Zoomtown U.S.A. Preps For Car Racing

By Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez
Published: Monday, November 3, 2014 - 4:38pm
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(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/ KJZZ News)
Hundreds of RVs being to set up for the week at Phoenix International Raceway.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/ KJZZ News)
Judy and Ed LaGrange have been coming to the races for seven years now.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/ KJZZ News)
Racing fans can shop at the makeshift grocery store for the week.

It’s move-in day in Avondale. The Phoenix International Raceway is preparing for this weekend’s races. That means thousands of visitors will camp out at the raceway grounds.

Along Avondale Boulevard, RVs after RVs of all sizes make their way to the Phoenix International Raceway. These are car-racing fanatics who will set up their campers and make this place their home until next Monday.

Judy and Ed LaGrange arrived early in the morning to beat the rush. They’re among the thousands of people who have for years stationed themselves here to meet up with friends.

“Seven years now, yeah," Ed LaGrange said. "We come from Paso Robles, it’s about 730 miles one way. That’s on the coast halfway from San Francisco and Los Angeles. Oh yeah, it’s a party.” 

About 50 yards from the LaGrange spot is a portable grocery story. It sits in the middle of the campsite. Event officials said several thousand people live here for the week and such accommodations becomes a necessity.

Phoenix International Raceway spokesperson Zac Emmons said by Sunday’s Sprint Cup race more than 100,000 people will be here, living up to its nickname, Zoomtown U.S.A. 

“It really is a community," Emmons said. "From what I understand, on race day Phoenix International Raceway will be the fourth-largest city in Arizona. It’s pretty exciting. It’s fun to be a part of something that big.”

Emmons said there are four races this weekend, starting on Thursday and ending with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Quicken Loans for Heroes 500 on Sunday.

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