Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Driver Notes & Quotes For Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500k

Busch bringing a car to Phoenix with a poor resume 
KYLE BUSCH ON PHOENIX AND WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN THERE: “I’m glad to go back to a racetrack that drivers matter and car handling matters. You always want to win at Daytona, so don’t get me wrong. But taking everything into account, I’m pleased to get a top-10 finish and start off the season on the right foot as far as the points go. I ran really well at Phoenix in both races last year, but circumstances kept us from winning there last year. The late caution in the spring race hurt us and not being able to stretch out fuel mileage in the fall race obviously hurt us, as well. I’m looking forward to getting back there, for sure, and hoping we can get Combos into victory lane again, as well.

"You’ve got to have a good car, but you’ve got to have good brakes. You’ve got to have a good-turning car, and you’ve got to have a good car that can accelerate off of turn two and go fast down the backstretch. There’s a lot involved at Phoenix, but being a day race and being hot and slick, it makes it that much more interesting.”

KYLE BUSCH CHASSIS SELECTION - Chassis No. 280: This chassis will make its third career start during Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500k at Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Ariz. In its maiden start, at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn last August, Busch qualified No. 280 in 18th and ran within the top-10 before a scrape with the wall relegated him to an 18th-place finish. In its most recent start at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., last October, Busch started 16th but finished a disappointing 35th as a blown engine ended his day on lap 155 of the 200-lap race.

Pole sitter in spring 2010 Phoenix race
A.J. ALLMENDINGER ON THINKING HE COULD GET HIS FIRST CAREER WIN AT PHOENIX BECAUSE OF PAST SUCCESS THERE: “I look at every track that way. We go in every weekend trying to go with the same attitude of winning, but, yeah, I think you look at tracks where we have had success at, Phoenix, Dover and Loudon especially, and you get a little more excited about it. Like I said, even though we have qualified well there and ran decent during the races, I don’t feel we have been contending for top-10s there and we need to get better at that. Over the offseason we have really been able to sit down and pinpoint the areas we needed to work on. In the little bit of testing we have done, we have focused on those areas and have ideas of how we can make it better. You don’t really know until you go to that place and get on the race track and feel what it is like, but I feel like we are going to have better race cars and the motors will be better. I think we have better ideas of what to do, so I am looking forward to it.”

DAVID REUTIMANN ONE WHERE HE NEEDS TO MAKE IMPROVEMENTS IN 2011: “Our 1.5-mile program is pretty good. I think our speedway program is decent, as well. Obviously, the road course deal is what it is. It seems like we need to be better at the flatter-type race tracks. I think our 1.5-mile program and race tracks that have some bank to them are going pretty well. The flatter-type race tracks, like Phoenix, Martinsville and Loudon — places like that we need to get better at those race tracks. We’ve run well there, so we know we can run well, we just don’t do it consistently.”

REUTIMANN ON WHATHER FLAT TRACKS SUIT HIS DRIVING STYLE: “I would have thought they would have, coming from a background of short, flat race tracks — I thought we would have been better there. I don’t feel like I’m better at 1.5-mile tracks, I just feel like our cars are better at those tracks. We have a better product for bigger race tracks and we just need to make our product a little bit better for the flatter-type race tracks. We struggle there a bit. I know Rodney (Childers, crew chief) is working awfully hard to make it so it’s not like that any more.”

ROBBY GORDON RECAPPING EFFORTS AT DAYTONA: “Daytona was a very exciting race this year. We had a very fast Dodge Charger, and the Penske power was awesome. I was really bummed that we spun our dancing partner, Brad Keselowski, because the two of us were very fast together. We knew that we needed to be there at the end to have a shot at the win. With two laps remaining, I felt that since we ran in the top 10 for most of the day that we would easily finish there, but it is Daytona and anything can happen. Unfortunately, we got moved out of line with only one to go. I honestly have no idea how I saved that one, but did and went on to finish 16th. It was a good finish for our team, but we could have easily finished better had we not got moved out of line. The team did a great job, and I’m really looking forward to Phoenix this weekend.”

New Blue Deuce this week
BRAD KESELOWSKI ON HOW HE'LL PERFORM AT PHOENIX: “I enjoy the challenge that Phoenix provides. It’s a very unique layout that has little – if any – grip. The track is worn down and it sits in that Arizona sun and just bakes, so it’s hard to get your car hooked up. But that’s part of the reason it’s so much fun to race there. It just seems like you are sliding around the entire race because it doesn’t take long for your tires to wear out. You really have to be smooth. That’s what I focus on when I get there and I think anyone that runs well there does the same thing. It’s also really important to work with your crew chief to come up with a setup that is balanced and will work well with the asphalt at Phoenix.”

KESELOWSKI CHASSIS CHOICE: The No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger team will use chassis PRS-736 during Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR). This is a brand-new chassis to the No. 2 team.

JEFF GORDON ON RACING AT PHOENIX: “There will be some new things that we will need to adjust to this weekend. In the past, the sun can be difficult to deal with while driving into turn 1. Friday’s practice session will give us an opportunity to see what kind of challenge that gives us in February. And those practice sessions now determine our qualifying order. This should make qualifying very interesting with the fast drivers going out later and later. We could see the top spot changing after each run. Qualifying well here seems to help on race day. It’s not like Daytona where you can go from 10th to the lead in one lap. Sometimes it can take several laps just to gain one position. And the fewer positions needed to gain to get to the front, the better.”

JJ bringing 3rd-place Richmond car
JIMMIE JOHNSON ON PHOENIX RESURFACING THE TRACK AFTER THIS RACE: “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.”

Johnson has made 15 Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix, where he has earned four wins, 10 top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
. Johnson has completed 100% (4750 of 4750) of competition laps at the one-mile track and has led 857.
. He has an average start and finish of 11.7 and 4.9.

JOHNSON CHASSIS CHOICE: Johnson will pilot chassis No. 590 in Sunday’s Sprint Cup Series race. He last drove that car to a third-place finish at Richmond in Sept. 2010. Backup chassis No. 540 crossed the finish line fifth at Phoenix last November.

DENNY HAMLIN ON THE KEY TO GETTING AROUND PHOENIX: “For me, the key to being fast at Phoenix is how you brake getting into the corner. It’s a tricky place to get around, but I have found that if I set my car up good getting into the corner, we get so much more speed getting off the corner and down the straightaways. I really like racing at Phoenix and I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it reminds me a lot of the places I raced when I was growing up. I spent my early career running flat tracks in Late Models and this track feels like that to me. It’s flat and requires you to be really good with your setup if you are going to be quick through the corners.”

Other Phoenix Team Notes From the Week:
RCR Phoenix Preview
Roush Phoenix Preview
Chevy Driver's Phoenix Preview

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