By Nicholas Barker

Nearly 55 years after becoming an official racetrack, Phoenix Raceway will host the NASCAR championship series from November 6 to November 8.

Obviously, things have changed quite drastically, and the experience for fans will be much different than other years at Phoenix Raceway.

The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the country, and nothing seems normal these days. Phoenix Raceway President Julie Giese still wants fans to enjoy the series as if life were back to normal.

“For us, it was something that we’ve been waiting over a year and half to get to this race weekend,” Giese says. “We are excited for this opportunity to showcase Phoenix Raceway, the city of Avondale, and the entire state of Arizona for that matter.”

Although fans will be allowed to the track, the raceway will not be filled. Only about 20% of the track will be filled, which means only about 8,000 fans will attend the championship weekend. Strict guidelines will be in place for fans who do choose to attend the events.

“Face masks are required, temperature screening upon entering the stadium, and social distancing throughout the entire venue while you are here,” Giese says. “Cashless concessions and a number of new protocols are in place to ensure a safe experience for everyone.”

Limited fans will be allowed into the track, but fans of NASCAR in Avondale can still attend a drive-in watch party at The BLVD in Avondale.

Hosted by the city of Avondale, NASCAR and Phoenix Raceway, the inaugural NASCAR Championship Watch Party at The BLVD will bring every second of the action from the track directly to the fans, all from the comfort of their vehicles.

The event is free to attend, but guests must register in advance, as spaces are limited. In addition to watching the first NASCAR Cup Series champion crowned at Phoenix Raceway, the afternoon of fun will consist of virtual appearances by NASCAR Cup Series drivers and other special guests, as well as a special gift pack for each car. Guests can also enjoy food trucks, games and other activities.

The BLVD, located at 755 N. 114th Avenue in Avondale, opens its gates at 10 a.m., with the green flag set to drop for the championship race at 1 p.m. Visit phoenixraceway.com/watchparty for more information.

“We worked with the city of Avondale on a watch party to just allow more people to participate in the event and come together as race fans to celebrate the championship just a few miles down the road from the track,” Giese says. “We’re excited to engage a few more people knowing that not everyone can be at the track on race weekend.”

Championship weekend will feature the NASCAR Cup Series Championship, the NASCAR Xfinity Series and other championship events.

The NASCAR Cup Series Championship will no doubt feature the most fireworks. Eight drivers are left in the cup series with just one more race to complete, and as of right now, only Joey Logano, who recently won at Kansas Speedway, has earned a spot in the final four for championship weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski round out next three who are closest to clinching a spot. Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Martin Truex Jr. and Kurt Busch are the last four of the final eight who leave a lot of work to be done if they want a chance to win a championship.

The last playoff race before the championship will be the Xfinity 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia. Once that race is completed, Joey Logano and three other drivers will have earned their spot in the final four at the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.

“Certainly a different event than we thought we would be hosting, but excited still by the fact that we are hosting it,” Giese says. “We will crown four champions, and we will have some fans with us as well.”

NASCAR Championship Weekend, Friday, November 6, to Sunday, November 8, Phoenix Raceway, 7602 S. Avondale Boulevard, Avondale, 623.772.2000, phoenixraceway.com.

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