PIR Teams with Rock and Roll Artist Wes Freed to Promote NASCAR's Semi-Final Showdown

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Album artist creates piece for Checker Auto Parts 500
Three divergent and wildly popular American pastimes have come together under the umbrella of Phoenix International Raceway to help promote the November 9 Checker Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil at PIR - NASCAR, art and rock and roll. Richmond-based artist/musician Wes Freed – best known for his album cover art for alt-country rockers The Drive-By Truckers (including 2008's Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, which peaked in the Billboard Top 40) – was commissioned by PIR President Bryan R. Sperber and has produced a limited edition promotional poster for Phoenix’s upcoming race in NASCAR’s Chase for the Sprint Cup. "Many NASCAR fans have come to enjoy the artwork of Wes Freed after being exposed to his work through the Drive-by Truckers," Sperber said. “We reached out to Wes and also discovered he was a huge NASCAR fan - becoming thoroughly excited when he agreed to develop a special project with us that presents his unique perspective on the excitement of NASCAR racing at Phoenix. Wes’s work of art will commemorate the Checker Auto Parts 500 in a special way and make this November’s race even more memorable.” Freed’s artistic rendition of PIR features an Arizona flag in the sky melting seamlessly into a breathtaking sunset over the Estrella Mountains. Fans donning traditional NASCAR gear cheer raucously alongside cacti and the raceway’s famous blue wall as a car zips its way around a portion of PIR’s historic 1-mile oval. The piece incorporates not only the famous traits of Phoenix International Raceway and NASCAR, but does so in the macabre and enchanting style that Freed has become known for in his album covers, comic strips and commissioned works. "Racin', rock and roll, and art makin' are alike in that in each field, to make it work on any level you just gotta throw yourself into it 100 percent and pray you don't hit the wall,” said Freed. “All three endeavors are driven by blind passion. “It's been a blast working with all the folks at PIR - they're 'thinking outside of the box’ types, and I like that a lot. I was able to make it out there in March for the Sprint Cup testing to get a feel for the place. I got to check out the view from the hillside and grandstands, and see the garage and press areas up close. It's an amazing facility. “I really don't think you can make a painting of a race track just by looking at photos, you need to have a hot dog and a cold beer from their concession stand! I can't wait to see the fall race at PIR.” In the early 1980s, Wes Freed formed and became the frontman for several bands, including the punk rock Mudd Helmut, the hillbilly soul of Dirtball, and country-influenced and critically acclaimed band, The Shiners. Through his music career Freed formed a friendship with the Drive-by Truckers and designed artwork for their ambitious Southern Rock Opera. The album was widely praised after its release in 2001, earning four stars from longtime Rolling Stone critic David Fricke. Freed also painted and designed the album covers and booklets for the band's 2003 release, Decoration Day, 2004’s The Dirty South, 2006's A Blessing and a Curse, and 2008's Brighter Than Creation's Dark. Freed stopped actively pursuing a musical career around 2001, partially to be able to concentrate more on his artwork. With his weekends free for the first time in his adult life, he was able to become a full-time NASCAR fan. He has been an avid student of Appalachian history for decades, with a heavy leaning toward moonshining, and stock car racing, and both subjects are frequently featured in Freed's artwork. One of his favorite memories and crowning achievements is having had his signature "Drive-by Truckers" lettering featured on the No. 07 Jack Daniels Sprint Cup car, driven at the time by NASCAR driver and former World of

Outlaws Champion, Dave Blaney. For more information on Wes Freed, visit www.wesfreed.com. Tickets for the November NASCAR event weekend at PIR can be purchased online at www.racetickets.com, or over the phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223). Be a part of it all at PIR!

Related PIR News

  • 1/29/15


    Denny Hamlin took advantage of some of that free time to hit the links in the Waste Management Phoenix Open Annexus Pro-Am on Wednesday. Hamlin, the driver of the No. 11 FedEx Toyota Camry, was grouped with fellow FedEx spokesman and Pro Football Hall of Fame candidate Jerome Bettis and defending PGA TOUR FedEx Cup winner Billy Horschel.

  • 1/27/15


    Phoenix International Raceway and NASCAR have announced that the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CampingWorld.com 500, scheduled for Sunday, March 15, will kick off at 12:30 p.m. MST, while the NASCAR XFINITY Series race is scheduled for 1 p.m. MST on Saturday, March 14. Both races will broadcast live on FOX. The Toyota 120 NASCAR Mexico Series Race on Friday, March 13, is set for 7 p.m. MST on NBC Universo.

  • 1/13/15


    In an effort to enrich communication with fans, Phoenix International Raceway launched a new design for its website, PhoenixRaceway.com, to kick off the 2015 season. Featuring a data-driven, more engaging user experience, the new site includes a crisp, vibrant design as well as streamlined navigation and enhanced fan content.

  • 11/12/14


    Kevin Harvick drove his No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet car to Gatorade Victory Lane in Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, but the race itself was a winner for Phoenix International Raceway. The track sold out of grandstand seats a week before the race and sold out of reserved camping spots more than two months early.

  • 11/09/14


    Kevin Harvick dominated Sunday’s Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500, leading 264 of the 312 laps in his No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet on the way to Gatorade Victory Lane to conclude Phoenix International Raceway’s 50th anniversary season. The win clinched a place for Harvick in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Round next Sunday in Miami.


© 2015 Phoenix International Raceway


ISC Track Sites