Monday, July 14, 1997 – The battle for track ownership took another step forward as International Speedway Corp. announced the purchase of Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. The facility boasts a 1-mile asphalt layout and has hosted one NASCAR premier series event annually since 1988. According to reports, the purchase price was $46 million. It was announced that track owner and president Buddy Jobe would remain as president of the facility.
• The purchase increased ISC’s track ownership to five facilities. In addition to PIR, at that time the Daytona Beach, Fla. group also owned Daytona International Speedway, Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International. The company also had an 11 percent interest in Penske Motorsports, which owned three facilities, including two that hosted NASCAR premier series events.
• In making the announcement, ISC chairman and CEO Bill France Jr., acknowledged interest in possibly building tracks in Chicago, Kansas City and Sacramento, Calif.
• The move evened track ownership for Cup facilities. Speedway Motorsports Inc., founded by Bruton Smith, owned Charlotte Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Texas Motor Speedway. In addition, his group held co-ownership of North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway.
• PIR executives said the sale would allow grandstand seating at the facility to be increased from 65,000 to 90,000. Estimated attendance for the ’96 NASCAR event was 102,000.