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Updated Mar 1, 2013 - 5:56 pm

Some NASCAR fans complaining about Phoenix International Raceway

The new Zoomtown Market at Phoenix International Raceway is shown. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- As is the norm, thousands of NASCAR fans have formed an RV city near Phoenix International Raceway for this weekend's Subway Fresh Fit 500 race.

Most of them think PIR is great, but some are complaining this year.

Jeannie Smith and her husband Alan drove their RV here from Vermont. It's their first visit to the track, and the think the setup for RVs could be better.

"There's no electricity, there's no water," said Jeanie. "You have to use your generator or rely on battery power in the unit itself. We're doing a lot of cooking outside, and there's no TV at night."

The track also used to have a popular full service Basha's supermarket inside of a tent, complete with meat, produce and everything you'd find in a regular store.

PIR spokeswoman Jennifer Jepson said the track "decided to go a different route," and Basha's pulled its store out. PIR has replaced it with the Zoomtown Market, which has things like beer and soft drinks but it's nothing like the inventory that the Bashas had.

Linda Murphy of Ottawa, Ontario, who has been to PIR before, said the lack of a full grocery store is a big concern.

"I wish the Basha's would come back because I would have like to come back to buy some fresh meat and deli meat, and stuff like that," she said. "I would have preferred the Basha's. The Zoomtown market is okay, but if you forgot meat, you're in trouble."

Others said the prices are "twice as high" at the Zoomtown market. They're also noticing there are fewer RVers here than they've seen at past NASCAR races.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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