The campers have flocked to the one-mile oval in the Estrella Mountains to create the small city of ZOOMTOWN USA in Avondale, AZ, twice a year for NASCAR racing.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series arrive for their fourth race of the 2019 season at the modernized ISM Raceway. This is the second race following $178 million in renovations. The infield and grandstands are completely remodeled, along with moving the start/finish line to create more excitement on the track.
Thus far, three races have brought three different winners, three different aero-packages, three different stories. That will continue as the sport revs down Avondale Blvd.
The Arizona Bunch
Currently, two drivers from the state of Arizona are entered in the Ticket Guardian 500. Hendrick Motorsports youngster, Alex Bowman, qualified second place in the 2019 Daytona 500 and sits 12th in the points standings driving the No. 88, formerly driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr. You can hear about his thoughts on ISM Raceway and the 2019 season on his edition of ‘The Inside Lane.’ Bowman also qualified on the pole back in 2016 at ISM Raceway.
Michael McDowell runs the Front Row Motorsports No. 34 and put on a show in the Daytona 500. The Glendale native caused controversy in the Great American Race after finish fifth, the second highest finishing Ford only behind defending champ, Joey Logano, beating out other higher-funded teams such as Penske Racing and Roush-Fenway Racing. McDowell has led laps at ISM Raceway and sits 26th in points. Hear his thoughts on his home track from his edition of “The Inside Lane.’
Peace out Vegas ✌🏼 Onto the home track pic.twitter.com/LTmAR7xwnh
— Alex Bowman (@AlexBowman88) March 4, 2019
ISM Raceway History
The defending March Ticket Guardian 500 winner, Kevin Harvick, holds the most all-time wins at the Avondale track. His nine wins are more than twice that of second place, Jimmie Johnson.
November’s Can-Am 500 winner, Kyle Busch, holds the records of the youngest winner and pole sitter at ISM Raceway coming in 2005 and 2006.
The first Cup race at the track came in 1988, won by Wisconsin native, Alan Kulwicki, who hails from the same state as new track president, Julie Giese.
Don’t be surprised if someone works their way through the field to win the race. Half of the Cup races at ISM Raceway have been won by drivers who started outside the top ten.
#TBT (11/6/88): The memorable scene after his first career win (& first Polish Victory Lap) in 1988 at Phoenix! Now…11,044 days (30 years, 2 months & 26 days) later, we’re going to see the little guy with big dreams — ALAN KULWICKI — inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame! pic.twitter.com/KOa7hEuWzO
— Tom TR Roberts (@22carPR) January 31, 2019
A New Story Every Week
The first three races in the NASCAR season has seen three different winners. Joe Gibbs Racing found victory lane in the prestigious Daytona 500 through Denny Hamlin. Denny was victorious in the No. 11, a number synonymous with Joe Gibbs’ late son J.D. who passed away in the off-season.
Following that emotional victory, a flu-ridden Brad Keselowski found victory lane at Atlanta for Rodger Penske. In week one of “NASCAR Goes West,” Las Vegas Motor Speedway was dominated by Penske cars yet again, this time with defending Cup champion, Joey Logano taking the win.
Three drivers have clinched playoff spots with a win, and if we witness a new victor at ISM Raceway, they will lock themselves into NASCAR’s elimination format playoffs as well.
— Stewart-Haas Racing (@StewartHaasRcng) March 6, 2019
A New View
Being the most interactive tracks on the circuit comes with several perks for fans attending the race weekend. The modernized ‘INfield’ gives fans an up close and personal look at a race team’s weekend.
An interactive garage allows fans to be mere feet away from the race cars and the drivers themselves, new themed food and beverage options, Q&A sessions with drivers, and an interactive victory lane where fans can celebrate with the winning driver.
The new start/finish line has created new excitement on restarts for any series that races at the track. With the finish line in ISM Raceway’s famous dogleg, drivers will be shifting gears in the middle of the turns three and four, also giving them the opportunity to flock four to five-wide into the first corner.
— ISM Raceway (@ISMRaceway) March 4, 2019
Racing begins on Friday for practices for both series and Cup qualifying. The Xfinity Series races begin at 2:00 p.m. Saturday with the Cup Series race Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Arizona Time.
Only Kyle Busch, Ross Chastain, and BJ McLeod are scheduled to race double duty in both the Cup and Xfinity Series races this weekend.
— ISM Raceway (@ISMRaceway) March 3, 2019