While Phoenix Raceway is now known as a staple of the NASCAR schedule, the 1-mile desert oval was originally built with Indy cars in mind.
Very fittingly, the most successful driver in IndyCar history won the first oval race at Phoenix, which took place on this date in 1964.
After Davey McDonald became the first driver to win on the track’s now-defunct road course in the month prior, Phoenix’s oval was the site of USAC’s 1964 season-opener.
An estimated 7,000 were in attendance to watch 22 open-wheel cars battle for 100 laps. Parnelli Jones started on the pole position, but second-place qualifier A.J. Foyt quickly took the lead in the first turn and held on to it for the remainder of the race.
The race started a string of seven consecutive victories by Foyt, including his second victory at Indianapolis. Foyt went on to win nine times in 1964 en route to his fourth national championship.
Phoenix continued to remain as an IndyCar staple until being removed from the schedule following the 2005 race. The series then made a three-year return to the facility from 2016-18.
NASCAR held its first Cup Series event at Phoenix in 1988, and the facility has remained on the schedule every year since.
Also on this date:
1981: Johnny Rutherford won the Kraco Car Stereo 150, also at Phoenix. The victory was Rutherford’s final victory in the famous Pennzoil Chaparral.
1992: Nigel Mansell led all 69 laps to win the Grand Prix of Mexico at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Michael Schumacher finished third for the first podium in his illustrious F1 career.
Coming off his best Supercross season to date, Enzo Lopes has re-signed with Muc-Off / ClubMX Yamaha and will race for the team in 2024. The deal is for Supercross only.
Lopes debuted in the Supercross series in 2019 on a Suzuki and scored his first top-10 finishes in his last two starts of that season. Showing consistent improvement, he earned six top-10s in eight Main events the following year and finished fifth in the 250 East standings. In 2022, he scored his first top-five at Daytona and finished in the top five in points again.
“I am happy to be returning to ClubMX for another season,” Lopes said in a press release. “It is like family to me there and that is very important. Although I had many options, staying where I am makes the most sense for many reasons. The bikes are great, the people are great, the tracks are amazing, and I am surrounded by people that care about me. We all want to win and together we will get there.”
While he improved his season-best performance by only one position this year, it was nevertheless a breakout season. Lopes barely missed the podium three times in 2023 with fourth-place finishes at San Diego, Seattle, and Denver.
His strong performance him rumored to be speaking with factory teams.
“We could see the growth from Enzo every time he gets on the bike,” said team owner Brandon Haas. “We all knew it was just a matter of time before he would be noticed by everyone, and we are proud of him on many levels. He had some heat race wins and qualified fastest at three events this season. It would be hard not to be noticed going that fast. He had a big decision to make and we are glad he chose to stay with us at ClubMX.”
Lopes had three podium finishes in heat races this year, including a win preceding his fourth-place finish in Denver.