Built in 1964 and renovated in 2017, Phoenix Raceway has provided the West Valley with more than just a sporting spectacle.
The effects of the track’s events go far beyond crowning a winner, as the raceway has provided a stimulant to the economy that has been growing every year.
The NASCAR Cup Series Championship Race is set for 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 6.
“Over 50% of our attendees are from outside the state of Arizona,” said Julie Giese, outgoing Phoenix Raceway track president.
“And, so, what that means is we have people who are traveling in. They’re using our airports. They are staying in our hotels, frequenting our restaurants, going to different stores, and putting money back into our local economy.”
Phoenix Raceway has long been supporting the West Valley economy, as it holds two Super Bowl-size events per year, in the Ruoff Mortgage Cup and the NASCAR Cup Series Championship. These events both bring upward of 40,000 NASCAR and racing fans to the West Valley, twice a year.
These massively popular weekends have been instrumental in the growth of small businesses in the area. The raceway is sponsored by locally based companies that can market their product to tens of thousands of out-of-state fans. Two of the main sponsors are the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley and the Arizona Lottery.
“This is a market that knows how to do big events,” Giese said. “And they do it incredibly well. I think they’re really proud of how well they do them.”
But the raceway still hasn’t seen its full capacity. The staff started planning for the first championship weekend in March 2019, but the event, in 2020, was hampered by the pandemic’s effects.
Still holding the event at limited capacity, it was a sting to the possible market growth. When the 2021 edition rolled around, the raceway was still bogged down by preventative measures and regulations to help public safety.
The 2022 edition will be without restrictions.
“This is our first year to really be able to do everything that we had planned and started planning back in 2019,” Giese said.
The NASCAR Cup Series Championship is the final leg of the season, as the final four drivers compete to see who will be crowned the winner. It would be common to hold the event in a bigger city, but the Phoenix Raceway belongs to Avondale and that comes with a sense of pride.
“The enthusiasm and excitement only continue to grow,” Giese said. “The support from all of the West Valley cities has not wavered. If anything, it just continues to grow. We’ve seen the benefit of that with NASCAR Championship weekend, which only leads to so many more opportunities in the years ahead, as many years as we can host championship and keep it here. The sky’s the limit, honestly.”
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