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 email@example.com. Interested sponsors may reach Jon Sata at the same phone number or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Billboard chart topper and DEL Records/Empire Productions artist Luis Coronel will be the honorary pace car driver for the Toyota 120 NASCAR Mexico Series race on Friday, March 13, Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber announced today. Fans of Coronel should plan on arriving before 7 p.m. PST to see him take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval.
Race weekend entertainment for the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will feature a new spin on driver introductions as world-renowned DJ Michaelis applies his own flair, mixing all music related to the PIR “Like A Boss” marketing campaign.
What has Kevin Harvick done at Phoenix? Quite literally, a lot, and it’s being celebrated by JR Motorsports with a creative, new video at JRMRacing.com and by Phoenix International Raceway with a special ticket package for its March race weekend.
Two-time Olympian and current UFC star Dan Henderson will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car at the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15. Henderson’s appearance was the result of a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment. As the official pace car driver, the 44-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval.
Phoenix International Raceway was honored twice in recent weeks by NASCAR for outstanding work in the areas of marketing and community outreach. Earlier this year, PIR's 50th Anniversary was named NASCAR's Marketing Campaign of the Year and the PIR Track Services team received NASCAR's Track Services Teamwork Award; and today, PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez received NASCAR's Industry Ambassador Award.