Firebird International Raceway to close in April

March 29, 2013

Firebird International Raceway is preparing for its final event after 30 years in the Southeast Valley.

basha Firebird International Raceway will close its doors Saturday after a grand finale event.(Photo by Al Macias - KJZZ)

The motorsports landmark shuts down at the end of March and more than two dozen jobs will be lost immediately afterward, said General Manager Franki Buckman.

Negotiations over a lease extension with the Gila River Indian Community failed.

"It’s tragic," Buckman said. "It’s sad for the drag-race community in general for motorsports to lose yet another property."

This marks the end of three decades of motorsports at Firebird, including drag racing, hotrods, and monster trucks. Firebird events attracted about 400,000 people a year, Buckman said.

The raceway will celebrate with a grand finale March 30.

But some mainstays on the property will not be lost. The Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving had operated under a sublease with Firebird. The school announced in February that it secured a direct lease from the tribe, and will expand its presence on Firebird tracks.

"We will continue to operate on our current property," Bondurant's Darren Law said in statement posted on the school's website. "We are also taking over the west track portion of the facility, which will allow us to expand our classes as well as taking control of leasing to the local race clubs and car manufacturers."

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