#88 TEAM LOOKS TO IMPROVE RESULTS IN PHOENIX
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 17, 2007) -- The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 this weekend. After a difficult race weekend in Texas where the #88 Snickers Ford was involved in a wreck on the first lap of the race, Ricky Rudd looks to pilot his team to a successful finish in Phoenix. The Car of Tomorrow will make its third start of the season at the largest track (1-mile track) it has appeared at for the 2007 season. Challenges facing the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series teams will be how these new cars handle the higher speeds at Phoenix, and will be a true test of the new car's style with aerodynamics.
Quoting Snickers Driver, Ricky Rudd:
Looking to Phoenix and the return of the Car of Tomorrow, is it difficult switching back and forth between the two different car styles and finding set-ups that work?
"It's two different worlds really. There's just so much of a difference in the cars and in the ways you set them up. You forget about where you've been with the standard cars in the past with their set ups and you look back on our Richmond test and our weekend in Martinsville where we ran a pretty good race. Honestly, there are a lot of similarities between our most recent runs at those two tracks and then Phoenix, but you have another factor going into this weekend and that is speed. The speed is much faster in Phoenix and the aerodynamics will be a big factor this weekend. This is going to be the biggest track we've run the COT car at so far. We haven't really run anywhere yet where the aerodynamics have made such a difference, but it definitely will this weekend."
Anything that you are specifically focusing on this weekend in Phoenix?
"For this weekend it's all about getting the car to go handle through the corners to let us take advantage of horsepower. The frustration factor is that what used to work in Phoenix on the standard car styles most likely won't work with the new COT cars. The challenge is going to be figuring out how to adapt these cars to the needs that the drivers encounter on the track."
Are you feeling confident going into Phoenix?
"I'm probably as confident as anyone honestly, and I just really don't know what to expect. I guess because the car is so new to everybody, there's just a question mark for us as to what we're going to expect for this week. I'd like to be optimistic, but it's hard to be confident until you get your first laps out there on the track. It's been a good track to us over the years. I've had a lot of great runs in Phoenix and I hope that we have another one this weekend."
NOTES OF INTEREST:
* Rudd is currently one start shy of tying Dave Marcis' record for career starts. Rudd has 882 career starts placing him third on the all-time list of drivers behind Richard Petty (1,184 starts) and Dave Marcis (883 starts)
* Rudd's average finish at Phoenix is 19.3
* Rudd has completed 5736 of 5876 laps at Phoenix (97.6%) since he first began racing there in 1998
* Rudd's best start at Phoenix was from the third position in 1996
* Rudd's best finish at Phoenix was a victory in 1995 while driving the #10 Tide Ford
* Rudd's starting position of 29th in 1995 was the lowest starting position of a race winner at Phoenix
* Rudd has led 387 laps at Phoenix placing him third among active drivers after Mark Martin and Kurt Busch