20 Cities in 20 Days: Big changes coming to PIR

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It’s tough to talk about Avondale without talking about Phoenix International Raceway. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/PIR) It’s tough to talk about Avondale without talking about Phoenix International Raceway. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5/PIR)
PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez told us the grandstands will be bigger and better than before. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez told us the grandstands will be bigger and better than before. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
The project actually started back in 2011 when the track itself was replaced. Now it’s time for things the fans will notice, starting with new grandstands. (Source: PIR) The project actually started back in 2011 when the track itself was replaced. Now it’s time for things the fans will notice, starting with new grandstands. (Source: PIR)
Fans will also get a better chance to meet their favorite drivers using a new underground tunnel. (Source: PIR) Fans will also get a better chance to meet their favorite drivers using a new underground tunnel. (Source: PIR)
Fresquez says all of these changes were a long time coming and will be complete in November of 2018. (Source: PIR) Fresquez says all of these changes were a long time coming and will be complete in November of 2018. (Source: PIR)
AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

It’s tough to talk about Avondale without talking about Phoenix International Raceway. It is, perhaps, the biggest destination in that city drawing crowds in the tens of thousands every race weekend.

For more than 50 years, Zoomtown USA, as it’s known, has gone relatively untouched, but that’s about to change; the racetrack is getting a facelift.

The project actually started back in 2011 when the track itself was replaced. Now it’s time for things the fans will notice, starting with new grandstands.

[SLIDESHOW: Big changes coming to PIR]

PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez told us the grandstands will be bigger and better than before.

“The Bobby Allison grandstands are basically between turn one and two, they're about eight stories tall," said Fresquez. "So, they're going to continue on past turn two to what we call the dogleg which is the exit of turn two,”

[SPECIAL SECTION: Wake Up Arizona's 20 Cities in 20 Days]

He told us these new grandstands will provide more comfortable seating, with fold-down chairs, and something we can’t get enough of here in the Valley, shade.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Wake Up Arizona's 20 Cities in 20 Days]

“High noon, and then afternoon, as the sun sets, because the grandstands are going to be on the west side of the track, all of them will be shaded at a certain point,” said Fresquez.

Unlike the current grandstands, these new ones will have elevators, escalators, and stairs, taking fans to a more convenient mezzanine level for food and restrooms.

[RELATED: Phoenix Raceway lifts veil on huge race track redevelopment]

Another major change: a new, relocated start/finish line.

The current line sits directly underneath the press box on the straight away. The new line moves about a quarter way around the track, to just past turn two, setting PIR away from the pack.

[MORE: New pedestrian tunnel coming to Phoenix Raceway]

“It'll be the first track like that, not only for the finish of the races will it be unique but also for the restarts of races,” said Fresquez.

Fans will also get a better chance to meet their favorite drivers using a new underground tunnel.

The tunnel was dug during the track repaving in 2011 and is currently being excavated for use. Fresquez says it’ll be another fan-first for race fans.

[READ MORE: Clubs, escalators, high-end fan experiences highlight PIR renovations]

“It's going to be an excellent area for fans to get from fan midway into the infield," said Fresquez. "The fan experience in the infield is going to be like no other. One of the coolest aspects of that is basically there'd be nothing separating the fan from the drivers in the garage area.”

Fresquez says all of these changes were a long time coming and will be complete in November of 2018.

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