SBD/October 2, 2012/Events and Attractions

Phoenix Int'l Raceway To Be First U.S. Track To Host NASCAR Mexico Series Race

Phoenix Int'l Raceway will become the first U.S. track to host the Mexico-based NASCAR Toyota Series. The series, which features Mexican drivers and teams, is in its 10th season and will open its ‘13 season in Phoenix March 1. PIR President Bryan Sperber said, “It’s no secret that reaching the American Latino market is an important initiative for not only PIR but NASCAR as a whole. We believe this will give us an important platform to reach out to the Latino community and have some folks try us out and come to the event, try us on television and hopefully watch more NASCAR racing.” Sperber said that the track will promote the race to Phoenix’ Mexican-American community by working with the local Hispanic chamber of commerce and business leaders. It also plans to bring in celebrities who resonate with Mexican Americans like boxer Fernando Vargas, who will drive the pace car before the race. Sperber said that the track is working to sell Spanish and English-language TV rights in the U.S. The NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series will follow the race at Phoenix with 14 races at eight tracks in Mexico in '13 (Tripp Mickle, SportsBusiness Journal).

PART OF THE PLAN: NASCAR VP/Regional & Touring Series George Silbermann said that the race “further develops a vision” by Chair & CEO Brian France to “offer racing that appeals to U.S. Latinos.” Silbermann yesterday said, “Mexico has a long and rich motorsports heritage but not necessarily in stock car racing. The whole Mexican motorsports culture has followed either open-wheel racing or sports car racing. Brian made it very clear that a strategic goal of his was to reach a growing fan base and connect with Mexican-American fans here in the states.” The AP’s Jenna Fryer noted the race at PIR is “a one-year agreement, per NASCAR guidelines.” But Silbermann said that it is “part of a long-term plan for NASCAR.” Silbermann: "From a business standpoint, a lot of the series sponsors and partners see the value of a race in the U.S., and everyone sees the value in building the sport among Spanish speaking audiences" (AP, 10/1).
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