Skip to content

Goodbye, Firebird Raceway — hello, Wild Horse Motorsports Park

Jun 23, 2013, 2:21 PM EDT

Antron Brown earned his first No. 1 qualifying spot of the season in Saturday's final run before Sunday's eliminations in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas. Antron Brown earned his first No. 1 qualifying spot of the season in Saturday's final run before Sunday's eliminations in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals at The Strip in Las Vegas.

Firebird International Raceway in suburban Phoenix has long been a popular venue for a variety of motorsports events, particularly NHRA drag racing on its quartermile asphalt track, drag boat competition in a man-made lake on the property, plus two road courses and an off-road track.

But Firebird is no more — at least in name, according to the Arizona Republic.

Say goodbye to Firebird and hello to Wild Horse Motorsports Park, which will reopen under its new name for the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series event Sept. 13-15.

After a 30-year run by well known motorsports promoter and now former track president Charlie Allen, whose lease agreement with the Gila River Indian Community, which owns the land that Firebird Raceway sits upon, expired and was not renewed, a new management team (Copper Train) Development Partners LLC) has signed an agreement to operate the expansive 458-acre facility along Interstate 10 just south of Phoenix.

As is often the case, with a new name comes change. Various capital improvements are likely for the aging facility that, the Republic reported: “Gila River Indian Community has a greater financial incentive to invest in improvements for both competitors and fans, and make the races more popular and successful.”

Copper Train managing partner Paul Clayton told the Republic, “Our job is to come in and create relationships with the community, sponsorships and all sorts of events. We want families to be able to enjoy the facility, with clean bathrooms, and improve the overall fan experience.”

Other likely improvements are a new timing and scoring system for the drag strip and replacing 700 grandstand seats that had previously been removed.

In addition, the NHRA and Gila River have agreed on a contract extension to continue the track’s hosting of the Arizona Nationals — which the now former Firebird Raceway has hosted since 1985 — for at least the next five years.

The Arizona Nationals are typically held in late February and retaining that event was the “Number 1″ priority, NHRA President Tom Compton told the Republic.

“If we weren’t in Phoenix it would be a disaster,” Compton said. “It’s the sixth-largest market in the country and it is diverse. NHRA has an element of diversity (female and minority drivers) that is unmatched by any other motorsport in the country that I’m aware of. It reflects our fan base very well. … I think there’s a tremendous opportunity to take Wild Horse to a new level.”

Latest Posts
  1. Vautier describes his “rollercoaster of emotions” throughout month of May

    May 22, 2015, 3:39 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Tristan Vautier recaps a roller coaster month of May, where he’ll have a last-minute opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dale Coyne Racing.

  2. GP2: Vandoorne edges out Rossi for Monaco win

    May 22, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    A third straight feature race win for Stoffel Vandoorne sees him extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship.

  3. Harvey emerges victorious from Indy Lights’ Freedom 100 (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 2:40 PM EDT

    Photo, IMS Photography, LLC Photo, IMS Photography, LLC

    Harvey scores the win in Indy Lights’ biggest race of the year.

  4. Fernley: F1 Strategy Group not fit for purpose

    May 22, 2015, 2:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Malaysia Formula One Grand Prix at Sepang Circuit on March 27, 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Getty Images

    Force India’s deputy team principal lashes out at the F1 Strategy Group, calls for a return to autocratic rule by the FIA and the F1 Group.

  5. FIA invites bids for Formula 1 tire supply from 2017

    May 22, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    A Pirelli team member prepares tyres and rims in the paddock at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Spa on August 21, 2014 ahead of the Belgium Formula One Grand Prix.  AFP PHOTO / TOM GANDOLFINI        (Photo credit should read Tom Gandolfini/AFP/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bids to supply tires to F1 upon the next change to the technical regulations now being taken.

  6. IndyCar: Carb Day 2015 rolling notebook (VIDEO)

    May 22, 2015, 12:06 PM EDT

    150522willpower Getty Images

    Notes as they develop from the ground in Indianapolis for Carb Day for the 99th Indianapolis 500.

  7. Jules Bianchi’s condition “stagnant” according to father Philippe

    May 22, 2015, 12:00 PM EDT

    SUZUKA, JAPAN - OCTOBER 05: Jules Bianchi of France and Marussia arrives for the drivers' parade prior to the Japanese Formula One Grand Prix at Suzuka Circuit on October 5, 2014 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Jiri Krenek/isifa/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Bianchi remains in a coma in French hospital after sustaining severe head injuries at the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

  8. Chip Ganassi lobbying for IndyCar schedule changes

    May 22, 2015, 11:38 AM EDT

    Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi, Scott Dixon

    The team owner would like the season’s calendar expanded.

  9. WATCH LIVE: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN, Live Extra

    May 22, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    Helio Castroneves after this past Sunday's first day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. AP

    Watch Carb Day IndyCar and Indy Lights coverage, from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, at 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  10. What to watch for: IndyCar, Indy Lights Carb Day (11 a.m. ET, NBCSN and Live Extra)

    May 22, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT

    SagePitStops Getty Images

    Still A LOT of stuff to watch for on Carb Day for the Verizon IndyCar Series, LIVE from 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra.

  11. Here’s Friday’s jam-packed schedule for IMS Carb Day 2015

    May 22, 2015, 8:22 AM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    Carb Day at IMS: always one of the busiest days of the year.

  12. UPDATED: Vautier to replace Huertas at last-minute for Indy 500

    May 21, 2015, 11:51 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    In a bizarre and truly 11th hour circumstance, Tristan Vautier appears set to replace Carlos Huertas in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500.

  13. IndyCar driver raises concern about design of wishbone that injured James Hinchcliffe in crash

    May 21, 2015, 5:57 PM EDT

    James Hinchcliffe James Hinchcliffe

    Oriol Servia says a connecting rod was removed that might have prevented the part from piercing the tub and critically injuring driver.

  14. GP2: Rossi storms to pole position in Monaco qualifying

    May 21, 2015, 5:00 PM EDT

    © GP2 Series © GP2 Series

    American driver claims his second pole position in GP2 with a mesmerising display in Monaco on Thursday.

  15. SPM targets Monday for next driver confirmation in No. 5 car as drivers await

    May 21, 2015, 4:32 PM EDT

    Photo: INDYCAR Photo: INDYCAR

    The No. 5 beyond Indy 500 could be Daly, Wilson, or A.N. Other.

  16. Formula E: Audi Sport ABT confirms unchanged line-up for season two

    May 21, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - JANUARY 08:  Daniel Abt poses for pictures next to his car during a paddock preview at Puerto Madero Street Race Track on January 08, 2015 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Daniel Abt confirmed to be remaining with his family team for season two of the Formula E series.

  17. IndyCar confirms Boston race for 2016

    May 21, 2015, 3:47 PM EDT

    BostonStreetTrack

    Boston confirmed for 2016 and beyond in IndyCar.

  18. Ethan Ringel scores Indy Lights pole for Freedom 100

    May 21, 2015, 3:33 PM EDT

    Photo: IMS Photography, LLC Photo: IMS Photography, LLC

    SPM takes four of the top five spots on the Indy Lights grid.

  19. Alonso: New rules proof F1 went in the wrong direction

    May 21, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    xxxx during practice for the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 21, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    The McLaren driver lends his support to the proposed changes to F1 for 2017.

  20. Button happy with refuelling return, but remains keen to see a tire war in F1

    May 21, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    xxxx during previews to the Monaco Formula One Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco on May 20, 2015 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. Getty Images

    McLaren driver talks about the proposed changes for F1 ahead of this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.