PIR official comments on name change
Photo by Benjamin Palmer / TheRacingExperts.com

Phoenix International Raceway in March 2015.

By Dominic Aragon
Editor
July 1, 2015
daragon@theracingexperts.net

 

 

Various racetracks have sent off Jeff Gordon with unique gifts this season to pay tribute to his contributions to NASCAR. From a blackjack table in Las Vegas, to a 18-liter wine bottle at Sonoma Raceway, the four-time champion has been showered with tokens of appreciation from the various venues.

But Phoenix International Raceway might have taken it to another level when the speedway announcing last month the track will be renamed “Jeff Gordon Raceway” on Sunday, November 15, the penultimate event in Jeff Gordon’s last full-time season.

“We wanted to really do something significant, something memorable, that we thought the fans would be able to enjoy and be a part of, and that Jeff would enjoy as well,” said Zac Emmons, director of communications for PIR. “We had kicked around a few different ideas but ultimately settled on the idea of renaming the track ‘Jeff Gordon Raceway’ for the day.”

Reactions have been mixed among fans, but locally, the reception has been positive to the renaming.


Photo by Benjamin Palmer/TheRacingExperts.com

Jeff Gordon (left) and Brian Vickers at PIR in March 2014.


“You’re going to have some fans who [root for] other drivers and may not be as excited about it, but in
general, the reactions have been positive,” Emmons said. “Fans understand it’s a one-day thing; it’s a ceremonial deal. It’s a chance for everybody to tip our hat to Jeff and celebrate what he’s meant to the whole sport.”

The unprecedented announcement has no effect on the naming rights of the event.

For the second consecutive season, the Sprint Cup race will be named the Quicken Loans Race for the Heroes 500. But what about the trophy?

Emmons said it is still not known if the trophy will be engraved with the name “Jeff Gordon Raceway.”

“That’s yet to be determined,” he said. “We’re working on that. Obviously we need to work with our title sponsor Quicken Loans, so we’ll see how that’ll be incorporated into the trophy. That hasn’t been designed just yet.”

 

Will Jeff Gordon still be in contention for the title at the Phoenix race in November?
 
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