Phoenix II: Travis Kvapil preview

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 8, 2005) - When Travis Kvapil returns to Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Techron, he hopes to capitalize on what the Kodak Racing team learned during the spring running of the...

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 8, 2005) - When Travis Kvapil returns to Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday's Checker Auto Parts 500 presented by Techron, he hopes to capitalize on what the Kodak Racing team learned during the spring running of the Subway Fresh 500 on the 1-mile "Desert Jewel".

During the April event, Kvapil felt as though he had a competitive car. He turned the fastest lap during the first practice session and despite falling to 30th in the final practice session, Kvapil was comfortable in his Kodak/Jasper Dodge.

After qualifying 24th for the race, Kvapil noted his disappointment, saying, "I don't know what happened. I am frustrated right now because the car was so good in practice, but we came up short in qualifying. [The car] just felt free, like I couldn't get in the gas."

This time around, Kvapil knows what to expect and plans to put his knowledge to good use.

"In the spring, we practiced during the day then raced at night, so the track tightened way up on us," Kvapil said. "This time around, I think the Kodak/Jasper Dodge will be good. I feel pretty confident right now because we will not only practice during the day, we race during the day. Not to mention the set-up will be similar to the Richmond set-up. After our performance in September on that track, I would say it is the best we have had all year. I am looking forward to a top 10."

As with anything, Kvapil remembers the good times from his first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at PIR but the bad memories are there, too.

The 29-year-old NNCS Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year contender was in the wrong place at the wrong time twice during the April event, as he received damage that resulted from other drivers' bad luck.

The first instance came early in the event on lap 12 when Jason Leffler spun coming off turn two. Kvapil moved up the track in an effort to avoid the No. 11 but Leffler's car moved back up the track and pinched the No. 77 Penske-Jasper-powered Charger against the wall. Kvapil's machine received damage to the right-side fender and the toe was knocked out.

The second instance, which ultimately ended Kvapil's night prematurely, was from contact with Mike Bliss. On lap 238, while Kvapil was running 24th, he had a run on fellow Dodge driver Jeff Green but With Dale Jarrett on the high side, Kvapil had no choice but to let off the throttle. Bliss, who was following close behind the gold No. 77, was not able to slow his car in time and clipped the rear of Kvapil's machine.

Kvapil headed to the garage for repairs but with so few laps remaining and no positions to gain by returning to the track, the Shane Wilson-led crew loaded the car on the hauler and called it a night.

Kvapil does not plan to dwell on his misfortune from so many months ago.

"We were good in the spring and left without the results to prove it," Kvapil said. "This time is different. We know what we have and we know what we can do. I really feel like a top10 is attainable. This team needs it right now. I need it right now."

News To Note

Equipment: PRS - 083
The Kodak Racing team is taking chassis PRS-083 to Phoenix International Raceway. It has been raced several times this year [Martinsville in April (St. 17th/Fin27 th); Richmond in May (St. 21st/22nd); both Loudon events - July (St. 30th/Fin27 th) and September (St. 27th/Fin. 41st)]. The Kodak team took PRS-083 to the October Martinsville event in the 2004 season (St. 14th/Fin. 34th). Prior to the 2004 fall Martinsville race, PRS-083 was new.

-pr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Jason Leffler , Jeff Green , Mike Bliss , Travis Kvapil