An eMagazine about wheelchair-accessible events, sports & locations in Arizona

Firebird Raceway

This entry marks the first “Sport Venue” entry for Accessing Arizona. The purpose is to provide insight into finding accessible seating before you buy the ticket. I hate buying tickets without knowing what view I’m going to get, and or if there is better seats available if I had only known more. So we’re going to try to visit the various locations around Arizona and get the inside skinny.

Firebird Raceway
is located in Chandler, on the Gila Indian Reservation, just south of Phoenix. The property has both a drag racing track and a water sports lake. It is the lake where we’ll get started. This weekend is the IHBA Top Fuel Boat Drags. It is the first time I’ve ever visited the lake. We’ll add info about the asphalt drag strip the next time an event comes to town.

[Click on the photos for comments]

The first bonus we PwD’s get when going to a lake event is VIP parking. Basically you park right beside the lake. This is a significantly shorter walk compared to the general parking area which requires you to traverse a catwalk over another race course.

The lake is probably a 1/2 mile long and 1/8th mile wide. Interestingly, the lake has a salt content higher than the ocean. This is because a boat is more buoyant in salty water, and buoyancy means less drag and more speed.

Down the west side of the lake is the grandstands which aren’t accessible. Instead, wheelchair folks get to sit in the two media areas which are right against the lake. The view is very good, and aside from the camera people who share the area, it is unobstructed. You can not get any closer and still stay dry. The only problem with this seating is a lack of shade that is available in the grand stands. So if it is summer, perhaps an umbrella would come in handy. Your friends and family can bring folding chairs that will be far better than the grand stands as well. The bathrooms are right behind the grandstands and the entire area is flat and accessible. As a sitting photographer, the fence obstructs my lens. I understand the need for it, so I had to sneak down to the end of the lake to get my photos.

Firebird Lake gets good marks. The access is nothing elaborate, but you wont be disappointed, and the racing is very entertaining. I also get the feeling that manangement and employees have a can-do attitude and can find real-time solutions to any access needs that might come up.

Incidentally, for anyone into boat racing, we witnessed one helluva crash during my visit. The boat lost control and basically just decentigrated in a split second. Check out Mark Rebilas’ web blog for photo account here.

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What Acessing Arizona Is All About

Accessing Arizona is primarily designed for people who are looking for wheelchair accessible events, locations and activities. If you have paralysis (paraplegic or quadriplegic), Muscular Dystrophy, Spinal Bifida, or if you are an amputee, Accessing Arizona has information about an active lifestyle.
If you are traveling to Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, Sedona or the Grand Canyon, the site offers insight about the accessibility. We cover trails, lakes, state parks, national parks and just about anything claiming to be handicapped accessible. The site also covers sports and recreation in Arizona.
From racing to rugby, from basketball to sled hockey, we cover all the local sports teams. Note: All photographs and essays are copyright Accessing Arizona, unless noted otherwise. Individuals may copy photos for their personal use provided the photo includes a text link back to For commercial or editorial use, please contact the editor.