Lease Ending At Firebird Int’l Raceway

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John Force (far lane) battles his daughter Courtney Force in the NHRA Funny Car division during the 2012 running of the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Arizona's Firebird Int'l Raceway. Firebird Int'l Raceway will close its doors in April. (NHRA Photo)
John Force (far lane) battles his daughter Courtney Force in the NHRA Funny Car division during the 2012 running of the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Arizona’s Firebird Int’l Raceway. (NHRA Photo)

CHANDLER, Ariz. — The future of Firebird Int’l Raceway appears uncertain.

Firebird Int’l Raceway promoter Charlie Allen was recently notified that his lease on the Gila River Indian Community property, where the track is located, will not be extended or renewed.

“After almost 30 years, it’s incredibly sad to know that we are looking at the end of Firebird Int’l Raceway,” said Allen, president of the facility since it opened in 1983. “But let me tell you, it’s been a heck of a great ride.”

Allen and the staff of Firebird Int’l Raceway are now focusing on delivering a full schedule of events between now and April of 2013. Highlighting the schedule is the return of NHRA and the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing for the 29th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals, Feb. 22-24.

Firebird Int’l Raceway is home to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, which subleases space from Firebird on Gila River land, putting its future in flux as well.

However, the NHRA has reportedly been negotiating with Gila River Indian Community officials in hopes of continuing to hold its annual event at the facility.

“NHRA continues to have meaningful discussions with the Gila River Indian Community regarding the facility and hopes to finalize the agreement (for 2014) in the coming weeks,” Peter Clifford, NHRA’s executive vice president and general manager, told The Arizona Republic Thursday.