Just when it seemed that it had all been done on Jeff Gordon’s farewell tour, Phoenix International Raceway has thrown down the gauntlet. The track, known as PIR, will be renamed “Jeff Gordon Raceway” for one day in honor of the Hendrick Motorsports driver.
The Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 will be held on Nov. 15 with the track bearing the name of one of NASCAR’s biggest heroes. In an effort to make sure that the track wouldn’t miss out on any prime opportunities, PIR president Bryan Sperber knew he would need to come up with something over the top.
“We were thinking of it like an athlete getting the keys to the city,” Sperber said, via Michael Knight of AZCentral.com. “It (the idea) took off from there. Starting with the quirky layout of our track, it seems like Phoenix always does things a little different.
“We’re the next-to-last race so a lot of good ideas will already have been implemented at other venues. We thought, ‘We better step up our game’ and do something really cool, that the fans can be a part of, that what we do for Jeff is remembered.”
On his Derek Jeter-esque whirlwind tour, Gordon has already had infields and SAFER barrier walls devoted to him, but nothing like this. Holding 12 top-five finishes and two wins, Phoenix might be a fitting location for Gordon if he can clinch a spot into the final four in his last season.
“Phoenix has taken it to the next level,” Gordon said. “I’m so thankful that people want to honor me in that way and get the fans engaged. It’s been a very special year but Phoenix is going to be extremely special being called ‘Jeff Gordon Raceway.'”
How do you top a track being named after Gordon? NASCAR Wonka has an idea:
Not to be outdone by Phoenix Raceway, the WH administration just announced they’re renaming planet earth. pic.twitter.com/u8xM6oBnZh
— nascar wonka (@NASCAR_Wonka) June 12, 2015
Of course the plan also has some marketing ties with Jeff Gordon Raceway logo memorabilia available for purchase at the track. But in another cool twist, fans will also be able to go on the track to sign a “24” that will be painted on the start/finish line at PIR.
Gordon has owned several tracks during his career like Martinsville, Indianapolis and Sonoma, but never had it named after him. When he heads to Phoenix for his penultimate race as a full-time driver, the track will have more than just a red carpet rolled out for his arrival at Jeff Gordon Raceway.
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