Another big event for Arizona: ISM Raceway lands NASCAR’s Championship Weekend

NASCAR announced on Tuesday that ISM Raceway will host the Cup Series championship race in 2020. (Photo by John Mendoza/Cronkite News)

AVONDALE – Arizona has added another championship to its sports resume.

NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, alongside Governor Doug Ducey and ISM Raceway President Julie Giese, announced Tuesday that the sport’s Championship Weekend for the 2020 season will be held at ISM Raceway.

The announcement comes less than a year after the $178 million renovation of the track was completed. The changes included a one-of-a-kind fan zone on the infield and updates to the grandstand, moves geared toward bettering the fan experience.

“We know from experience that racing here puts on exciting races,” Helton said. “With ISE’s investment on the new ISM Raceway, they have created a very fan-friendly (event at) one of the most beautiful stadiums in sports around the country.”

Governor Doug Ducey praised Arizona’s big events like the Super Bowl, College Football Playoff championship game and Final Four. In 2020, NASCAR’s Championship Weekend will be added to that list. (Photo by John Mendoza/Cronkite News)

The track already hosts the Ticket Guardian 500, which will remain, and the second-to-last race weekend. The changes come as part of widespread revamping of the season’s schedule, including having the championship race take place at a track other than Miami Homestead for the first time since 2002.

The news adds to the championship pedigree that the Phoenix area has established over the last few years, with Ducey calling Arizona a “premier destination for the biggest events in all of sports.” Since 2015, the area has hosted Super Bowl XLIX, the 2016 College Football Playoff championship game and the 2017 NCAA Final Four, with each of those events flooding Arizona with fans. Glendale has also been awarded Super Bowl LVII, which is scheduled to be played in 2023.

“I also want to let every NASCAR fan know that Arizona is committed to creating a championship experience that you will never forget,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of experience doing it.”

That fan experience Ducey referenced is a large part of what helped Arizona establish itself as a destination for title games. Each of the events held in the last few years have had specially curated fan events including concerts, festivities and more across the metropolitan area, giving visiting fans an added experience to complement the game.

Ducey is committed to give NASCAR the same level of experience as these other events have received in an effort to keep the race in Arizona for years to come. The inaugural Championship Weekend at the track will take place November 6-8 of 2020.

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