Photo: Phoenix International Raceway

Phoenix IndyCar race announces its new title sponsor

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The Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to Phoenix International Raceway will, in fact, have a title sponsor.

What had been dubbed the Phoenix Grand Prix – albeit a 250-lap race on the PIR one-mile oval – will now be known as the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix and will take place starting at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

It’s a new casino that opened in late December last year.

“We are thrilled to announce our partnership with Desert Diamond West Valley,” track president Bryan R. Sperber said in a release. “Bringing IndyCar to PIR was a substantial goal of ours and this demonstrates the strong local support we have for the upcoming race right here in the Valley. We look forward to showcasing IndyCar here under the lights on April 2 alongside our new partner.”

“We are very excited to be partnering with PIR on the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix,” added Any Asselin, CEO of Desert Diamond Casinos & Entertainment. “Both PIR and Desert Diamond offer unique entertainment opportunities to the community, so it just made sense to work together on this fantastic race.”

The title sponsor announcement also follows the announcement of Better than Ezra as a pre-race concert.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.