Phoenix: Roush Fenway Racing preview

FAST FACTS David Ragan * Ragan visited Phoenix International Raceway twice in 2007 with his best Cup result being a 32nd- place finish in the fall race. * Ragan has competed two times in the Nationwide Series at Phoenix International Raceway.


David Ragan

* Ragan visited Phoenix International Raceway twice in 2007 with his best Cup result being a 32nd- place finish in the fall race.

* Ragan has competed two times in the Nationwide Series at Phoenix International Raceway. His best Nationwide finish came in the fall of 2007 where he started 12th and finished 23rd.

* Ragan also has one Craftsman Truck Series start at Phoenix. Ragan competed in the fall of 2006, qualifying 20th and finishing 17th.

* Ragan finished second in the 2007 NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year race to Juan Pablo Montoya.

* This will be David Ragan's third career Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.

* Ragan is currently fourth in the Nationwide Series point standings and has four top-10 finishes in 2008.

* Ragan won Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year in 2007 in the Nationwide Series.


Jamie McMurray

* Over the last two Sprint Cup races, Jamie McMurray has improved to 25th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings.

* Phoenix International Raceway is the only track where McMurray has yet to post a top-10 finish. His best career finish at the one-mile speedway came in November of 2003, where McMurray finished 12th.

* Double-duty weekend McMurray will compete in the Nationwide Series race this weekend driving the No.16 CitiFinancial Ford Fusion.

* This weekend, McMurray will pilot his No.26 Crown Royal Ford Fusion.

* April is "National Autism Awareness Month" in support the Jamie McMurray Foundation will be hosting an online auction to help raise funds and awareness. The online auction can be found at


Carl Edwards

* Carl Edwards enters Phoenix as the most recent winner in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Edwards picked up the win last week at Texas Motor Speedway. Edwards' third win comes in just the seventh race of the 2008 season.

* Carl Edwards enters Phoenix 10th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup point standings. In seven starts, Edwards has accumulated three wins, three top-five and four top-10 finishes.

* Edwards will make his eighth Cup start at Phoenix this weekend. In his previous seven starts, Edwards has accumulated two top-five and four top-10 finishes.

* When the Sprint Cup Series last competed at Phoenix International Raceway, Edwards captured the pole position for the race. He dominated early, leading 87 laps before the engine expired on his No.99 Ford at lap 125.

* Edwards will carry the blue and green colors of Aflac this Saturday. Phoenix is the fourth of eight races where Aflac will serve as the primary sponsor of the No.99 Ford.

* The No.99 team will be bringing chassis RK-505 to Phoenix. This chassis last raced at Richmond in September of 2007, where Edwards finished 42nd after the engine expired.

* Log on to to listen to Carl Edwards give his analysis on Phoenix International Raceway.


Greg Biffle

* Biffle has two wins, five top-five finishes and eight top-10 finishes in nine NASCAR Nationwide Series starts at Phoenix.

* Biffle clenched the NASCAR Nationwide Series Championship at PIR in 2002. He entered the race needing to finish at least one position ahead of Jason Keller to capture the title. Biffle finished third and Keller finished fourth.

* With the 39th-place finish last week in Texas, Biffle and the team are currently ninth in the Sprint Cup point standings, 164 points out of the lead.

* This weekend Biffle will run the 3M paint scheme.


Matt Kenseth

* Matt Kenseth will make his 300th NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway. Since his Cup Series debut in 1998, Kenseth has achieved three poles, 16 wins, 80 top-five and 146 top-10 finishes.

* This weekend's race at Phoenix will mark Kenseth's 12th at the one-mile Arizona track. In his previous starts, he has achieved one win, five top-five and six top-10 finishes.

* Kenseth's average start at PIR is 19.4, his average finish is 17.0.

* Kenseth has completed 2991 of 3435 (or 87.1%) of total laps attempted at Phoenix. He has led a total of 154 laps there.

* Back in Black... For the first time in 2008, Kenseth's No.17 Ford Fusion will be painted black with the DEWALT NANO Technology paint scheme. Kenseth will sport these colors at all of the night races this season.

* Rewind, Texas... Kenseth and crew spent 334 of 339 laps in the top 15, posted 28 of the race's fastest laps and led 68 laps. Despite the impressive stats, handling problems and a late-race gamble that didn't pay off left Kenseth with a solid, but disappointing, ninth-place finish in the Samsung 500.



Ragan on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"Phoenix should be a pretty good race for us. It's a great track and a lot of fun to drive. The corners drive so much differently from each other, so you really need to make sure your car is handling well. Jimmy and the guys have been giving me great handling cars this year and there is no reason this weekend will be anything different. It's our first night race of the year so it should be pretty exciting."

Crew Chief Jimmy Fennig on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"David has really come a long way from this time last year. Going back to these tracks for a third and fourth time just adds to his experience and confidence levels. Last weekend is a great example of David's experience, his car wasn't handling well and he went a lap down, but was able to stick with it and get a top- 15 finish. If David keeps qualifying like he has been and we have some good pit stops I think we'll have a pretty good race."


Biffle on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"I always look forward to racing at Phoenix for a number of reasons. The track is very technical and it's almost like an oval road course because of the different corners and dogleg on the backstretch. Phoenix really challenges the driver and those are the tracks that are the most fun. We've run well there in the Nationwide car and had some decent finishes in the Cup car. We didn't have a great run last weekend at all so it would be good for the team if we could rebound with a solid finish in Phoenix."

Crew Chief Greg Erwin on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"We're taking one of the cars that we tested at Phoenix earlier this year. Between our notes from last fall and a few things we learned at the test, we should have a really good starting spot for our setup in practice on Thursday. As with pretty much every race this year, we'll be focusing on getting the car to turn through the center of the corners. We had just about one of our worst days since I've been here last Sunday at Texas. I would think we got all of our bad luck out of the way in one shot and we should have luck on our side for the rest of the year. We need to go to Phoenix and get back the points we left in Texas."


Kenseth on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"I've always enjoyed racing at Phoenix and we've had some success there in the past. We weren't too bad there last year and I think we should be able to compete this weekend.

"I was pretty disappointed after Texas, but, looking back on it, it was a pretty good finish for us. We ran really well all day, even though our car didn't handle all that well. Chip and the guys did a great job working on the car all day and our pit stops kept us out front. We were probably a fifth-place car but didn't get tires at the end and that hurt us a lot on that last restart. It was a 50-50 call and it didn't pay off for us. We didn't get the finish we were hoping for, but we led some laps, got the bonus points and ended up with a top 10, so I'm pleased with our improvements."

Crew Chief Chip Bolin on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"We're taking a brand new car to Phoenix this weekend. Since all of the new cars are practically identical, bringing a new car to race is very common. The trick to racing well will be working out the balancing act between being free enough to roll through the center of one and two, and not being too loose in three and four. If we can accomplish that, we should be very competitive. Matt typically races well at Phoenix and I'm expecting a great finish for our DEWALT NANO team."


McMurray on racing at Phoenix International Raceway: "During the test a few weeks ago at Phoenix, the No.26 Crown Royal team had a great two-day session. We learned quite a few things with the new car that should really help us not only at the upcoming race, but down the road as well. The last couple of races have been pretty good for our team. Last weekend in Texas, we were fast the entire race, but just couldn't pick up the track position that we needed. Still, it was a good point weekend for us and gave us some ground we really needed. Now we can focus on winning races and more importantly, putting ourselves into a position of making the `Chase.'

"I really like racing at Phoenix even though my track record might not show that. We had a great qualifying effort last spring, and hopefully, we can repeat that same effort this weekend in qualifying. It seems that more than ever, track position is so important with these new cars. If you start up front, it's a lot easier to maintain your position, and be competitive the entire day."

Crew Chief Larry Carter on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"We are taking a brand new Ford Fusion to Phoenix this weekend. We had a chance to test the car at Phoenix back in March and feel good about it. We actually had a really good test session and are looking forward to another good run this weekend. The No.26 team has been very focused on looking ahead at the races we have coming up and trying not to focus too much on the past. We had a tough couple of races there at the beginning, but now feel like we are getting back into the rhythm of things. Hopefully another good weekend in Phoenix will help move us up in the point standings."


Carl Edwards on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"It's always fun to go to Phoenix .The track itself is pretty unique with a complex shape so it makes for great racing. We've had solid finishes at Phoenix in the past, so I know we have the ability to run well there."

Crew Chief Chris Andrews on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"Although I've said this every week for the last four races, I'm looking forward to Phoenix this weekend. The Roush Fenway cars were strong there last fall, Carl was leading when he suffered engine failure, and Greg (Biffle) and Matt (Kenseth) finished second and third. Bob (Osborne) has done a great job with the No.99 team and I'm glad I can keep the ball rolling in his absence."



Ragan on racing in the Nationwide Series at Phoenix International Raceway:
"Our Discount Tire team rebounded nicely last week with a solid top-10 finish. I feel like our team has made great strides from week to week, and I believe we are very close to getting that first win. Phoenix will be a challenge for us this weekend but I am confident we can run well. Our Ford Fusion is fast and our short track program is really good. It should be a fun weekend in the desert for us."

Crew Chief Mike Kelley on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"We had a solid top-10 finish last weekend that helped us out in the points. I really like our consistency this year and our ability to finish strong every week. I think it gives us momentum the following week. Phoenix is a tough short track that has not been kind to us the last couple of times out. I am confident things will be different this weekend. David is getting better and better at the short tracks and he has already tested Phoenix this year in his Cup car. If we stay focused I think we can come away with a solid finish."


McMurray on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"I'm looking forward to this weekend at Phoenix. I won a Nationwide race there in 2004 and it's always good to return to a track you've won at before. We have some momentum on our side after finishing fifth last weekend at Texas. This is my last race of the year with the No.16 CitiFinancial team and I definitely want to go out on a high note."

Crew Chief Eddie Pardue on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"We're ready for a win and I'd love for it to come this weekend. This CitiFinancial team has been strong all season - we haven't finished outside of the top 15 all year. Phoenix is one of Jamie's best tracks, especially on the Nationwide side and I know he'll run well this weekend. We're taking a really good car. All of the pieces are there, we just have to stay out of trouble and not beat ourselves."


Edwards on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"It will be great to run under the lights at Phoenix. I love Phoenix; it's the first track I ever ran on pavement. It's very fast and it's about time to get my No.60 World Financial Group Ford Fusion into victory lane. Our goal is to win races and ultimately win another championship. I am confident we can get the ball rolling this weekend."

Crew Chief Pierre Kuettel (P.K.) on racing at Phoenix International Raceway:
"I am looking forward to getting back to my hometown in our No.60 World Financial Group Ford Fusion. Carl is a past winner of the Arizona 200, so I am very confident we will be a force in this race. The Nationwide Series field is getting more competitive every week so we have to bring our best this weekend in the desert. If we stay patient and get on and off of pit road cleanly, we can come away with a great finish."

-credit: rfr

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Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Roush Fenway Racing