Phoenix II: GM Racing preview

Phoenix - (November 6, 2007) - Two races remain in the 2007 NNCS season...two races, 579 laps, 712.5 miles until the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) champion is crowned. The 312-lap/312-mile/500K Checker Auto Parts 500 Presented by...

Phoenix - (November 6, 2007) - Two races remain in the 2007 NNCS season...two races, 579 laps, 712.5 miles until the 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series (NNCS) champion is crowned.

The 312-lap/312-mile/500K Checker Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil is up first for Team Chevy drivers at the ever-challenging one-mile Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).

"Phoenix is one of the most challenging tracks on the NASCAR circuit," said Alba Colon, GM Racing NNCS program manager. "The unique configuration of the one-mile track creates numerous demands for our Team Chevy Impala SS crew chiefs. It is a delicate balance to maintain the handling of the race car.

"In the April 2007 race at PIR, we had eight of our Impala SS drivers in the top-10 at the finish. Jeff Gordon took his first-ever trip to victory lane at Phoenix. We have been working hard with our teams to continue that success when we return this time."

Jimmie Johnson and his No. 48 Lowe's Impala SS team have tremendous momentum on their side as they head to PIR. Johnson and his Chad Knaus-led team have won the last three races and picked up the point lead with his victory last week at Texas.

"Phoenix is a track that Jeff (Gordon) really enjoys going to," said Johnson, who has yet to win at PIR. "It fits his style and I think he traditionally has been a little stronger than I have there so I think that's a track that kind of leans in his favor. It's not a bad track for me but I'm going to be really focusing hard on the things I think Jeff does in a race car that works for his style and it benefits him there. I've been trying that and using that to my benefit in Martinsville and I think I'm going to do that same thing again when we get to Phoenix."

An amazing statistic for four-time NNCS champion Jeff Gordon is that it took 21 starts at PIR before he finally picked up a win at the Jewel of the Desert this past April '07.

"Track conditions last time we were there were nighttime basically and the track is consistent with probably a little bit more grip," said Gordon, who is now 30 points behind Johnson in the standings. "If the sun is beating down on the track it's probably going to have less grip. Handling is going to be more of a premium and how hard you can push the car is going to be the real challenge there. So, it can change things for us. As good as we were the last time there, we're going to have to be mindful of that when we go back."

Bowyer, who is in third place in the standings 181 points behind Johnson, is looking forward to returning to the Arizona desert venue.

"I like Phoenix, I think it is a perfect race track," said Bowyer. "I like mile race tracks, I don't know if it fits my driving style differently, just really enjoy driving on mile race tracks. It is just big enough where aerodynamics are things that are a little bit of an issue, but you can also beat and bang on each other a little bit. If you knock a fender in, you can beat it out and still have a decent day. Phoenix is a fun race track. I am looking forward to it. We are bringing the car we won with at New Hampshire. I have a lot of confidence in that car, in the equipment and looking forward to having a good day at Phoenix."

The Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Pennzoil takes the green flag on Sunday, November 11 at 3:30 pm PST and will be televised live on ABC.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Monster Energy NASCAR Cup
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Jimmie Johnson