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Phoenix Raceway to become ISM Raceway in 2018

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The track now known as Phoenix Raceway, formerly known as Phoenix International Raceway and colloquially referred to as “PIR,” will in 2018 be known as ISM Raceway following Phoenix Raceway selling the naming rights to ISM Connect, a smart venue technology company.

ISM Connect, LLC is listed with a Randolph, N.J. base and has ramped up its motorsport involvement in recent weeks, including being the naming sponsor of Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.

News that ISM Connect would take over Phoenix’s naming rights was first reported by The Arizona Republic, via AZCentralSports.com, on Monday.

The full Phoenix Raceway release is below. The track is set to host both NASCAR and the Verizon IndyCar Series once again in 2018, with the IndyCar race in April the last scheduled race for its current track configuration before the completion of its renovation project, which is sponsored by DC Solar. The IndyCar race next year is the third in its initial three-year contract since returning in 2016.

Phoenix Raceway and ISM Connect, a pioneer in smart venue technology, today announced a multi-year partnership that includes naming rights for the Raceway’s modernized venue as well as the installation of a groundbreaking digital fan engagement experience. Beginning in 2018, the venue will be known as ISM Raceway.

ISM’s 360° Connect network will provide the modernized venue with advanced, robust technology and data capabilities to create meaningful connections between fans, partners and the venue itself. This will be done through the use of digital display screens, interactive experiences, social media integrations and a mobile app that will give fans access to unique content, in-seat ordering, and more.

“We’re focused on building a world-class facility and the partnership with ISM will further enhance our technology capabilities and create opportunities to better engage with fans,” said Phoenix Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber. “ISM Raceway will serve as a premier motorsports and entertainment destination for generations to come.”

The ISM Connect network will power various fan activations and experiences throughout the venue, including the new infield Fan Zone, new pedestrian tunnel connecting the infield to the new seating areas and one of the two new Canyons – the immersive and interactive entrances. As part of the partnership, ISM Connect will also receive naming rights for one of the Canyons – providing over 20,000 square feet of fan engagement and brand activation that vertically spans multiple concourse levels.

“This partnership underscores our commitment to strengthening relationships and communication between venues, fans, partners and brands through innovative digital solutions,” said ISM Connect Vice President of Operations Jeff Hutchins. “ISM Raceway, powered by ISM Connect’s digital engagement network, will revolutionize how large venues connect every piece of their technology in order to gather and analyze data with the goal of improving the fan experience.”

The partnership with Phoenix Raceway further reinforces ISM Connect’s significant presence in motorsports as the company has brought ISM Vision Powered by BoldVu®, the World’s Largest 360° Digital Engagement Venue Network, to the NASCAR experience across the country.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

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Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.