area and media centre, a revised pit lane and relocated victory lane, together with a new fan zone and pedestrian tunnel near the current Turn 2, which will connect the infield to new seating areas (boasting in-seat Wi-Fi), as well as a redesigned Midway.
Announcing the multi-year programme of changes at the 1.51 mile speedway, ISC said the ambition was to make the circuit "best in class". Other substantial changes will see a new grandstand built alongside upgraded seats in the existing Bobby Allison Grandstand (both featuring individual chair back stadium seats with armrests), complete with modern amenities such as several new escalators and elevators, additional restrooms and concessions.
Emphasising the all-change approach, the start/finish line will also be relocated in Turn 2, just before the track's well-known dog leg. The aim is to enhance the competition near one of the most challenging areas of the track, while also adding to the excitement during key race moments such as restarts and the closing laps.
"When our project is completed, we will have a venue that delivers amazing fan experiences to go along with our reputation for great racing action," said Phoenix Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber. "By shifting the start/finish line to Phoenix Raceway's famed dog leg, fans will be perfectly positioned to watch one of the most exciting turns in motorsports."
The renovations are scheduled to be completed in November 2018. DC Solar will be the title sponsor of the project, as well as the redesigned Midway.
Phoenix hosts two NASCAR weekends on the schedule, in March and November, while the Verizon IndyCar Series races under the lights at PIR in April. NASCAR star Kyle Bush, was among those supportive of the changes and keen to see how they impact on the racing action.
"It's great to see Phoenix Raceway make such a big investment to improve the experience for the fans," he said. "I'm from the West Coast and Phoenix is one of those places that always feels like home to me.
"Moving the start/finish line is a big change for all the racers that have been used to racing at Phoenix in the past; I'm looking forward to seeing how those changes might affect the racing and how the end of the races play out."
Meanwhile, Verizon IndyCar Series Driver Alexander Rossi is looking forward to it as well, saying: "Coming down the existing straightaway and now having to make the turn for the Finish Line is going to be a pretty neat experience. There really isn't anything else like it in the sport. It will force us drivers to up the ante and make some pretty tough decisions at the end of races - but it will make for some wild finishes, I'm sure."