Looking back: Recalling how IndyCar racing used to be in Phoenix

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The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Phoenix International Raceway this weekend for the first time since 2005.

The one-mile oval began hosting USAC Champ car racing in 1964 (first winner was A.J. Foyt) through 1978 (last winner was Johnny Rutherford).

Then in 1979, the CART Series debuted with Gordon Johncock taking the first checkered flag. That lasted through 1995, with Robby Gordon taking the last checkered flag under CART sanctioning.

The Indy Racing League (now Verizon IndyCar Series) ran the second race of its inaugural season with Arie Luyendyk, who adopted Phoenix as his U.S. home, winning.

The final IRL race at PIR came in 2005 when Sam Hornish Jr. took the checkered flag.

Thanks to YouTube, we’re giving you a number of highlights from PIR, including four videos related to the final Indy car race there in 2005.

We’re also including four CART races in the 1980s — including Chip Ganassi as a driver in 1983 before he became a team owner — and 1990s to illustrate how far technology and racing have come from then to now.

Check them out:

2005 IRL race at PIR, featuring drivers including Danica Patrick, Tomas Sheckter, the late Dan Wheldon and Sam Hornish Jr.:

Next, Tony Kanaan steps on it:

Buddy Rice crashes (with broadcast in French):

Patrick Carpentier crash in practice:

1990 CART season opener at PIR

1991 CART third race of season:

CART 1982 race at Phoenix – Round 12

CART 1983 race at Phoenix – Round 13

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