Firebird Int’l Raceway
20000 Maricopa Road
Chandler, AZ 85226
Elevation: 1,100 feet
Radio Frequency: 530 AM
NHRA’s annual duel in the desert has been a Southwest fixture since 1985, when it joined the tour in a late-fall slot. Since 1990, it has been the second stop on the tour’s westward march and a place for teams to redeem mistakes made at the opener. Charlie Allen, a former Funny Car racer, constructed a track that makes people forget that it sits at 1,100 feet above sea level. The facility is also known for its annual preseason tests and Tony Schumacher’s historic 330-mph quarter-mile blast in 1999.
2009 recap: Ron Capps scored his second straight Funny Car win and was joined in the winner’s circle at the silver anniversary of the event by Antron Brown (Top Fuel) and Jeg Coughlin Jr. (Pro Stock). Brown edged out multi-time Phoenix victor Brandon Bernstein, who smoked the tires in their final round, and Coughlin defeated Kurt Johnson for the first time in eight final-round meetings between the two. Capps, the No. 1 qualifier, singled in the final when Mike Neff couldn’t get his Mustang into reverse after his burnout. Winternationals Comp winner Dan Fletcher also remained hot, scoring his second of what would be nine wins in 2009.
How to Get There: The track is 10 miles south of Phoenix and minutes from Phoenix Sky Harbor Int’l Airport. From Phoenix, take Interstate 10 east to the Wild Horse Pass exit (162). From Tucson, take I-10 west to the Wild Horse Pass exit (162).
Visitor Information: Chandler Chamber of Commerce, 800-963-4571