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PIR set for big NASCAR weekend

This is a big weekend of racing coming up at Phoenix International Raceway.

Three days of racing starts today with the Lucas Oil 150 truck series race. Things really pick up tomorrow.

"Saturday, we've got a double header of races," said Zach Emmons, the communications director for PIR. "They start at 2 p.m. with the Servicemaster 200, followed by the Casino Arizona 50. Sunday is the big day with the Advocare 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series. It's the semifinal of the chase for the champion of the Sprint Cup. It should be a great day out here."

Emmons says there will be live entertainment throughout the weekend, with a couple of acts set to play on Sunday.

"Fuel, one of the most popular rock bands of the past few years, is playing at the Budweiser Roll-bar stage," Emmons said. (Country singer) Steven Cochran will play a pre-race concert right there on the track. It's the first time we've ever done that in PIR's history."

A crowd of 80,000 is expected for Sunday's race. Thousands of people are already camped out in their trailers and RVs at the track. They need a place to go grocery shopping, and PIR has it.

"Safeway has actually stepped up to the plate and produced a grocery store on site," Emmons said. "It's about 17,000 square feet when you count the whole shopping space, and they've got everything that our fans could need."

Safeway is taking over the space that used to be a Bashas' store.

Grandstand seats are sold out for Sunday's race, but there are tickets still available. Click here for more information.

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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