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PIR president Julie Giese ready to showcase Arizona to NASCAR fans

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Count Phoenix International Raceway president Julie Giese as a firm believer in the state’s ability to host championship events.

Giese discussed the raceway’s role in hosting the inaugural Finale 500 race to end the 2020 NASCAR season on Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Tuesday.

She said the event, which was held in November, was a smashing success in multiple ways.

“I will say, when I got that phone call, I think I jumped up and down and screamed a little bit,” Giese said. “Very excited that this was happening to Phoenix Raceway and the state of Arizona. But then immediately we focused on how we could make this the best championship that NASCAR’s ever hosted.”

Giese added that Arizona’s familiarity in hosting major sporting events definitely helped her team prepare for the championship race.

“I think, I’ve said this a lot of times, this state’s so used to hosting big events, whether it be the Super Bowl, or Fiesta Bowl, or the World Series,” she said. “So for us, we had a bar to chin up to from a state perspective that we wanted to make sure that we were on that same level. So it was a lot of pressure but also a lot of fun.”

Giese also discussed the impact that the circuit’s two races at Phoenix International Raceway have on the region’s economy.

She told the co-hosts that the races bring in an eclectic crowd from all parts of the country and world, showcasing the Valley to a whole new audience.

Giese believes the championship race can be a huge boon for the state going forward, giving racing fans another reason to flock to the West each November.

“There’s so much that you can do while you’re here in this state,” Giese said. “And for us, we want to continue to do what we can to drive tourism in this state and having a championship race here does nothing but continuing that further.”