It’s hard to write a preview for something we have never seen before.
Phoenix International Raceway is a one-mile track that runs races in the spring and fall every year. In previous years, those races have been 312 miles, but they were called “500’s” because they used kilometers. Not this year. And I wish I was talking about lame it is to use kilometers since that’s the way people in the south calculate distance (NASCAR is returning to its roots.” Phoenix will runs 375 laps, 375 miles and 600 dag gum kilometers. That’s and extra 62 laps. I can hear my wife complaining already. No, really. She’s next to me as I type.
Drivers will race from sunlight to dusk to darkness. The track will change. The cars will change. It will be tough for anyone to determine how that impatcs your favorite driver. I guess that’s why we watch.
Most teams will be well rested and not just because of the Easter break. Teams often take their short track setups to Phoenix, which means you won’t see tons of adjustments unless your car flat out stunk at Bristol and Martinsville.
That said, Phoenix will be a bit warmer than Tennessee and Virginia. So expect to see cars get looser here than we’ve seen in the last month. It’s also tough for teams to do specialized adjustments because the banking is different all across the track. Teams will excel in some parts of the track and struggle in others. All of that said, for reasons beyond me, there aren’t a ton of cautions at Phoenix; so, those drivers who enjoy long runs like racing here.
Here are some random facts to impress your friends with this Sunday, thanks to the track’s web site.
- Jimmie Johnson has the best average finish at Phoenix and has won here four times, including the fall race.
- Mark Martin is the defending race champion. He has the second-best average finish, followed by Denny Hamlin, Marcos Ambrose and Jeff Burton
- Martin, Burton, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have won twice here.
- 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
- Tickets are still available, some for $25. Kids 12 and under can get in free to the Hillside, where you are allowed to bring hard-sided coolers.
- Why is there bias against hard-sided coolers?
- Arizona law prohibits fans from bringing alcohol to the track. No wonder there are $25 seats available.
- The track also won’t let you bring umbrellas to the track. It’s Phoenix. Who owns an umbrella?
- They have a weather policy in case rain delays things in the desert.
- You also aren’t allowed to bring skateboards to the track. How many skateboards were confiscated to the point it had to be written into track policy?
- Tony Hawk will not be announcing “Start your engines dude.”
- The track opened in 1964. It hosted its first race in 1988. Be patient, Kentucky and Nashville. Your times will come.
- SPEED has a cantina at the track. They are having Camper Appreciation Night on Wednesday and Harry Luge Jr. Thursday-Saturday.
- Can they not get Foghat? What about Creed? Even Clay Aiken??