The Verizon IndyCar Series will race at Phoenix International Raceway in 2016, PIR President Bryan R. Sperber and Hulman Motorsports Chief Revenue Officer Jay Frye announced at a news conference today. The Phoenix Grand Prix will take place under the lights on Saturday night, April 2, 2016.
“We are thrilled to add the Verizon IndyCar Series to the 2016 race schedule at Phoenix International Raceway,” Sperber said. “IndyCar has such a loyal and dedicated fan base in the Valley, and we look forward to bringing the fastest racing action in America and the biggest stars in open-wheel racing to Phoenix next spring.”
Tickets for the Phoenix Grand Prix went on sale this morning, with prices ranging from $35-70, and each ticket will include access to Pit Road. Tickets for children are $10; and active-duty military members and veterans will receive discounted pricing as well.
The Phoenix Grand Prix will be the second race in the 2016 schedule for the Verizon IndyCar Series, following the season opening race at St. Petersburg, Fla. on March 13. The highlight of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series schedule will be the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Sunday, May 29, and the season finale will be on September 18 in Sonoma, Calif.
“The historic significance of the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season is marked by the return of several storied venues, including Phoenix International Raceway,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, the parent of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Legendary Indy car names like Foyt, Unser, Andretti, Ruby, Rutherford, Sneva, Mears, Castroneves and Kanaan have all won at PIR in the past. It is an integral part of our sport’s rich heritage and we are quite pleased to have this great mile oval back on the schedule going forward.”
Phoenix International Raceway opened in 1964 and served primarily as an open-wheel racing facility until NASCAR made its debut in 1977. The track hosted Indy car races from 1964-2005, with many of the greatest names in racing history competing here.
Four-time Indianapolis 500 champion A.J. Foyt won the inaugural professional race at PIR and captured a total of four checkered flags here; fellow four-time Indy 500 winner Al Unser has a track-record six open-wheel wins at PIR; and four-time Indy car season champion Mario Andretti captured the last race win of his legendary career here in 1993.
Four Indianapolis 500 winners were in attendance at the announcement, including two-time winners Al Unser Jr. and Arie Luyendyk, 1983 champion Tom Sneva and 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice.
“I am so happy to see the Verizon IndyCar Series returning to Phoenix International Raceway,” said Unser Jr., who is tied for seventh on the all-time Indy car victory list with 34. “It was always one of my favorite tracks, even though I never was able to win a race there in 19 tries. Dad won there six times and Uncle Bobby won four, so the Unser name still has quite a legacy at PIR. Indy cars always put on a great show at PIR over the years and I know they will again in 2016.”
Also in attendance were 1992 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Lyn St. James, 1998 Indianapolis 500 pole sitter Billy Boat, retired open-wheel driver P.J. Jones, and one of the brightest young stars in the Verizon IndyCar Series, Josef Newgarden.
"PIR has a great history with Indy car racing, so it's fantastic that the Verizon IndyCar Series will return in 2016,” said Newgarden, who won his first two Indy car races in 2015 with CFH Racing and wound up seventh in the championship. “I haven't raced there yet but talked to drivers who have, and they say the track is built for great racing in Indy cars. I almost won on a similar short oval this year at Milwaukee, so I can't wait for the opportunity to compete for the win at the Phoenix Grand Prix in April."
The Phoenix Grand Prix will be the second of three race events on the 2016 schedule at Phoenix International Raceway. Three weeks earlier, PIR will host the Camping World 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NASCAR Weekend March 11-13, and NASCAR will return to Phoenix for the Semi-Final Race in the 2016 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup November 10-13.