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Is Firebird International Raceway Going to Close in 2013?

Is Firebird International Raceway Going to Close in 2013?

A murky but altogether depressing picture is beginning to emerge regarding the future of Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona. Some statements made by the track operator, Charlie Allen, along with announcements being made by the Native American tribe that owns the land the track is sitting on points to a future that may end with the 2013 NHRA event at the track.

We got a tip from a BangShift reader about a recent press release trumpeting a huge shopping complex that will be built at the Wild Horse Pass property where the track is located. If that weren’t bad enough on its own, Allen recently made statements to the newspaper stating that track lawyers are in talks with the Gila River Indian Community lawyers and he has no idea whether or not he will be able to exercise a seven year lease option on the track, which would come due next year. He did say that the 2013 NHRA event would happen regardless of the lease outcome and the press release on the shopping project stated that they planned to open it in the Spring of 2013. Seeing as the drag race happens in February, that leaves them a window to bulldoze the track and finish their project after the NHRA race.

There was great hullabaloo during the signing of the documents finalizing the shopping center with lots of government officials, both of the local and state level trumpeting it as a great triumph for the area. Funny how that happens when shopping centers are announced and when a drag strip is announced everyone in a 50-mile radius shows up with a pitch fork and a torch.

Reportedly Charlie Allen has found a location to put another track on, if Firebird is closed and destroyed but we hope that he does not have to do such a thing and that this real estate project will not invade the current facility’s space. If you have not noticed, drag strips are not exactly being built at a record pace these days. Especially those that can hold an NHRA national event. The reality is that if Firebird closes, it may be a long time, if ever, before the Phoenix market gets “Big Show” NHRA drag racing back in town.

Link: Charlie Allen comments on Firebird future

             New shopping center announcement  

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4 thoughts on “Is Firebird International Raceway Going to Close in 2013?

  1. Steev

    Not this again. Seems to be yet another shake down.

    They already have a casino, huge hotel and one hell of a lot of shops within spitting distance of the track now. Not to mention a SECOND casino and Chandler Fashion Mall within two or three miles of the track. I just can’t imagine they need even more shops.

    Pure silliness.

  2. Nitronut

    It breaks my heart that tracks are closing left and right and it seems like there’s nothing we can do about it. How long will it be brfore they close Pomona, or Bakersfield???

    Would it be possible to put a drag strip right in the middle of Fontana’s 1-1/2 mile oval now that we’re racing to a 1,000ft.? They did it at Ontario Motor Speedway untilizing the pit road as a drag strip, but that was a 2-1/2 mile oval based on the design of the Indy Motor Speedway’s race track

    It just breaks my heart! It’s all about the money…ain’t it???

    I hate it for Charlie Allen. That track replaced OCIR and is a great venue. Charlie Allen tryed to move OCIR’s tower to Firebird, but the way it was designed and built prevented that from happening. He is a great promoter and keeps the place hopping just about all year long.

    If Firebird goes away that just leaves Vegas, Pomona for the NHRA, and Bakersfield for HRS nostalgia racing. I guess I shouldn’t bitch to much since I live only an hour and a half from the NHRA season opener and closer. Vegas has two races and is only five hours away, so that can be an out and back day. Bakersfield is only three hours away so another out and back track.

    Still closing a track like Firebird is just another knife in the back of drag racing, a motorsport that the average Jo can participate in because you don’t need gobs and gobs of money to race.

    When the people that live in and around that area get tired of all the street racing going on, I hope they remember that they were responsible for closing Firebird Raceway and putting all those guys that used the track to race their street legal race cars on, back on the street again.

    Thanks BangShift and I’ll see you guys Saturday at Bakersfield!!!

  3. Brian

    Pure Greed and nothing else stop catering to them and Stop their stupidity they already get way to much and don’t have to live by our laws they make their own sorry but it pisses me off we have lost to many great tracks but hey Bakersfield Famoso raceway can handle the big guns

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