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Last Updated Sunday, Apr 18, 2010 1:43 am, EDT

Subway Fresh Fit 600

Status: Final Phoenix International Raceway

Race Capsule

Phoenix International Raceway
  • What:

    Race 7 of 36 on Sprint Cup circuit

  • Where:

    Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, AZ

  • When:

    April 10, 2010 7:44 pm EDT

  • Laps:


  • Track Length:

    1. miles

  • Race Length:

    375.00 miles

  • Purse:


Drivers to Watch

Scott Speed Even though Martinsville did not go well, Speed still feels very confident about how the team is performing in 2010. And he doesn't expect the week off to kill any of the momentum the team has. "We are comfortably in the top 35 (in car owner points), so we can concentrate on the race each week and that makes a big difference," said Speed.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Earnhardt is a two-time Phoenix winner -- he had back-to-back wins in 2003 and 2004 before this track began playing host to two races a year in 2005. His overall record is four top-five finishes and seven top-10s in 15 starts. He was 31st last April and 35th in November after finishing seventh and sixth in the two 2008 races. "Phoenix is a cool track," Earnhardt said. "It's challenging because both ends of the track are completely different. It's tough to make a car work good there, but whoever can get through the corners is going to have a good night."
Joey Logano Logano finished 21st in both races at Phoenix in 2009, his rookie season. "Phoenix was a tough track for me and the Home Depot team last year," said Logano. "The strange thing is I really like the track and I don’t know why. Usually when you don't run well someplace you don't like it, but it's really a fun track."
Juan Pablo Montoya It has been a frustrating start for Montoya's team, and he hopes the Easter break will put an end to all of the bad luck the team has been experiencing. "We can still make the Chase, but we need to start finishing where we're running," said Montoya, who is 171 points out of the top 12.
Martin Truex Jr. Truex won the pole for the fall race at Phoenix, and he finished fifth in the race for his second consecutive top-seven finish at the one-mile speedway. "I've had some great runs at PIR," said Truex. "I had a shot at winning there a few times. So I am definitely looking forward to Phoenix. I think we are really close to winning a race."
Carl Edwards Edwards has seven top-10 finishes in 11 starts at Phoenix, including three fourth-place finishes. He will be making the 200th start of his Sprint Cup career Saturday night. "There's no better place for me to have a milestone start like this than at Phoenix," said Edwards. "That is where I ran my first-ever pavement race in 2001. That was a big day for me."
Jeff Gordon Gordon has one Phoenix win, in April 2007 when he tied Dale Earnhardt Sr. on the career-victory list. He has eight top-five finishes and 16 top-10s in 22 Phoenix starts. He was 25th in this race last April and ninth in November. "The biggest issue is dealing with the sun entering turn 1 during qualifying," Gordon said. "We only get two looks at it while trying to set a very quick time. It's right in our eyes during the race, too, but it's easier to judge then because we are driving into the corner lap after lap after lap."
Tony Stewart Stewart has one Cup victory at Phoenix, in his rookie season in 1999, and has seven top-five finishes and nine top-10s in 16 starts there overall. He was second last April and 25th in November. His second-place finish, however, is his only top-10 in his last four PIR starts. "Anytime you go back to a facility that you've had success at, you're always excited to go back there. It's not only the performance that we've had there, it's the total draw for me enjoying Phoenix so much," Stewart said. "It's just kind of the total package when I go out there. It's a great facility. Obviously, there aren't too many tracks you go to that you look over the backstretch and you see mountains and cactus everywhere. You hear people talking about cowboys going up there in the morning with a bag and grabbing rattlesnakes the day of the race to clear them out so people can sit down. It's just a pretty special racetrack."
Jamie McMurray McMurray has only one top-10 finish in 13 starts at Phoenix, a third in the fall of 2008. "Phoenix is a fun race track to run at, but it's also a challenging track because you have to set up your car for two different corners," said McMurray. "Turns 1 and 2 are completely different from turns 3 and 4, so your car has to be balanced well enough to turn at both ends because of the unique shape of the track."
Ryan Newman Newman and wife Krissie planned to spend part of their off week promoting their new book "Pit Road: NASCAR Stars and Their Pets, the Second Lap." Proceeds from the book will be donated to animal causes, such as giving grants to families that can't afford to spay or neuter their pets.
Jeff Burton Burton has back-to-back victories at Phoenix in 2000 and 2001 when this track was host to just one Cup race a year. Those are his only two wins to go along with six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes in 21 starts. He was 15th last April and second to Jimmie Johnson last November. He has four top-10 finishes in his last five PIR starts. "It's a really cool race track," he said. "Both ends of the race track are completely different. It's not really a short track. It's like a small superspeedway. The straightaways are real long and restarts are really aggressive. The front straightaway is downhill, which leads to a really sharp turn 1 corner. The exit of turn 2 is like nowhere else I've ever been. Turns 3 and 4 are big, long, sweeping corners. Some people can run the top and some can run below the apron, which gives the drivers different options. It's a challenge because it's so different on both ends of the race track."
Jimmie Johnson Look for Johnson to solidify his Cup points lead in this race because all of his four wins at Phoenix International Raceway have come in the last five races. The streak began in November 2007 and continued for a sweep of both 2008 contests. After finishing fourth in this race last year he came back to win in November. He has a streak of nine straight top-10 finishes at Phoenix, and 11 of his last 12 races there have been top-10s. He has eight top-five and 11 top-10 finishes in 13 Phoenix starts.
Kyle Busch Busch has one win and six top-10 finishes in 10 starts at Phoenix. "For some reason, I've always run well there," said Busch, who also has two Nationwide Series victories and one Truck win at the one-mile speedway. "I don't know if it's that I'm comfortable being back close to home on the West Coast or what. I always have had a little more fan support out there as well."
Kurt Busch Busch has one win (April 2005) to go along with four top-five finishes and eight top-10s in 14 Phoenix starts. He was third last April and sixth in November. He has a streak of three straight top-10 finishes, which includes a pair of top-fives. "Phoenix is a real racy race track," Busch said. "There is the high groove in turns 1 and 2. There are different lanes in 3 and 4, and it provides for great racing. Double-file restarts plug up any chance that you think that you're going to have of making up a lot of positions because you're racing with all the lead-lap guys. All the fast guys are up front, and usually who you're around is on the same sequence of tires that you have. It's exciting because we have double-file restarts, but it's tough when you get behind to make up time because you're in 15th, 16th place instead of a top five."
Kasey Kahne Kahne, who has only three top-10 finishes in 11 starts at Phoenix, will turn 30 on Saturday and hopes to give himself a "great birthday gift," a victory in the 375-lap event. "We've kind of been up-and-down there, but I feel like this year, with where we're at right now and the gains that we've made in the last month, that we can run pretty well Saturday night," he said.
Brian Vickers Vickers has only one top-10 finish in 11 starts at Phoenix. "I've always qualified well there -- had a couple of outside poles -- but my luck on race day hasn't always been too good," said Vickers. "But after how well we ran at Martinsville, I feel pretty good about this weekend."
Brad Keselowski Keselowski finished 37th in his Sprint Cup debut at Phoenix last fall. "The new car we are bringing to Phoenix is one of the lightest cars that we've produced to date, and we're excited to see how it races," said crew chief Jay Guy. "Phoenix has been called a 'compromising' track because the two ends of the track are so different. The main area we'll work on is the exit of turn 4."
Mark Martin Martin, who had two top-five finishes earlier this season, admits the last three races have been "hard to swallow. At Atlanta, we went from running 35th to having a top-seven or -eight car. Then we get in a wreck not of our doing. At Bristol, we had a winning race car, and again we end up in the garage area. It's frustrating. It's part of the sport that you know is there, but you still get frustrated when it happens to you. The good thing is that we have had great race cars."
Kevin Harvick Harvick is a two-time Phoenix winner -- he swept both races in 2006 -- and has three top-five finishes and six top-10s in 14 starts. But last year he was only 30th in this race and 24th in November, and he has just one top-10 in his last four PIR starts. "Phoenix has been a really good race track for us in the past," Harvick said. "Jeff (Burton) ran really well there last year, so hopefully we take his baseline and go with what they ran. We were absolutely horrible at Phoenix last year. I feel confident that we can take what Jeff ran last year, plug that setup in our car, tweak it just a little and be really strong this weekend."
Clint Bowyer Bowyer is looking for his first victory in nine Phoenix starts, and he has two top-five and three top-10 finishes there. He was 26th last April and seventh in November. He did finish second in this race in 2008. "Phoenix is one of my favorite race tracks," he said. "It's another short track that races well. We had a good run there in the fall, and I feel like we've hit on some things, which will allow us to come back and be better. I'm looking forward to going to Phoenix and having some fun. Hopefully we can run up front all day. So far this season, we've been able to do that consistently. We have to keep that going and, if we keep doing that long enough, we're going to get ourselves a win. Phoenix is one of those places where we can get our first win."
Denny Hamlin Hamlin will be seeking his fifth straight top-six finish at Phoenix. He has two thirds, a fifth and a sixth in the last four races run at the one-mile speedway. But because of his recent knee surgery, Hamlin isn't sure how long he will be able to race Saturday night. Casey Mears will be standing by as his relief driver. "It's painful, but I am working hard to get back my full range of motion and get back to where I need to be," said Hamlin. "I will see how my knee responds, and that will help me make the right decision when I get to Phoenix this weekend."
Matt Kenseth Kenseth won at Phoenix winner in 2002 and has five top-five finishes and six top-10s in 15 starts there. He was 27th last April and 18th in November. In fact, his best finish in the last four PIR starts is 15th in November 2008. "Every week this season has been a little bit of a surprise to me," Kenseth said. "Last year we weren't very good at some of these tracks, where already this season, I can say that we've really improved. A lot of those tracks that challenged us last year have been ones where we've had some great finishes this season. I enjoy racing at Phoenix, so this week will be another test for us to see how our programs are progressing."
David Ragan Ragan has only one top-10 finish in six starts at Phoenix. "I'm ready to get out to sunny Phoenix," he said. "It will be a different race this year since they added some extra (63) laps. Plus, it's the first Saturday night race of the year, which is always exciting, and I really enjoy racing under the lights."
Greg Biffle Biffle has three top-five finishes and four top-10s in 12 starts at Phoenix. He was fifth in this race last year and 14th in November. He has three top-10 finishes in his last five PIR races. "I really can't wait to go to Phoenix this weekend," he said. "I love that track and I love going out west. We've run well there, but we don't have a win there yet in the Cup car. In order to run well at Phoenix, you really have to work on getting your car to handle well at both ends, which can be difficult because they are very different. I would say the only other track that is so different at both ends is Darlington. If we can get that figured out, we should have a really good race in Phoenix. I can't think of anything better than the opportunity to take the points lead at a West Coast race. I love the West Coast races and the fans out there."
Paul Menard Menard is still looking for his first top-10 finish at Phoenix. In six starts, his best finish is 21st. Menard has finished 18th or better in every race this year. "In 2002, I raced in the Grand Cup Series a couple of times and won at Phoenix and then we won the NASCAR Southwest Tour race there last November, so I've got some pretty good memories at the track," he said.
Elliott Sadler Sadler, who has only one top-10 finish in 16 starts at Phoenix, will make his 400th Cup start on Saturday night. "I honestly can't believe this weekend will make my 400th start," said Sadler. "I'm really fortunate to be able to be in this position. I get to do a job I really love and work with some really great people. It's crazy though how fast time has gone by since my first full season in 1999."
David Reutimann Reutimann will be seeking his third straight top-10 finish at Phoenix this weekend. Even though the season has not gone as well as Reutimann had hoped, he believes his team is "running better than it ever has. Unfortunately, the results on the race track don't show that at all -- mainly because of those two engine issues."