Super Bowl Excitement Hits PIR
NBA legend Rick Barry vs. Phoenix International Raceway.
Barry was the first of several celebrities in town for the big game to take part in the Richard Petty Driving Experience program this weekend at PIR. A 15-year professional basketball veteran who once traded elbows with greats like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, Barry has certainly seen his share of the extraordinary in sports, but nothing could have prepared him for his hot laps around PIR’s 1-mile oval.
At 6’7", the 8-time NBA All-Star towered over the other drivers and riders at the RPDE’s opening session of the weekend, but surprisingly, it took little additional effort for Barry to climb into the No. 29 Shell Pennzoil Chevrolet replica car for his ride. Following his blazing tour around PIR, Barry strode confidently out of the Kevin Harvick mockup, seemingly ready to take the wheel - and maybe even drive a Sprint Cup Series race himself.
There was to be no race this weekend, but Barry did climb into the driver’s seat of the No. 43 car later in the day, in which he turned eight laps for one of the fastest sessions of the morning.
"This is such a rush,” said Barry. “It’s so cool. It’s easy!
“The hardest part of it for me was getting out of the car,” he added.
Super Bowl pre-game performer and country singer Sara Evans and personalities from ESPN are among the others that are scheduled to visit PIR during the big weekend, and Sprint Cup Series drivers Carl Edwards and J.J. Yeley are set to drop by the track as well.
Barry will be back in town February 27 and 28 as a celebrity participant in Kyle Petty’s Victory Invitational Celebrity Golf Tournament, which will raise funds for the Victory Junction Gang Camp and the Arizona State University College of Nursing &amp; Healthcare Innovation.
For more information about Kyle Petty’s Victory Invitational Celebrity Golf Tournament, visit www.phoenixraceway.com/kylepetty.
Interested participants can contact Kristie Maggs of Phoenix International Raceway at (623) 463-5400 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Interested sponsors may reach Jon Sata at the same phone number or at email@example.com.
Tickets to April 12’s SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500™ at PIR are still available, but moving quickly. More information can be found online at www.racetickets.com, at www.phoenixraceway.com, or over the phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223).
Who knows? Maybe, by then, Rick Barry will have his NASCAR license, and if he can qualify like he drove at PIR today, he could bring some NBA flavor to the 43-car field. Get your tickets and find out!
Related PIR News
Kevin Harvick did something Sunday that no driver had ever done in the 52-year history of Phoenix International Raceway. The 39-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif. scored a victory in his fourth consecutive race in the same professional series at the legendary one-mile oval in the Arizona desert, leading 224 of 312 laps to win the CampingWorld.com 500.
Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano put on a dominating display at Phoenix International Raceway in Saturday’s AXALTA Faster. Tougher. Brighter 200, the fourth race of 2015 in the NASCAR XFINITY series.
Ruben Pardo earned his first NASCAR Mexico Series win at Phoenix International Raceway in the Toyota 120 on Friday. After starting on the pole, Pardo fell as low as 12th but fought back to the front in the late stages.
Pop music sensation Tori Kelly will perform the national anthem prior to the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15, highlighting the pre-race festivities. Kelly’s performance will be included in the live national television broadcast of the race on FOX at 12:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. Eastern).
Phoenix International Raceway is encouraging fans to prepare for race day traffic by arriving early and enjoying the full NASCAR experience during the CampingWorld.com 500 event weekend, March 13-15. In addition to the CampingWorld.com 500 on Sunday, March 15 at 12:30 p.m. PST, the race weekend at PIR will include the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, March 14 at 1 p.m. PST and the Toyota 120 NASCAR Mexico Series race on Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m. PST.