By Ben White
Since coming into NASCAR’s Cup series in the second race of the 2001 season, Kevin Harvick has collected a total of 58 victories and a Cup Series championship in 2014. One of his most favorite tracks on the circuit is Phoenix Raceway, a one-mile oval located in Avondale, Arizona that opened in 1964 and currently hosts two NASCAR race weekends annually.
In 1973, the track was purchased and renamed FasTrack International Speedway. The name was changed to Phoenix International Raceway in August 1976 when USAC team owner Bob Fletcher bought the speedway. In 1977, the first Copper World Classic was held, a marquee event for USAC midget and Silver Crown cars. The track held the AAA USAC Champ Car Series for decades, with such stars as A.J. Foyt, Al Unser, Mike Mosely and Gordon Johncock - to name a very few - frequently visiting victory lane.
In September 2017, PIR formed a partnership with Ingenuity Sun Media to rename the track to ISM Raceway starting in 2018. On January 3, 2020, its name returned to Phoenix Raceway.
NASCAR began racing at Phoenix International Raceway in 1978. However, it was not until 1988 when NASCAR's premier series, now the NASCAR Cup Series, began racing at the track. A total of 50 Cup Series races have been completed since No. 6, 1988 when Wisconsin native Alan Kulwicki scored his first Cup Series win at the track.
Of all the drivers that have recorded wins at the famed odd-shaped track, the No. 4 has been to victory lane the most in Cup Series competition at five with Kevin Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing coming in 2013, twice in 2014, once in 2015 and once in 2016. Harvick also has two additional wins in 2006 with the No. 29 for RCR Enterprises and team owner Richard Childress.
In 2018, Harvick beat Kyle Busch to the finish line by .774 seconds to win his third straight Cup Series race of the season, the first time a driver has strung three victories together since Joey Logano accomplished the feat in 2015.
“To come here to a race track that is so good for us is a lot of fun, and everyone was just determined this week, and we just wanted to just go stomp them,” Harvick said that day. “We didn’t stomp them, but we won. That’s all that really matters. Just proud of this team. Put a fire in our belly.”