ERIK JONES AND RICKY STENHOUSE JR. JOIN ISM RACEWAY IN PHOENIX FOR NASCAR GOES WEST MEDIA DAY
In front of the picturesque backdrop of Camelback Mountain, ISM Raceway and NASCAR kicked off the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season with the third-annual NASCAR Goes West Media Day at Mountain Shadows resort in Paradise Valley.
Track presidents from ISM Raceway, Auto Club Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as well as Cup Series drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Erik Jones, spoke to the media about the upcoming season and the three-week stretch in March where NASCAR brings the excitement of racing to the West Coast.
The major topic of discussion was the ISM Raceway Project Powered by DC Solar and the improvements being made for the fans. The project will be completed in November 2018, but many elements will be available to fans in March, such as the new Wheelhouse for entertainment and socializing, which houses the redesigned ROLL-BAR, and the escalators in Canyon 1 which will provide easier access to the grandstands for fans.
Changes to the competition will also be made during the project. The TicketGuardian 500 on March 11 will be the final MENCS race on the current ISM Raceway configuration. In November, the start-finish line will be moved to what is currently Turn 2, near the dogleg, and the restart zone will be located in the turn. This means restarts and finishes will be more dramatic than ever, as drivers choose the best strategy to grab the win.
“Some of the restarts are going to be fun to see,” said Stenhouse Jr. “Probably the first 10 rows, the top 20, will probably be in a good position on the restart. Once you’re further back and start in the middle of 3 and 4, it will be difficult turning, getting through the corner and restart at the same time. I think those are all challenges that make racing good and fun and definitely interesting.”
In November, fans will see the brand new infield Fan Zone, featuring a Cup garage with more fan access than ever before.
“When fans arrive in the Fan Zone, they’re going to notice, first and foremost, is that it’s not a typical working garage,” said ISM Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber. “It’s going to feel very much like an entertainment zone.”
Fans will be able to view the driver’s meeting in the new media center, and watch the teams work on the race cars during practice sessions in the upgraded garage. They will even be able to visit Gatorade Victory Lane. The new ISM Raceway will provide fans with an experience like no other in motorsports.
“I think NASCAR is unique in a lot of ways, and one of them being that fans do get to get so close to the action,” said Jones. “Not only during the weekend, but right before the race. You don’t see guys getting close to Tom Brady before the Super Bowl, but you get to see it in NASCAR. I think that’s a pretty special part of the sport. Every time the track can take that initiative and really engage fans even more is a step forward.”
Tickets are available for the TicketGuardian 500 race weekend on March 9-11 online at ISMRaceway.com, by phone at 1-866-408-RACE (7223) or in person at the ISM Raceway ticket office.