NASCAR Roars into Phoenix
Phoenix has played host to a variety of sporting events over the years from the Super Bowl to most recently WrestleMania as well as NBA All Star Games and the Fiesta and Insight Bowls among others. However, each year, Phoenix International Raceway holds several NASCAR races.
This year, from April 8-10, Phoenix International Raceway is hosting the Subway Fresh Fit 600™ event. PHX Sky Harbor is expecting an increase of more than 12,000 passengers departing over the course of this event. In order to be prepared, PHX Sky Harbor will have extra staff available to assist departing travelers. This includes extra operations assistants and security guards. Volunteer Navigators will also provide additional assistance on the curbs for those travelers flying out of Phoenix. And, signs will be placed at the Security Checkpoints to help travelers see what NASCAR items they can place in their carry-on baggage.
Travelers should be aware of these important tips:
- NASCAR programs must be placed in your carry-on bags.
- The following items are prohibited: tools, tire irons, oil cans, tires, bumpers and engine additives.
- If you want to rent a car at PHX Sky Harbor, make reservations in advance for the best price and selection as sometimes depending on how busy the Valley is, selection is limited for walk-up customers.
- For additional travel tips, check out the Travel Tips section of our website.
But it is also important to note that Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is not the only airport in the Valley of the Sun that plays a significant role with these NASCAR events. In fact, did you know that Goodyear Airport, owned and operated by the City of Phoenix, is located only 7 miles from Phoenix International Raceway (PIR)? Because of this, Goodyear Airport sees approximately fifty percent of the drivers and team coming into the Valley of the Sun.
Barney Helmick, who has been the Goodyear Airport Manager and is currently acting as the Deer Valley Airport Manager, said that the Goodyear Airport, which is a general aviation airport, has had a strong relationship with NASCAR since they started coming to the area in the early 1980s. In fact, in the past Goodyear and the City of Phoenix ran the fueling operations for NASCAR flights. Helmick said fuel sales for one race were equal to approximately five weeks of regular sales. And, staff also worked a lot of overtime parking planes, lining up rental cars, organizing catering, providing directions, as well as working on security, landscaping, and maintenance. Today, a private company, LuxAir, provides these services for the flight crews and Goodyear Airport staff focuses on daily operations of running the airport.
“We still gear up for the race day to assure the safest operation possible,” Helmick said. “Our tower also works to coordinate with Phoenix Tracon and Albuquerque Center to make departures for the teams as seamless as possible. A lot of work goes into making sure the time NASCAR spends at GYR is the best they can experience.”
But, as Helmick says, the race doesn’t end at the checkered flag. “Drivers take helicopters to the various airports after the race to catch a flight back to their home bases to save every minute. They have very little down time during the season.”
And, because PIR is so close to Goodyear Airport, it is a common track for testing both before and during the season. “For this reason, we will see drivers pop in and out all year,” Helmick said. “It is amazing how busy the drivers and teams are with sponsorship commitments, special events, testing, qualifying and the shortest amount of time is the actual race. There are two races a year in Phoenix and Goodyear works our year-round both events.”