As part of NASCAR's schedule realignment, Phoenix International Raceway's spring race will move from April to Feb. 27, the second race weekend of the season. The date previously was held by Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., which next year will run its solo Sprint Cup race on the weekend of March 25-27.
PIR officials are shifting the start time of their February race to a local start time of 1 p.m. The track will continue to host the penultimate race in the Chase, on Nov. 13.
"Phoenix will be the first and last stop NASCAR makes in the West," track president Bryan Sperber said. "It's a great privilege for us to help celebrate the excitement of a new season in February and to help crown season champions as the year winds down with the Chase in November."
Phoenix International Raceway is one of 13 facilities to be awarded two Cup Series weekends in 2011. Past studies conducted by Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business for PIR have indicated that the economic impact of hosting two Cup weekends annually in Phoenix exceeds $400 million.
"The State of Arizona is well aware of the tremendous economic impact that comes along with hosting a NASCAR weekend in the Valley of the Sun," Sperber said. "The fact that Phoenix International Raceway has been confirmed to host two Sprint Cup events provides a shot in the arm for our local economy at a time when it's most needed."
The complete 2011 NASCAR schedule will be released later this month.