Start Your Engines

Greater Phoenix has vroom! for every auto enthusiast | By David Hubbard

In keeping with America’s infatuation with automobiles and automotive racing, Metro Phoenix is rife with opportunities to ogle at the classics, soak in the action as a spectator, and taste the experience from behind the wheel. The stage is set for a worldly fraternity of automotive aficionados to fuel their passion, feed their need for speed, and put the pedal to the metal.

Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction

Tom Barrett and Russ Jackson parlayed the success of a charity fundraiser they put together in 1967 into the highly acclaimed Barrett-Jackson classic car auctions known the world over.

The Phoenix stop of The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auctions is staged in January at Westworld of Scottsdale where jaw-dropping consignments from private collections go on the block. Lots range from the rarest vintage classics and antique collectibles to American muscle cars, with sports cars and novelty vehicles in between. Serious vintage car collectors dig deep to bid high in hope of reeling in a nostalgic treasure, while avid enthusiasts pour in by the thousands from everywhere to watch the action, view the rolling stock, and breathe the rarified air.

Best Bet for First-Timers

First-time bidders are advised to compete for the vehicle they like and the one they think the market will command down the road. The Lifestyle Event, Behind the Hobby symposiums, and test rides are a must for first-time spectators.

ISM Raceway

Formerly Phoenix International Raceway, this premier motorsport venue since 1964 just isn’t what it used to be—not even close. In fall of 2017, new owners renamed it ISM Raceway, and awe-inspiring renovations have brought the old place bounding into the 21st century. The undertaking incorporates a lengthy list of upgraded amenities, additional creature comforts, and new services to heighten the fan experience at NASCAR Weekends (in May and November) and other events in the active annual schedule.

Modern amenities include posh individual seats that replace the old bench seating, new escalators and additional elevators to allow faster access, and a new grandstand to house additional guest services.

Best Bet for First-Timers

Buy the INfield experience for the best access in all of NASCAR, allowing you to get up-close-and-personal with the crews and drivers.

Bondurant Racing School

From racing karts to Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcats and Formula Mazda race cars, Bondurant Racing School instills everyday drivers and racing professionals with greater proficiency behind the wheel. Bondurant’s proprietary trainings set up authentic on-road experiences to replace bad driving habits with advanced knowledge and build skills to safely maneuver through any traffic situation. Performed on the 1.6-mile road course, the highly specialized and exacting Bondurant method teaches life-saving techniques available only through first-hand training and experience.

All are welcome in the school’s thrilling and demanding four-day Motorsport Grand Prix Road Racing Class. Bondurant also offers advanced teen driving and military and executive-protection trainings with street-savvy solutions.

Best Bet for First-Timers

Drivers of every level should come ready to learn and take the training very seriously. Though the programs are thrilling in their own right, they are not intended to turn the track into an amusement park.

Octane Raceway

In Scottsdale, Octane Raceway delivers exhilarating kart racing in European electric race karts on the only full-time indoor/outdoor track in the United States. The venue has caught the attention of diehard enthusiasts, beginners, and a parade of celebrity NASCAR and Indy 500 drivers.

Octane is a one-stop action entertainment center also offering Velocity VR free-roam virtual reality gaming and a host of arcade games. The Brickyard Grill is a favorite pit stop for casual dining and happy hour and offers catering for groups.

Octane Raceway has become a go-to staple for corporations in search of an off-beat group outing, with the Pit Crew Challenge as the main event for team-building experiences.

Best Bet for First-Timers

There is more to do than race karts. Give mini-bowling a try and then celebrate in the Brickyard Grill.

K1 Speed

K1 Speed affords the excitement of kart racing experience in a safe, comfortable environment. Established in Carlsbad, California, in 2003 and now operating nationwide, K1 Speed was among the first to introduce highly advanced and environmentally friendly electric go-karts on an indoor track.

One-stop entertainment includes the Pit Cafe, meeting rooms, and pool tables. The K1 Race Gear pro shop carries all the equipment and apparel karters need to enjoy the sport. Adding more to basic karting recreation, K1 stirs in its own recipe for packages for league kart racing and invites group and corporate events. Parties of eight or more can book a Grand Prix-type event with qualifying heats and championship.

Best Bet for First-Timers

Heed all safety instructions and obey all track rules to get maximum enjoyment from driving fast and safe in a mix of experienced and novice karters.

Phoenix Kart Racing Association (PKRA)

Open to the public, member-owned Phoenix Kart Racing Association (PKRA) maintains an asphalt track in Glendale inside the Adobe Dam Park and Recreation Area for all who enjoy the sport. The ¾-mile track sets up in multiple configurations for novice and expert events. PKRA operates under IKF Sprint Kart rules and sponsors an officiated race schedule in a strict racing format that determines the winners.

While catering primarily to members with their own karts, approved kart vendors are available to visitors to arrange an arrive-and-drive kart rental.

Best Bet for First-Timers

Race days and scheduled practice sessions provide the best opportunities to visit PKRA and learn from this friendly group of kart racers.

2018–2019 Winter Auto Events

Barrett-Jackson  January 12–20, Westworld of Scottsdale, Scottsdale,

Russo and Steele Arizona Car Week  January 16–20, Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Scottsdale,

Bonhams Scottsdale Auction  January 17, The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, Scottsdale,

Gooding & Company Scottsdale Auctions January 18–19, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Scottsdale,

Spring NASCAR Weekend  March 8–10, ISM Raceway, Phoenix,