Phoenix: Dodge Motorsports preview

DODGE AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY * Dodge is seeking its first win at PIR in Sprint Cup competition. * Dodge has earned four poles at PIR since returning to NASCAR's premier series in 2001 (Casey Atwood- 1, Ryan Newman - 3). * Dodge's...

DODGE AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

* Dodge is seeking its first win at PIR in Sprint Cup competition.

* Dodge has earned four poles at PIR since returning to NASCAR's premier series in 2001 (Casey Atwood- 1, Ryan Newman - 3).

* Dodge's Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge) is the only active Dodge driver with a win at PIR. He won in spring event in 2005 before moving to Penske Racing and the Dodge ranks in 2006.

* Busch scored top-10 finishes in both Phoenix races last season.

* All three Penske Dodge's sit inside the top-35 in owner's points and are guaranteed a starting spot on Saturday.

QUICK RACE NOTES

* Dodge's Kurt Busch is the only Sprint Cup driver to lead in five of the six races in 2010.

* Busch is one of only two drivers this season to have earned a Sprint Cup pole and race win (Jamie McMurray).

* Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Sam Hornish Jr. each had their season-best finish at Martinsville. Keselowski finished 12th and Hornish 13th.

* The pole winner at PIR has won two of the last three races, but only three of the 27 Sprint Cup events at PIR.

* The late Alan Kulwicki won the first Cup race at PIR in 1988 and introduced the Polish Victory Lap.

DID YOU KNOW?

* This weekend's NASCAR Sprint Cup event at Phoenix International Raceway will go an additional 63 laps and miles on the one-mile oval, up from 312. The new distance will be 375 laps/miles, the longest race since PIR began hosting NASCAR in 1988.

* Penske Racing's Kurt Busch is one of five drivers who have led more than 400 laps at Phoenix Int'l Raceway: Rusty Wallace (867), Mark Martin (833), Jimmie Johnson (744) Kurt Busch (640) and Dale Earnhardt Jr. (460).

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

* Kurt Busch's best start at PIR is second (4/05 and 11/09).

* Sam Hornish had a career-best PIR finish of ninth at last year's spring event.

* Brad Keselowski will be making his second-career start at PIR this weekend (Finished 37th at fall event in 2009).

* Busch has one win, four top five and eight top 10 finishes in 14 starts at PIR.

* Dodge set the qualifying record at PIR of 135.854 mph (Ryan Newman -- 2004).

* Keselowski has improved six positions in NSCS driver standings in the last two races (33rd to 27th).

FAST FACT OF THE WEEK: PHOENIX

* Penske Racing's Sam Hornish Jr. made his Sprint Cup debut at PIR at the fall event in 2007. Hornish, driving the No. 06 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger, qualified 26th and finished 30th.

FROM THE CREW CHIEFS

Jay Guy, Crew Chief, No. 12 Penske Racing Dodge Charger

"The new car we are bringing to Phoenix is one of the lightest cars that we've produced to date and we're excited to see how it races. Phoenix has been called a "compromising" track because the two ends of the track are different. The main area we'll work on is the exit of Turn 4. You need to have good forward bite off that corner so that you can beat everyone to the start/finish line and down into Turn. 1. It's a tough old racetrack. It can be tough on driver and equipment, so you need to make sure you take care of both."

Travis Geisler, Crew Chief, No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

"Phoenix is a good race track for us and this race last year is where we got our first top-10 finish. The race starts at 4:30 local time so it will be very important to build adjustability into the car to accommodate the changing track conditions. Usually, rear spring rubbers work well in this scenario."

INSIDE ENGINEERING -- PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Howard Comstock, Dodge Motorsports Engineering - NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

"With the new longer distance and a new earlier start time teams will face two new engineering challenges at this year's Subway Fresh Fit 600. The change from 500k to 600k will mean new fuel strategies and concerns of brake attrition. The earlier start time for this race creates a daytime-to-evening race environment that is always unique when you come to the desert and race."

DODGE QUOTES

Sam Hornish Jr. -- No. 77 Mobil 1 Dodge Charger

"I like places like Phoenix that are different; places that you have to compromise what you do to the race car. I'm not sure why but it works well for me. The more unique a track becomes, the more I enjoy it. Phoenix has been good to me in the past. We got our first top-10 in the Cup Series there last year and ran well in the fall race. I always feel like we can get a top-10 finish at Phoenix. We'll have to see what we can do there this year. Both ends of the track at Phoenix are so different that you have to pick which end is better and focus your efforts on that corner without hurting the other too much."

Kurt Busch -- No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge Charger

"Our one-mile flat-track program has been one of the biggest highlights for our Miller Lite Dodge Team over the last couple of seasons. With the way we've been running there the last few years, we've been knocking on the door for another Phoenix win. We've been right there racing them till the very end. We're hoping to really rise to the occasion there this weekend and earn us another trip to Victory Lane."

Brad Keselowski -- No. 12 Abyss Dodge Charger

"After a week off, I'm anxious to go racing at Phoenix. I felt that we had a strong car there in November, which was my debut with Penske Racing. I think we'll be even better when we get there this weekend. The gradual improvement we've been making this year is exactly what our goal was at the start of the season. I love racing at Phoenix because it is such a challenging track. The surface is worn so forward bite is something that you fight all day long."

-source: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Rusty Wallace , Kurt Busch , Ryan Newman , Casey Atwood , Jimmie Johnson , Jamie McMurray , Brad Keselowski , Travis Geisler , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mark Martin , Sam Hornis , Alan Kulwicki
Teams Team Penske