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Phoenix track celebrates milestone anniversary with NASCAR races, legendary drivers

AVONDALE, Ariz. -- It's the 50th anniversary of Phoenix International Raceway and racing royalty will be in town for the event, including racing legends Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, A.J. Foyt and the 1983 Indy 500 winner Tom Sneva from Scottsdale.

About 10,000 RVs and more than 100,000 fans have turned PIR into its own city.

Drivers will be running practice and qualifying laps Friday morning. NASCAR officials are keeping a close eye on the storms in California that will be making a run on Arizona over the weekend.

Neither Friday night's Mexico Toyota Series race nor Sunday's Profit on CNBC 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race but Saturday afternoon's Blue Jeans Go GreenTM 200 NASCAR Nationwide Series Race could be impacted.

A track spokesman, Zac Emmons, said plans are in place to deal with possible rain delays.

"We will update fans every half hour throughout any delay using our social media accounts. We have a mobile app that will be used along with text messaging. We will use our PA systems and video systems as well," he said.

Last weekend's Daytona 500 in Florida was delayed six hours because of rain. PIR has the same heavy-duty drying systems to get the track in shape after a rain. Saturday's race will be completed even if that means running into night.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.

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