In the heart of Avondale, Arizona, encompassed by stunning regional parks and preserves, is Phoenix Raceway, more recently titled ISM Raceway. ISM Raceway is a skip, hop, and a jump from Phoenix and has been home to major events such as NASCAR and IndyCar.
The one-mile, tri-oval racetrack at 7602 S. Avondale Boulevard has seating for over 50,000 people and camping opportunities for several hundred. It’s also close to many tourist destinations, such as Estrella Mountain Regional Park and South Mountain Park and Preserve.
While those must-visit destinations are one reason to visit Arizona, ISM Raceway is surely the main one. This race track boasts standout facilities, many of which were modernized in a multi-million dollar upgrade in 2018-2019. Service hookups are not available for RV-goers, but there are plenty of bathroom and shower facilities to make it a worthwhile visit.
Then there’s the entertainment area itself. The grandstands cater to tens of thousands of visitors, as well as grassy hill areas for visitors to sit with a cushion and blanket and enjoy the action.
If you’re looking for something to break up the year, then let the ISM Raceway be it. There are several events throughout the year that will surely pique your curiosity enough to make the journey.
Ticket pricing and availability can differ from one event to the next at ISM Raceway. What you can expect, however, is for tickets to sell out fast, especially to events such as IndyCar and NASCAR.
A quick visit to Phoenix Raceway’s website will show you all the ticket options, pricing tiers, and availability. You can even purchase camping passes with your admission for an all-encompassing experience, and choose your grandstand seats as well.
There are many ways to access ISM Raceway, including via the main highways I-17 and I-10. Most roads leading to Avondale, Arizona, are well sign-posted. While the routes to ISM Raceway are straightforward, the traffic can make things interesting.
ISM Raceway works with local law enforcement to make sure your visit to the track goes as smoothly as possible, but expect congestion. Setting off a few hours earlier to arrive in advance of any racing can help you keep a cool head. As you approach your destination, keep an eye on AZ511 for updated traffic information.
There are several different parking areas which you can identify by their color. If you are only parking at ISM Raceway for the day and don’t have a parking pass, then follow the signage from I-10 to the general parking area. Helpful parking assistants will help you to find the best place to park.
If you are camping onsite, either reserved or unreserved, you will have a parking pass and specific instructions, including a map, to help you find your way. Familiarize yourself with this information before you arrive so that you have a fair idea of where you’re going.
There are several different camping areas and different roads and paths to access each one. Each visitor has space for a tow vehicle and their trailer or RV.
If you are not staying at the Raceway, then it’s helpful to know what transportation options are available in the area. You can then leave your RV at your campsite and avoid the hassles of parking and lines. You can make use of the Phoenix to ISM Raceway bus routes, call a taxi, or use a private ride service.
Once you’re in the expansive venue, you may encounter golf cart taxi transportation available to help you navigate the grounds. You can flag down a driver or call the ride service provider to book a ride.
There are several different campsites dotted around the enormous venue, including reserved and unreserved. All RV sites booked in advance come with admission tickets and a permit for an RV and tow vehicle. Once you arrive, you can set up camp, get out your camp cooker, secure your dog on a leash, and enjoy the action!
While there are no service hookups, you are welcome to make use of the toilets and showers, your generators, and a convenience store. There will also be a freshwater service to fill up your tanks, should you need them.
Remember, all the instructions for getting to your campsite are unique to your ticket, so follow these for the simplest route to your camping area. If your tickets don’t arrive in time, the Will Call pick-up area is at ICM Raceway Administration Office.
Not everyone likes the excitement and noise of a race track while they’re trying to sleep. If you would prefer to camp offsite, then there are plenty of options to suit your needs, like Covered Wagon RV Park. There are RV resorts and RV parks within a 20 to 30-minute drive of ISM Raceway, traffic-dependent.
These boast a range of hookups and amenities to make your trip to Arizona as memorable as possible. You can then drive your RV or tow vehicle to the track each day, or make use of public transportation such as a taxi or private ride service. Phoenix RV campgrounds are fairly plentiful, and many are under an hour away with amenities to suit every style of traveler.
There is a lot of ground to cover, which means you may want another form of transportation other than your feet. You’re more than welcome to use your bicycle responsibly around your campsite, but not within the event site itself. If your feet grow weary, alert a golf cart shuttle driver who can take you to where you want to go. These are also available at campsites for quick and effortless transport to the racing action.
Many of the headline events at ISM Raceway are held during winter, but there are a few that also pack the grandstands out in the heart of summer. Whichever event you intend on joining, make sure you check the forecast to help choose your wardrobe.
ISM Raceway recommends that you dress comfortably and in layers. Mornings are chilly, but the days can turn out rather nice. Fans can also get in the spirit of the event by bringing any sponsor gear you own, a crazy wig, and themed attire to stand out from the crowd!
Before you set off for Arizona, make sure you bring everything you need to live “off the grid.” While ISM Raceway boasts plenty of amenities, they don’t have service hookups or dumping stations. It would also help to bring cash to save waiting in line at the ATMs, and a light backpack that can serve you well on your walks around the track.
You can also bring soft coolers, sealed water bottles, a camera, binoculars, and a seat cushion to keep you comfortable on the grassy hills. Much of what else you will require for your stay is available at the raceway or nearby in Phoenix.
Arizona is known to turn up the temperature, which means that even in the colder months of the year, you’re bound to find it can be quite warm. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, bug spray, and sunglasses with a hat to keep the sun off your face. If you’re in Arizona for a while, don’t forget any prescription medication and supplies you might need to tide you over until you get home.
If you want a true, authentic RV camping experience, then you’ll be excited to be able to cook for yourself in your onboard kitchen or outside the rig. ISM Raceway doesn’t allow campfires or bonfires, but you can haul out your barbeque, use your gas cooker, or set up an off-the-ground fire to toast those marshmallows.
If you need to stock up on more supplies, there is a convenience store under two miles from the track, and many more options in the heart of Phoenix as well. For some events, ISM Raceway opens their onsite convenience store which has firewood, groceries, beer, snacks, ice, and even the morning paper with coffee to make you feel at home.
When you’re at a racetrack for several days, you may begin to feel like you need a break. Why not take a trip into Phoenix and dine at a local establishment? Within ten miles, there are dozens of different options.
From healthy salads, hearty steaks, and greasy burgers through to ethnic cuisine and cafe delicacies, you’re not short of options. Allow extra time for service due to the number of visitors to the area for any race event. You can then go park by Salt River or a nearby preserve while you eat in peace and quiet.
Dozens of permanent and satellite vendors open up shop at ISM Raceway, ready to cater to the masses. Make sure you’re first in line! From donuts and ‘dogs through to sodas and other snacks, you’re spoiled for choice. Don’t forget to stop off at the ATM to withdraw cash, and why not check out some of the ISM Raceway merchandise to remember your holiday? Many of the vendors are well-appointed to both the racing action and grandstands.
There are several entry gates into ISM Raceway, and all of them are staffed by ISM Raceway’s security team. Their job is to make sure everyone who enters the venue is there to have a good time. Don’t be afraid if they ask to search your bag as you wander over from your campsite to the grandstands.
If you want to speed up the security process, pop a few things in a backpack and leave the rest at your campsite. Glass and ceramic items, weapons, umbrellas, drones, projectiles, wheeled transport, fireworks, noisemakers, and anything that could disturb someone’s racing experience are best left at home or in your RV.
Arizona is known for its hot, dry summers, but can also become cold, wet, and windy. Prepare for all eventualities by checking the forecast before you leave home. You can then get a general idea of the weather you can expect. It also wouldn’t hurt to check a traffic and transportation app to ensure your trip to Arizona will be smooth sailing.
ISM Raceway takes any and all medical events seriously. If you need a helping hand for an injury or accident, you can send a text message to ISM Raceway with your location and issue for someone to come help.
Otherwise, make your way to one of the three first-aid sites in the grandstand gates. These offer pre-hospital medical care, including basic services through to cardiac and trauma support. In an emergency, dial 9-11, or locate a facility representative, medical team, or law enforcement officer for assistance.