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
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It’s official - Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Chevy for Team Penske, is the new “Speed King” of Phoenix International Raceway.
Phoenix International Raceway will celebrate its rich history of IndyCar competition by saluting many legendary drivers and team owners Saturday, April 2 before the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, the first Verizon IndyCar Series event at the one-mile desert oval since 2005.
Phoenix International Raceway is encouraging fans to prepare for race day traffic by arriving early and enjoying the full racing experience during the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix event weekend, April 1-2. In addition to the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Saturday, April 2 at 6:15 p.m. (local), the race weekend at PIR will also include the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race on Saturday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m., and practice and qualifying for both races on Friday, April 1.
Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber today announced newly-opened Desert Diamond West Valley as the title sponsor for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to the Valley of the Sun this spring. The Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix takes place under the lights Saturday evening, April 2, 2016.