If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen the article that was posted last week about Speedworld Motorplex closing its doors. The multi-use facility was one of two quarter-mile drag strips in the Phoenix area and also featured a motocross course, BMX track, paintball park, and a sand drag/mud bog course.
Now, I have received news that Phoenix’s other dragstrip at Firebird Raceway in Chandler will also be closing in March 2013. The track owners cite the end of their contract with the Gila River Indian Community as the reason for the closure.
This is a sad state of affairs for motorsports enthusiasts in Arizona. With Phoenix’s only two tracks closing, the remaining drag strip in Arizona is Southern International Raceway in Tucson.
Not only does drag racing allow a safe and controlled environment for professional an amateur racers to run their cars, it also generates income from spectators during NHRA drag racing events, which happen throughout the year.
Neither Speedworld nor Firebird’s owners have given any indication to the media that they are interested in starting a new facility. That leaves us, the sixth-most populated city in America, without a legal place to go drag racing. Are people going to make the two-hour drive to Tucson just to race? I doubt it.
This does not grant us as motorists to engage in illegal racing; there is no excuse for that. What I would like to see is for someone to step up and take over one of these two facilities, or better yet, construct a new one. PIR, are you listening?
I consider myself lucky to have run my own car down the drag strip at Speedworld several years ago. Although I had the slowest car of the night, it was a big thrill for me. There was a real feeling of excitement as you line up at the tree, mash the accelerator, and collect your time slip at the end. Everyone at the track, especially the tech inspectors, were nice and professional. It’s an experience that other people will not be able to have now.
We will keep you updated on the story as more information becomes available.
UPDATE: Firebird Raceway has re-opened as Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Drag racing and NHRA racing continues!