WS: Phoenix: Round two preview

* Inglebright looks to continue strong performance at PIR * Event attracts entries from coast to coast in U.S. a beyond * Field includes two teens from Joe Gibbs Racing DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 16, 2007) -- Jim Inglebright (No. 1 ...

* Inglebright looks to continue strong performance at PIR

* Event attracts entries from coast to coast in U.S. a beyond

* Field includes two teens from Joe Gibbs Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 16, 2007) -- Jim Inglebright (No. 1 Jelly Belly Chevrolet) says Phoenix International Raceway has a personality he likes. And it shows.

He has three top-five and five top-10 finishes in five starts in NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series competition at the one-mile track in the Valley of the Sun. In addition, Inglebright netted a major win there with a victory in the NASCAR Elite Division, Southwest Series portion of the Copper World Classic in 1999.

Inglebright hopes to add to his PIR stats when the West Series returns to Phoenix for the AlphaTrade.com 150 under the lights on Thursday night. The $208,800 race, a companion event at PIR with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series and NASCAR Busch Series, will be televised to a national audience live in high definition on HDNet. In addition, SPEED is to provide an enhanced replay.

This race has been circled on Inglebright's calendar for some time, with his Roadrunner Motorsports team building a new race car in preparation for it. "We're really looking forward to it," said the 45-year-old driver from Fairfield, Calif. "We're just finishing up a brand new car and it is a Phoenix car."

When it comes to PIR, Inglebright speaks of its particular characteristics in describing the track. "There are little things about that track, its personality if you will," he said. "I kind of learned its personality right out of the box, on where you can and can't go and what you need to do if your car is doing a certain thing."

Using various lines around the track allows drivers to adjust for the conditions of their cars, according to Inglebright. "At that track you can move the race car around," he explained. "If it's tight or if it's loose you can move the race car around and the race track will help you out if your car's not perfect."

Inglebright's fondness for the D-shaped oval can be traced back to his first race there in 1992. It was the first track where he raced as part of a NASCAR traveling circuit after winning back-to-back championships at a NASCAR-sanctioned short track in Northern California. "For some reason I've always liked Phoenix," he said. "My first Southwest Tour race was at Phoenix. I went from Roseville (Calif.), a little quarter-mile, to the one-mile track at Phoenix."

Among the features he likes best about PIR is the speed. "For some reason I seem to do a little better on the bigger tracks," Inglebright said. "Phoenix has what I call very inviting corners. You can roll off in there pretty deep. And that's what I like to do. I'm not one for letting off the gas early. That track just kind of works for me. It is a great facility, just an awesome place."

Inglebright attributes finishing well at Phoenix to qualifying well there. "More than anything, qualifying up front lets you race up front," he pointed out. "It's racing the guys that you should be racing."

The key to qualifying fast at PIR? "Tighten down the belts," Inglebright said with a chuckle. "Rick Carelli actually helped me with the qualifying thing at Phoenix, with markers on where you need to be back flat on the gas. There're some marks on the wall. We've got different reference points. No matter what, when I'm at that point I'm to the mat. You better just hang on and hope it goes."

The addition of lights at PIR, meanwhile, provides Inglebright with an added thrill. "I love night racing," he said. "There is nothing better than racing at night. I love it. Absolutely love it, especially at Phoenix. They have those lights on the inside in the infield. It's like going by telephone poles, with the lights shooting at you. You really get the sensation of speed. You really feel the sensation with the infield lights. It's pretty cool."

NEWS & NoTES

* The race -- This event is the second race on the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series schedule for 2007 and the only visit by the series to Phoenix International Raceway this season.

* The track -- PIR is a one-mile superspeedway with turns one and two banked 11 degrees, turns three and four banked nine degrees and two degrees of banking in the dogleg. The track has hosted 21 stand-alone West Series events.

* Large field of entries -- The list of drivers pre-entered for this event represent 11 states, as well as Mexico and Canada. California has the most representation, with approximately 20 drivers hailing from the Golden State. Arizona, Colorado and Connecticut each have two drivers entered -- while Idaho, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Washington and Wisconsin each have one.

* Second entry from Golden Gate/RCR -- As part of its driver development program with Richard Childress Racing, the Golden Gate Racing Team will have a second entry at Phoenix. Tim McCreadie (No. 31 Golden Gate/RCR Chevrolet) will make his NASCAR Grand National Division debut, in joining with teammate Ryan Foster (No. 21 Golden Gate Meat Chevrolet) at PIR. McCreadie is coming off a career year in which he won the World of outlaws Late Model championship, won the prestigious Chili Bowl Midget Nationals and was named Eastern Motorsports Press Association Driver of the Year.

* Young guns of Gibbs Racing -- Two 16-year-old drivers from Joe Gibbs Racing are entered in this event. Marc Davis (No. 92 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet) -- who made his Grand National Division debut at Kyle, Texas, with a 12-place finish -- will be joined at PIR by teammate Joey Logano (No. 10 Joe Gibbs Driven Chevrolet). Both drivers are slated to run full-time in the Busch East Series in 2007.

* Midwest champion to make debut -- Tim Schendel (No. 43 Mathews Archery/Texpar Energy Dodge) is slated to make his NASCAR Grand National Division debut at Phoenix. Schendel -- who plans to run full-time this season in the NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series -- was the 2006 champion in the NASCAR Elite Division, Midwest Series. He capped off his year by winning the Elite portion of the NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.

* Former West Coast driver on East Coast -- Although he will be competing in the Busch East Series in 2007, a member of the 2007 Drive for Diversity class will be making his NASCAR Grand National Division debut in the West Series race in Phoenix. Jesus Hernandez (No. 4 Ginn Racing Chevrolet) -- who originally hailed from Fresno, Calif. -- is in his third season with the Drive for Diversity program after competing the past two years in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series on the East Coast.

* Kobyluck hopes to maintain momentum -- Veteran Busch East Series competitor Matt Kobyluck (No. 40 Mohegan Sun Resort Chevrolet) will be making the cross country trek for his sixth appearance at Phoenix. He has finished third at PIR twice. Kobyluck hopes to open this year with the success he had in closing out last season with a win in the prestigious NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown.

* Competing for Showdown spot -- Race winners in the NASCAR Grand National Division this year will get an added bonus by gaining a starting spot in the 2007 NASCAR Toyota All-Star Showdown. With his victory in the season opener in Texas, Scott Lynch (No. 29 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge) became the first driver this year to clinch a spot. only Grand National race winners and champions of the NASCAR Developmental Series will be locked in to the field. All others must race their way into the event.

* Last year's race -- Andrew Myers (No. 44 Toyota of Escondido Chevrolet) held on during a two-lap dash to the finish last year to capture his first career series win. He battled Peyton Sellers door-to-door as a late-race caution extended the event to 153 laps, with a thrilling green-white-checkered finish under the lights. Myers was just one of nine drivers to lead the hotly contested event that featured 15 lead changes. Mike Duncan (No. 9 Lucas oil/Ron's Rear Ends Chevrolet) won the Bud Pole and led the initial laps before giving way to Matt Kobyluck. The East Coast driver appeared to have the car to beat, but faded after 59 laps out front and eventually retired with engine trouble. The race developed into a battle between Myers and Sellers, as the laps wound down. Several cautions provided the pair with opportunities to charge out front on restarts. Myers prevailed for the win, with Sellers second and Mike David (No. 2 Bennett Lane Winery Ford) in third.

* Leading winners -- With four victories, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series regular Ken Schrader has the most wins in West Series competition at Phoenix.

* Most poles -- Mike Duncan and Richard Petty are tied for the most Budweiser Pole Awards in West Series competition at Phoenix, with three each. Duncan set the fast mark in this event the past two years, as well as in october of 2004. Petty won his Bud Poles in 1978, 1979 and 1980.

* Top fives -- Bobby Allison holds the mark for the most top-five finishes in the series at Phoenix, with six. He is followed on that list by Neil Bonnett and Austin Cameron, with five each.

* Top tens -- Cameron has the most top-10 finishes in West Series action at PIR, placing 10th or better in nine of his 11 series starts at Phoenix. Cameron also leads in terms of series winnings at Phoenix, with $77,584.

* Most starts -- Scott Gaylord (No. 00 Scott Gaylord Racing Chevrolet) has taken the green flag at PIR more than any other driver in the series. In 13 stand-alone West Series events, his best finish was second in 2004. The veteran driver also entered seven combination races with the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series at Phoenix.

* Running out front -- Richard Petty continues to hold the mark for leading the most laps of series competition at the Phoenix, running out front for 361 circuits. Schrader is second in that category, with 334.

* How they compare -- Among drivers who have competed in four or more series races at Phoenix, Neil Bonnett had the best average finish of 2.2 in five races. Among current active drivers with four or more races at PIR, the average finish of 5.8 by Jim Inglebright (No. 1 Jelly Belly Chevrolet) ranks highest.

* Wins among manufacturers -- Chevrolet has the most wins at Phoenix International Raceway among automobile manufacturers, with 11.

* Stat of the race -- Five of the 21 West Series races at PIR were won from the Budweiser Pole. Three winners started outside of the top 10. Rich Woodland Jr., started the furthest back and won -- coming from 21st on the grid in 1998.

BIRTHDAYS

Drivers celebrating a birthday during the month of April include David Gilliland, who turned 31 on the 1st; Nick Lynch, who turned 25 on the 7th; and Tim McCreadie, who turned 33 on the 12th.

FAST FACTS

What: AlphaTrade.com 150, NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series Race #2

Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix, Ariz.
When: 8:15 p.m., Thursday, April 19.

Track layout: 1-mile superspeedway.
Distance: 150 Laps, 150 miles.

Posted Awards: $208,800

TV: HDNet (Live)
SPEED (Enhanced replay, May 2, 12:00 p.m. ET)

2006 winner: Andrew Myers.
2006 polesitter: Mike Duncan.

Records: Qualifying: Steve Portenga, March 18, 2000, 129.394 mph, 27.822 sec.; Race: Scott Lynch, Oct. 5, 2003, 114.262 mph, 1 hr 18 min 46 sec.

Pre-race schedule: Thursday -- Practice, 9-10 a.m., 10:15-11:05 a.m. Qualifying, 3 p.m. Note: Subject to change.

-credit: nascar

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About this article
Series NASCAR
Drivers Ken Schrader , Rich Woodland , Richard Petty , Rick Carelli , Matt Kobyluck , Steve Portenga , Jim Inglebright , Scott Gaylord , Scott Lynch , Mike David , Bobby Allison , Austin Cameron , Tim Schendel , Peyton Sellers , Andrew Myers , Ryan Foster , Jesus Hernandez , Joey Logano , Tim McCreadie , Marc Davis
Teams Richard Childress Racing , Joe Gibbs Racing