by Ty Nolan
(From Compete Magazine’s February 2012 issue)
Phoenix International Raceway, better known as PIR to its many fans, is gearing up for the second major race of the 2012 season immediately following the Daytona 500 in February. What many don’t realize is that PIR has a history of active outreach to the LGBT community in conjunction with Michael Myers, creator of Queers4Gears.com, the site for gay NASCAR fans. And many gay NASCAR fans will be applauding the major changes at PIR that allow for a more aggressive and exciting racing style.
New director of communications David Lockett is excited about the newly-renovated raceway, too. Completed in time for the November 2011 Kobalt Tools 500, Kasey Kahne surprised many fans with his top finish, smashing an 81-race winless streak that began after his ’09 win at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. This was his first series win for the 2011 season and his first series win at PIR.
Diehard fans will be especially interested in the outcome of the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 weekend March 3-4. This event is the kickoff to PIR’s 2012 NASCAR season and its standings will likely set the stage for leading contenders for the entire NASCAR season to come.
Lockett suggests keeping an eye on Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards. At PIR’s Kobalt 500, Gordon started off at 17th position but led in 138 of the 312 laps. And talk about “keeping an eye” on Carl Edwards, he has been one of ESPN’s featured athletes not afraid to show some skin for their famous Body Issue. The 6’1,” 185 pound Edwards finished second at the 2011 Kobalt event. ESPN reported that Edwards works out “…every day, sometimes twice, starting as early as 5:30 a.m.” Edwards says he works out because “it’s something I can do by myself, to invest in myself.”
Just a note to check your calendar if you’re a NASCAR fan since they announced the 2012 schedule will move back one week. This shifts the Daytona 500 to Sunday, February 26 and the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 to Sunday, March 4. In fact, the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 anchors a full weekend of NASCAR action at PIR March 3-4, featuring races in NASCAR’s two top series, the SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The Sprint Cup race will also take place on the 4th. Part of the weekend event will be the Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on the 3rd. Fans wanting to purchase tickets can call 866-408-RACE, log on to PhoenixRaceway.com or visit the PIR box office in Avondale, Arizona.
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