Watch NASCAR’s season finale … from the sky?

AVONDALE, ARIZONA - MARCH 13: A general view of racing during the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 13, 2022 in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) Getty Images

This weekend, NASCAR rolls into Phoenix Raceway for its season finale weekend. Stock car fanatics will watch as the series’ top three divisions do battle at the desert oval to determine who will be crowned champion. Some will tune in from their living room. Others, more fortunate, will be there in the stands and the suites.

Only the bravest will watch from the track’s Oasis in the Sky—a seated platform that lifts a dozen fans 150 feet in the air for 30-minute intervals.

The speedway’s newest fan amenity is courtesy of Dinner in the Sky Canada. Since 2006, the Vancouver-based company has provided aerial dining in more than 60 countries by suspending a rectangular bar top from a construction crane. Chefs and staff sporting harnesses work standing up in the middle of the bar, while patrons wine and dine sitting in bucket seats equipped with five-point racing belts.

True to form, this weekend’s high-flying experience will treat race fans to food and beverage service, during which they can watch their favorite drivers drive in circles below their dangling feet. “We look forward to giving VIP guests at NASCAR a new perspective,” said Julie Connolly, COO of Dinner in the Sky Canada. “Watching the Championship Race from 150 feet up in the open air will be an unforgettable experience.”

Phoenix Raceway
Phoenix Raceway (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) Getty Images

Frankly, it was only a matter of time. The Oasis in the Sky is yet another example of a raceway thinking outside the box for improved fan experience. Over the past decade or so, many speedway bosses have opted to yank out aluminum grandstands in favor of more comfortable seating (with benches upon which to place your drink), trackside motorhome parking, increased suite capacity, and entertainment lounges. A hanging bar, however, might be the most extreme attempt to tear fans away from their television sets.

It also comes as no surprise that Phoenix Raceway is the first to attempt the stunt. Since it was first carved into the Arizona desert in 1964, the track has undergone numerous layout changes and renovations, most recently having completed a $178M project, which involved moving grandstands and the start/finish line back in 2017. Just a few years later, in 2020, the evolving oval first hosted NASCAR’s season finale.

This Sunday’s Cup Series race promises to be a hot one, with an eclectic mix of drivers in contention for the season title. Regardless of which championship hopeful stands atop the championship stage, the real winners may be 15 stories in the air.

That gives a whole new meaning to “coming out on top.”

Phoenix Raceway turn

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    “Watching the Championship Race from 150 feet up in the open air will be an unforgettable experience.”
    After a couple of beers it may become an unbearable experience.

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