On the same weekend when the Indy Racing League makes it annual trip to the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, the man who helped bring both the IRL and the NASCAR Winston Cup Series to Arizona elected to announce his retirement 17 years after buying the unique oval.

Phoenix International Raceway has announced that Emmett 'Buddy' Jobe, the track's president and former owner, will retire five years after selling the 'Desert Jewel' to International Speedway Corporation.

"When I sold the track," said Jobe, "I signed a five-year contract. That contract is up. So, I'm just going to take it a little bit at a time. If PIR ever needs me, if there's anything I can ever do for the track or ISC or the good folks in Phoenix, I'll do it. But right now I'm just going to take it a little bit at a time, and see about some new adventures."

Jobe purchased the famous one-mile paved oval racetrack in 1985 as a land investment, but quickly became enthused about the fabled facility and its potential as an integral part of Arizona's economy. He quickly began making improvements to the facility with an eye toward securing a date on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series schedule. In 1988, that dream became a reality, followed by the addition of a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.

In 1997, after turning what was once considered a white elephant racetrack in Avondale into the state's largest privately held economic impact contributor (over $272 million per year), Jobe sold the track to International Speedway Corporation.

"I really, really love that track," added Jobe. "Honestly, I could have sold it for a lot more money. But, I wanted PIR to grow and prosper. Who would give PIR the best chance of continuing to grow the way it should? To get better and better? It was the France family. I knew that. That's why I sold it to ISC - because of the strength they have."

After selling the track, Jobe remained with Phoenix International Raceway as President, overseeing continued improvements as the track acquired a NASCAR Busch Series race and later a Grand American Rolex event.

"Buddy Jobe's legacy will never be overlooked or forgotten," said Robin Braig, the track's Executive Vice President and General Manager. "It's not just the physical features that he was responsible for, like the garages, and grandstands, and suites. Buddy will always be remembered for his way of dealing with everyone, from sponsors and racers to team owners and especially the race fans, as his personal guests. That bridge across the Aqua Fria river is a concrete testament to the kind of accomplishments Buddy Jobe was responsible for, but what everyone will truly remember is how much he loved racing and the people involved in racing. It's not going to be the same around here without him."

Phoenix International Raceway will honour Buddy Jobe with several salutes during this weekend's Bombardier ATV World Copper Indy 200, including pre-race activities and the renaming of the original turn one suite building as the "Buddy Jobe Suites."

"He's made so many contributions to racing and especially to the community," added Braig. "Buddy Jobe saw a future for top level motor racing in Arizona, and he did whatever was necessary to make it happen. Without Buddy Jobe there probably wouldn't be NASCAR racing at Phoenix International Raceway. In fact, the racetrack itself would probably be nothing more than a memory if not for Buddy. On behalf of the France family and everyone else at International Speedway Corporation, we wish Buddy Jobe all the best."