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Phoenix International Raceway
Night and day.
It’s a phrase we hear all the time. At Phoenix International Raceway, it’s beyond appropriate.
Phoenix has two races which run like night and day. For starters, Phoenix’s first race runs at night. The second race runs in the afternoon. Also, Phoenix’s first race is 375 laps, 375 miles and 600 kilometers (I don’t know why the track uses kilometers either.) The second race is 312 laps, 312 miles and 500 kilometers.
More importantly, Phoenix repaved it track last year. This is the third race under the new, much faster surface. Many teams say this runs like a different track. Past success or failure simply doesn't carry over to this raceway right now.
Because Phoenix is in the middle of a desert, cars get looser here than some of the other Chase tracks we’ve seen over the past two months. It’s also tough for teams to do specialized adjustments because the banking is different all across the track.
Even though Phoenix is a shorter track, there aren’t many cautions here, especially when compared to Martinsville or Bristol.
Now some random facts to impress your friends with as you watch ESPN begin its race coverage at 2 EST Sunday.
- The banking in turns one and two is eleven degrees. The banking in turns three and four is nine degrees.
- The banking in the frontstretch is three degrees. On the backstretch, it's nine degrees.
- The frontstretch is 1,179 feet, and the backstretch is 1,551 feet.
- Kasey Kahne won this race last year with a team that doesn't exist.
- Denny Hamlin won the first Phoenix race.
- Jimmie Johnson has the best average finish at Phoenix and has won here four times.
- Mark Martin has the second best average finish.
- Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart round out the top five average finishers among active drivers.
- Martin, Jeff Burton, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have won at Phoenix twice.
- Harvick only has the eleventh best average finish of active drivers at the track.
- Arizona law prohibits fans from bringing alcohol to the track.
- The track also won’t let you bring umbrellas.
- They have a weather policy in case rain delays things in the desert.
- The track opened in 1964. It hosted its first race in 1988.
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