Phoenix: JR Motorsports preview

Kelly Bires No. 88 Whisky River Jacksonville Chevrolet What's the toughest aspect of racing at Phoenix? "Phoenix is a very unique track. It's different because it's a mile in length, but it races like a short track. The toughest part though, ...

Kelly Bires
No. 88 Whisky River Jacksonville Chevrolet

What's the toughest aspect of racing at Phoenix? "Phoenix is a very unique track. It's different because it's a mile in length, but it races like a short track. The toughest part though, is that you practice in the day and race at night. Track temperatures will be drastically different and the race conditions will be much different, so it makes for some getting used to. The slight dogleg on the backstretch can cause some headaches for drivers if you're not careful, too. If you don't focus each and every lap, things could get out of control real quick there because it's such a slick racing surface."

What the best part of racing at Phoenix? "For me, I like the fact it races like a short track. Short tracks are the types of places most drivers grew up racing on, me included. So it's a familiar type of track, but that doesn't mean racing there is easy. It's not. It's a very challenging, but fun track."

Are you prepared for this long summer stretch? "I'm looking forward to getting back in the rhythm of running back-to-back races. We haven't really had consecutive races since California and Las Vegas. We felt like what we learned at California transitioned well to Vegas. We found a lot of stuff throughout the race that really helped with my driving style. I'm looking forward to this stretch of races coming up. I think it will really help us advance as a team."

Landon Cassill
No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet

You begin a four-race stretch of races in the No. 7 Go Daddy Chevrolet. How excited are you for this opportunity? "I'm really excited. I'm just happy to be back in a race car. To have an affiliation with JR Motorsports and Go Daddy is great because I know it's top-notch equipment. I'm thrilled to work with Tony [Eury] Jr. as well. We've really clicked these past couple weeks, and I'm curious to see how that benefits us at the racetrack this weekend. It's going to be a fun for me to get back and knock some cobwebs off."

Is there any added pressure to get in a racecar that has performed as well as the 7 car has the past two races? "Scott [Wimmer] has done an excellent job getting the No. 7 car top-10 finishes. I'm not trying to add any pressure to myself, and I'm not trying to make this deal about me right now. I'm just trying to be a good teammate to Danica [Patrick] and to JR Motorsports, and get the Go Daddy Chevy home in one piece. It's cool to be driving the No. 7 car anyway. That was also my number back in late models. Hopefully, I can get the thing a top-five finish or to victory lane. Also, driving the green Go Daddy car is really neat, too. I feel like it's doing great things for my career to be able to sit in that car and represent Go Daddy."

What can you tell us about Phoenix? "I have family out in Phoenix, so I enjoy going there. It's also the home to Go Daddy, and it seems teams always do well in their sponsor's hometowns. It's a good track for me. I finished sixth last time I raced there. It's a tricky track. It's technical, slick and doesn't offer a lot of grip. It will be a tough race, but overall, Phoenix is one of my top-five favorite places to go in the Nationwide Series schedule."

CASSILL RETURNS - JR Motorsports has named Landon Cassill the driver of its No. 7 Chevrolets for the next four consecutive NASCAR Nationwide Series races starting this week at Phoenix International Raceway with GoDaddy.com and continuing through Texas, Talladega and Richmond.

GO DADDY HOMECOMING - It will be a homecoming race for GoDaddy.com, the primary sponsor of the No. 7 Chevrolet at Phoenix. Go Daddy's headquarters are stationed in nearby Scottsdale, Ariz.

WHISKY RIVER JACKSONVILLE - This weekend, Bires' No. 88 Chevrolet will sport a special paint scheme featuring Whisky River Jacksonville.

IMPRESSIVE STATS - Cassill drove for JRM in 2008, winning the Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year Award in the Nationwide Series despite competing in a limited number of races. In 19 starts in 2008 - 16 for JR Motorsports - Cassill scored five top-10 finishes and a pole award at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

BIRES THE CLOSER - According to NASCAR Statistical Services, Bires is ranked fourth among closers in the past four races at Phoenix. Bires has picked up eight total spots in the last 10 percent of those races, averaging 2.7 spots in the last 20 laps of each race.

NO. 7 POINTS POSITION - Over the past two races, veteran driver Scott Wimmer has gained the No. 7 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet 13 positions (290 points) in the owner standings. The team now occupies the 22nd spot.

BIRES AT PHOENIX - In three career starts at Phoenix, Bires earned two top-20 finishes with average finish of 19.3.

CASSILL AT PHOENIX - Cassill hasn't raced a JRM Chevrolet since the fall event at Phoenix in 2008, a race in which he tied his career-best finish of sixth. In three career starts at PIR, he's earned one top-10 finish, with an average finish of 20.7.

200TH WISH: In honor of Dale Earnhardt Jr. granting his 200th wish for Make-A-Wish Foundation, The Dale Jr. Foundation is hosting an exclusive hospitality event on May 22 at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. Proceeds from ticket sales will benefit The Dale Jr. Foundation and Make-A-Wish. Visit www.dalejr.com for more information.

-source: jrm

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Landon Cassill , Kelly Bires
Teams JRM Racing , JR Motorsports