|McMurray and Montoya discuss strategy before practice last week|
No. 1 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1008. Kevin “Bono” Manion will bring chassis #1008. This was the chassis that McMurray drove to a 10th place finish in the fall race at Phoenix last year.
JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS: “Phoenix is a cool place. It is really tricky. Both ends are very different. It’s one of those tracks you look forward to going to because it’s so different. From what I heard they’re going to change it up a bit when we go back there in the fall so that’s a little disappointing. I haven’t seen the proposed plan but they are probably looking for better racing or something different. The racing has always been pretty exciting there I thought.”
No. 42 Target Chevrolet (NSCS): Chassis #1109. Brian Pattie and the Target team will be bringing Chassis #1109 to Phoenix International Raceway. This is a brand-new chassis.
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 NATIONAL GUARD/ AMP ENERGY CHEVROLET – 22ND IN STANDINGS – HAS TWO (2) PIR WINS – ’03, ’04: “I have a lot of respect for Steve (Letarte) as a crew chief. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him better these past couple of months. I’ve seen him make some awesome calls and do a lot of great things with Jeff (Gordon, driver of the No. 24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet). I really enjoy the way the team approaches their jobs and what their goals are. I like the way they go about business, how they conduct themselves. Those guys are used to winning. I like that pressure and sense of entitlement to winning. Handling is really important at Phoenix. It takes something special to make a car work really good there. Turns 3 and 4 have been a challenge for me lately. Both ends can be challenging but (Turns) 3 and 4 create a longer corner, and they are just so different from each other.”
|Gordon one to watch at Phoenix with team changes|
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S/KOBALT TOOLS CHEVROLET – 25TH IN STANDINGS – HAS FOUR (4) VICTORIES AT THE ONE-MILE OVAL – ;07, ’08, ’08, ’09: “Definitely disappointed that they needed to resurface the track. I understand that at some point all tracks need it and they are at that point. We love the tracks that are worn out and on the verge of needing to be resurfaced. I think we put on our best races there. So, disappointed to hear it go but Phoenix has done a good job in speaking with folks, drivers, trying to understand the track from a safety standpoint and to make sure that we don’t have single-file racing starting at the first race after the repave. I’ve been in talks with Phoenix and the crew that is working on the track and I feel good about things and where they are going with it. If we don’t like it, which sounds like the chances are low, in time it will come back, just like a lot of the other tracks.”
MARK MARTIN, NO. 5 GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET – 9TH IN STANDINGS – HAS TWO (2) PIR VICTORIES – ’93, ’09: “I love racing at Phoenix. I’m a big fan of short track racing. I grew up racing on short tracks and it’s just always been something I’ve enjoyed. I’ve had a lot of success at Phoenix, too, so that gets me pretty geared up when I get out there. There comes a time when you really aren’t sure you’ll ever get a win again. I was at that point (when he won Phoenix with Hendrick Motorsports in 2009). I knew our team was capable, but I hadn’t won in so long. That night was incredible. I was just so happy. Beyond happy. And to see the guys, Alan (Gustafson) and the crew guys, to see their faces. I’ll never forget it. Then to have as many of the other drivers and owners in this sport come to see me. It will be one of the most memorable wins of my career for sure.”
|Newman beat Gordon off the line in a G-W-C Phoenix finish in spring|
NEWMAN CHASSIS SELECTION - Chassis No. 39-536: For Ryan Newman and the No. 39 team, chassis No. 39-536 has been a favorite. The Subway Fresh Fit 500k marks its first outing in 2011. Prior to this season, Newman piloted this chassis at three races in 2010 – twice at Phoenix International Raceway and once at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway. In the car’s first outing at Phoenix last April, Newman took the lead on the final restart of the race and held on to the top spot for the final two laps to score his first win driving for Stewart-Haas Racing. In November, it was a key pit call, once again, that led to a runner-up finish. At Richmond, Newman finished 11th. The chassis also saw action four times in 2009 – twice at Phoenix with 16th- and 20th-place finishes and twice at Richmond with fourth and 10th-place finishes, respectively. During the offseason, the car’s front clip was updated for 2011. The car was also wind tunnel tested in early February with good results.
TONY STEWART, NO. 14 OFFICE DEPOT/ MOBIL 1 CHEVROLET – 12TH IN STANDINGS – HAS ONE (1) PIR WIN – ’99: “I think everybody’s pretty worn out after being in Daytona for so long. Phoenix means a normal routine and a chance for the crew guys to get back to their families for a couple of days before heading to another racetrack. I think so. Daytona is a restrictor-plate race and, unlike Daytona, four guys can’t get in a line at Phoenix and go to the front. Daytona and Talladega (Ala.) have always just been two different forms of racing. With the draft being so important at those two tracks, it’s more of a team deal than an individual deal. What happens at Phoenix and the races after that has to be done on your own. You can’t help each other at Phoenix. You just have to go race.”
|Stewart is bringing a strong chassis this week|
REGAN SMITH, NO. 78 FURNITURE ROW RACING CHEVROLET – 6TH IN STANDINGS: “After Daytona 500 I found time to take a few deep breaths, and for a short time, rehashed what could have been. But then it was all about Phoenix and thinking about how important it is to maintain the momentum we gained during Speedweeks. While in Daytona, Phoenix’s one-mile oval was on our mind and we went to Disney World Speedway to conduct a test session. We were pleased with what we learned in the test and feel that Phoenix and the following races should be good for our Furniture Row Chevrolet. We’re looking for big things and know that we have the potential to produce positive results on a weekly basis.”