Allison, Unser, Rutherford & more to help celebrate track’s 50th anniversary
PHOENIX – A number of the greatest drivers to ever turn a lap on the oval at Phoenix International Raceway will return to the Valley of the Sun to help celebrate the culmination of the track’s 50th anniversary season, PIR President Bryan R. Sperber announced today.
Racing legends Bobby Allison, Bobby Unser and Johnny Rutherford will all take part in festivities throughout The Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekend. Each of the drivers will make appearances during the race weekend, many of which will take place inside the one-of-a-kind ‘Memory Lane’ exhibit.
‘Memory Lane’ will feature cars driven by many of the legendary drivers, including the 1964 roadster that A.J. Foyt drove to Victory Lane in the first professional race in PIR’s history and the No. 7 Ford Thunderbird driven by Alan Kulwicki to the first ever NASCAR Winston Cup Series win at PIR in 1988. The exhibit will also feature trophies, fire suits and other memorabilia from the track’s 50-year history.
Allison is a three-time Daytona 500 champion and captured the 1983 Winston Cup Series championship. He raced in seven of the first eight NASCAR-sanctioned races in Phoenix from 1977-82 and 1984. In those seven races, he only finished outside the top five once and he captured the checkered flag in 1982.
Unser is a three-time Indianapolis 500 champion and a seven-time winner at PIR in USAC Champ Cars. Between 1964 and 1978, he raced at PIR 27 times and visited Victory Lane four times. He started from the pole a whopping seven times, including three consecutive races in 1971 and ’72. Two of his wins came from the pole – in 1968 and again in 1972.
Rutherford is a three-time Indianapolis 500 champion. In addition to his three victories at Indy, he also started from the pole three times. From 1963 to 1988, he had four top-5s, eight top-10s and 24 starts at the famed “Brickyard.” Rutherford raced at Phoenix International Raceway 24 times and was a three-time winner, taking the checkers in 1975, ’77 and ‘78. He also competed in the inaugural NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at PIR, finishing 39th.