Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, Arizona has been a race fan's go-to hangout since 1983, but it was called Firebird International Raceway then. As a host of the NHRA Nationals, the track gets hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. This is a popular place to play in the winter due to its warm climate, and the locals love it just as much as the visitors who come in from out of town. And with its 600 acres, the park plays host to other types of events as well, attracting folks all year long to the track.
Some of the most well-known brands in the world are sponsors to the park, including Ford, Carquest, Coca-Cola, and Lucas Oil. There are actually four racetracks here, which include the 1/8-mile straightaway, the 1.1-mile road course, 1.25-mile road course, and the quarter-mile NHRA drag strip. There is also a 2.4-mile lake that is sanctioned by the American Power Boat Association (APBA) and International Hot Boat Association (IHBA) for drag boat racing.
Some of the most popular races held at Wild Horse Pass include the NHRA Arizona Nationals in late February and the Friday Night Drags, which are held every Friday. Legends like Muldowney, Senna, Garlits, and Andretti have been to the track and helped build its popularity. From 300-mile per hour nitro drag racing to monster trucks, the track has something that everyone loves.
Because Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is home to so many different events throughout the year, the prices of tickets vary a great deal. However, the average price of an NHRA event, which is by far the most popular, ranges from $20 to $60 for one day, $115 to $225 for the full event, and special club passes with various amenities vary from $500 to $1,000 and up. Camping is separate and typically runs $225 to $1,000 for the whole weekend, depending on your choice of spots and amenities.
Located right off of Interstate 10, near the intersection of I-10 and AZ-202, Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park is easy to find and to get to no matter where you start your journey. Just 17 miles from Phoenix, which is the state capital, you will not be far from the big city benefits like nightclubs, spas, and a botanical garden that is phenomenal. You’re also just 16 miles from South Mountain Park and Preserve, which has 16,000 acres of hiking, biking, and horseback riding fun. You may want to stop in and check it out while you are in town.
The park has multiple parking lots on the property as well as grassy areas they open up to parking for big events. Many of the sections are free, some are $10 to $20, and others are included in packages like VIP or for specific club members. When you enter the racetrack area, there will typically be staff members who help guide you to the best parking spots, which is important if you are driving a big rig. If you are camping at Wild Horse Pass, follow the directions on your ticket or on the website.
Since Chandler is near the edge of Phoenix, transportation services do not often come as far as the track. The cities of Tempe, Phoenix, and others in the area have a city bus service that gets you pretty close to Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, but you will still need to call a taxi or do a bit of walking. Your other option is to use a rideshare app. Consider using a private ride service or tow vehicle, or check with the local cities for another form of transportation.
The MotorCoach Resort at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park has 32 amazing RV sites with full hookups on eight acres. Each one of the sites has its own nicely landscaped area with a picnic table and campfire ring with a grill for cooking. They also have a bathhouse with hot water, restrooms, and laundry facilities. There is even a dog run if you want to bring your pooch.
With such a limited amount of space at the park, you will want to scout out areas around the track as well. If you did not manage to secure a spot on-site, there are quite a few places to stay near Wild Horse Pass with various accommodations and amenities ranging from primitive sites to lush resorts with showers and full hookups. The Mesa / Apache Junction KOA is approximately 25 miles to the north and has over 100 sites for RVs up to 70 feet in length. They have Wi-Fi, cable TV, a hot tub and pool, full utilities, and even a dog park.
Luckily, most of the fun is packed into a nicely compacted space, so you will not have much walking to do no matter whether you are going to the parking lot or your campsite. But wear some comfy shoes anyway because you may be making several trips to the concessions, restrooms, and vendor area. Also, ADA spectators will be privy to the tram service as will VIP and club members.
Arizona is nice and warm most of the year but can go from warm to overbaked in the summer, so your wardrobe depends on what time of year you will be visiting. During the winter you might do fine with jeans and a sweatshirt, but in the summertime, you are going to want some shorts and tank tops.
The gear you bring will also depend on when you are coming to the track and where you will be staying. If you are staying at the track during the summer, bring a lot of water and some bug repellent for the campsite. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park allows coolers up to 12 inches and backpacks up to 18 inches with no glass containers allowed. And make sure you have your wristband and tickets with you while you are there.
Earplugs or headphones are a good thing if you have tender ears or if you have kids with you. Always have sunscreen with a hefty SPF. Bug spray or lotion is also a good thing to wear, especially if you will be out after dark. Sunglasses and a hat will protect your eyes and help keep you cool as well. Drink a lot of water to stay hydrated, especially if you are drinking adult beverages. Also, you should keep a first aid kit in your RV for emergencies.
If you stay onsite, you will be able to cook inside or outside your rig because they offer full hookups as well as a campfire ring with a grill. There is even a community BBQ area in the middle of the campground for larger groups to enjoy. To be prepared, bring along a camp stove or barbecue pit. And always have plenty of water on hand.
Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park has a bunch of fantastic food choices, but there are other places nearby if you get sick of track food. Or maybe you just want a break from the crowd. The City of Chandler has a wide variety of eateries from seafood, Asian cuisine, pizza places, and of course, there are fast food joints as well. You can even find a few nice restaurants where you can sit down and have a meal with the family.
The track will wet your whistle with just about any beverage you can think of, including beer and other adult beverages. The food vendors will amaze you with how many different types of foods they can fry and put on a stick. And your kids (and you) will love the sweets like cotton candy and funnel cake. The merchandisers will also be out on the midway offering up their newest wares.
You will be happy to know that Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park has excellent security to keep everyone safe while having a good time. While they do not go out of their way to make themselves known, you will be able to find them easily if you need them. Be prepared to have your belongings checked at the gate as well. And don’t bring anything you know is not allowed like weapons, drugs, or fireworks.
Depending on the time of year you are coming, the weather can vary a bit at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park. Arizona is a hot place to be during the summer, but in the winter, it is awesome. There is not usually much in the way of storms, but they do happen, and fire bans may take place if the weather is dry.
The park has medical professionals on hand to provide services if they are needed, so if you are sick or have an accident, head for one of the first-aid centers. One of them is in the infield, while the other is by Gate 2. If you need more advanced medical services, there are a few hospitals in Chandler, right down the road.