ISM Raceway renamed Phoenix Raceway, once again
In 1964, Phoenix Raceway was born near the Estrella Mountains. The Phoenix, Arizona track has since hosted NASCAR, CART, IndyCar Series, USAC and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The track introduces a unique shape to traditional NASCAR ovals. Do to a road course and drag strip, the backstretch dogleg was installed to add room. It became a trademark of the speedway.
Originally, the track was built for USAC and other short track racing events. In 1978, NASCAR ventured to the venue.
The grandstand capacity was soon forced to increase. The Phoenix race track grew with NASCAR’s fame.
In 2018, ISM Connect joined the track as the title sponsor. It was the first year of a 10 year deal.
In October 2018, a $178-million dollar renovation project was completed. The grandstands were flipped to the other end of the track as well as the start finish line. New fan zones topped the 45,000 seat capacity.
ISM parts with Phoenix Raceway
For 2020, ISM Raceway is set to host the championship finale for all three national divisions of NASCAR. It will be the first time that the playoff finale will take place at a track other than Homestead-Miami Speedway.
However, ahead of that, the track will change names once again. Phoenix Raceway and their entitlement sponsor have agreed to part ways. ISM Raceway will be re-branded as the much more familiar Phoenix Raceway.
Phoenix Raceway comments:
“Phoenix Raceway and ISM Connect have mutually agreed to restructure their relationship and will discontinue its naming rights partnership,” the track said in a statement.
“We look forward to transitioning back to Phoenix Raceway, a brand that has built a strong affinity across the racing community since our opening in 1964. The re-positioning of Phoenix Raceway aligns with NASCAR’s integrated sponsorship strategy and supports ISM Connect’s efforts to shift their focus from brand awareness to delivering their next generation technology at NASCAR facilities.”
“We thank ISM Connect for their partnership as we look forward to a historic season for our track, culminating with the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway.”
ISM Raceway was one of only two NCS tracks that lacked location branding in the name itself. The other is Auto Club Speedway. Now, ACS will remain as the only NASCAR Cup Series track with a title sponsor.
Using the location in the name of the track itself, tells fans exactly where the track is, as soon as they see or hear of it. The name and the location are marketed together in one package. It helps fans seek out tracks to explore and puts them in the grandstands.
Worth noting, the track is owned by International Speedway Corporation. In October 2019, NASCAR successfully completed the process of merging with ISC. The sanction now owns and controls the ISC portfolio.
CHANGING THE NAME OF YOUR TRACK AND SERIES EVERY 10 YEARS IS THE SILLIEST MARKETING MISTAKE THAT’S MADE ACROSS ALL LEVELS OF AUTO RACING!
Seriously, please stop doing this. You’re killing longevity in brand recognition and starting fresh every 10 years.
NASCAR recently adjusted their marketing process. No longer will the NASCAR Cup Series branding change based on a primary sponsor (ex: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Winston Cup Series). The branding of the division will remain consistent, without an entitlement sponsor.
Instead, NASCAR has selected a group of sponsors that will share the marketing opportunities together. The name of the sport remains consistent while four marketing partners receive a bulk of tv spots, race naming rights and other advertising deals.
New core sponsors: Busch Beer, Coca-Cola, Geico and Xfinity.
It’s likely that NASCAR wanted to do a similar thing with the track that’s set to host the championship round in 2020.