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

Wheelchair Access at Phoenix International Raceway – NASCAR


Patricia 'Pogo' Overmeyer is a die hard Arizona race fan. The attorney from Tucson attends NASCAR twice a year in Phoenix, and PIR named an access path in her honor.  © 2010 Loren Worthington.

Patricia 'Pogo' Overmeyer is a die hard Arizona race fan. The attorney from Tucson attends NASCAR twice a year in Phoenix, and PIR named an access path in her honor. © 2010 Loren Worthington.


Twice a year the town of Avondale becomes a mecca for those who enjoy stock car racing.  It is an amazing transition that accommodates miles and miles of motor homes, and nearly 100,000 people.  It’s a carnival for speed junkies as people from all over the western states (and Canada) dawn their bright colored jerseys and jackets and congregate around the 1-mile oval to watch 43 cars roar past.

Got wheelchair access?  You better believe it.  PIR (www.phoenixraceway.com) has an entire parking lots for people with disabilities. The track has named their grandstands after famed racers. The Bobby Allison grandstands reaches six floors high.  The 5th floor includes some great seats for wheelchair access.  They are in the shade and they offer the only place a wheelchair can see the entire track.  Check out their excellent seating chart.

You can get front row seating in the AJ Foyt seating area.  These are the best seats to view the scoreboards and huge television that is located in the infield. At the east of the track, the Richard Petty grandstands include a separate section just for folks needing access. The seats look down the back straightway and the 4th corner which features some of the tightest action (ie wrecks).  If it were hot out, this section would be might hot as their is no shade and you are looking due west.  For the October event, these are great seats as the sun is welcome.

The Richard Petty Grandstands at the 4th corner offers great front row wheelchair access.

The Richard Petty Grandstands at the 4th corner offers great front row wheelchair access. © 2010 Loren Worthington.

If there is any way to beg, steal or borrow some pit passes, then you are really getting the best access. PIR has a tunnel that allows anyone with pit passes to walk to the infield. Even better, the promoters have numerous golf carts that can zoom people with disabilities around the property, and the ride is free.  This is a huge benefit as PIR is very big.

NASCAR gets it. The sport caters to the fans and it’s pretty easy to get near all the drivers and VIPs.  With the right passes you can roll around the pits and get close enough to see, smeel, and hear the action. Visitors are simply expected to give the teams enough space to do their jobs.  Its pretty amazing that you can be brushing up against millions of dollars worth of equipment and be within the workings of a sport that requires so much attention to safety, yet also be so accommodating to all guests, and even more so if you happen to roll around. Even if NASCAR isn’t in your blood, it’s fun to observe.

‘Bootie’ Barker (in wheelchair) is the crew chief for the #16 Geico Toyota driven by Max Papis (right).

‘Bootie’ Barker (in wheelchair) is the crew chief for the #16 Geico Toyota driven by Max Papis (right).

One item worth mentioning is the bathrooms.  They are everywhere but when the place fills up, the lines begin to grow.  NASCAR fans definitely love beer, and as the race goes on, the lines to use the grandstand bathrooms are quite a stretch.  So plan accordingly!

At PIR, NASCAR weekend features three races.  Friday’s truck series is not too well attended, and Saturday’s Nationwide series is nominally better.  All that changes on Sunday when the big guns aive for the Sprint Cup Series.  The place is packed.  And that goes double for the wheelchair sections.


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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 www.accessingarizona.com. For commercial or editorial use, please contact the editor.