NSCS: Kobalt Tools 500 Preview – Phoenix International Raceway

November 9, 2011 No Comments

Photo Credit: LAT Photo/ Michael L. Levitt


Date: Sunday – November 13th, 2011
Time: 3PM ET
Location: Phoenix International Raceway
Distance: 312 Laps/312 Miles
Broadcast: TV – ESPN
Radio – MRN (Motor Racing Network)/Sirius XM Ch. 90


High: 65°F – Low: 47°F
Start Time: 63°F
End of Race: 61°
Chance of Rain: 40%
Wind: From SSW at 10 mph


-Eight down and just two to go, as the Sprint Cup circuit slides into Phoenix this week for the Kobalt Tools 500. Only three points separate Carl Edwards from his nearest competitor, Tony Stewart.

-Just two weeks ago, Edwards had a 14-point advantage, but Stewart has posted back-to-back wins to narrow the gap. During the Chase, Stewart has four wins, while Edwards is winless, but has seven top-10s.

-All but eliminated is five-time defending Series champion Jimmie Johnson, who stands in sixth place, 55 points back.

-Johnson has been the dominant driver at Phoenix lately, winning four of the last eight races here and has finished no worse than seventh in the previous 12 races at Phoenix. His average finish here is 4.8.

-Another driver with modest success at PIR is Kevin Harvick, who has two Sprint Cup wins, as well as four Camping World Truck and one Nationwide Series victories here. Although he has struggled in the Sprint Cup races here, Harvick has not finished outside the top-10 in 18 straight Nationwide and Truck Series races. Earlier this year, Harvick was third and fourth respectively on the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series’ at Phoenix.

-Phoenix International Raceway: Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course. Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988. Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started. In 30 previous races at PIR, the pole sitter has won four times and the top-10 starting spot has captured half of the races. Several changes have been made to PIR, as the frontstretch went from 52 to 62 feet and the dog-leg curve between the second and third turns was pushed out 95 feet. In addition, pit road was reconfigured with the installation of concrete pit stalls.

-The last time the points leader with two races remaining failed to win the series championship occurred in 1992, when Bill Elliott relinquished an 85- point advantage to Alan Kulwicki.

Next Up: Homestead-Miami Speedway (Last race of 2011)

Entry List:

#00 David Reutimann (Zephyrhills, FL) Toyota/Tums

#1 Jamie McMurray (Joplin, MO) Chevrolet/McDonald’s

#2 Brad Keselowski (Rochester Hills, MI) Dodge/Miller Lite

#4 Kasey Kahne (Enumclaw, WA) Toyota/Red Bull

#5 Mark Martin (Batesville, AR) Chevrolet/GoDaddy.com/Carquest

#6 David Ragan (Unadilla, GA) Ford/UPS My Choice

#7 Robby Gordon (Orange, CA) Dodge/Speed Energy

#9 Marcos Ambrose (Launceston, Australia) Ford/DeWalt

#11 Denny Hamlin (Chesterfield, VA) Toyota/FedEx Freight

#13 Casey Mears (Bakersfield, CA) Toyota/GEICO

#14 Tony Stewart (Columbus, IN) Chevrolet/Office Depot/Mobil 1

#16 Greg Biffle (Vancouver, WA) Ford/3M/Meguiars

#17 Matt Kenseth (Cambridge, WI) Ford/Crown Royal

#18 Kyle Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Toyota/M&M’s

#20 Joey Logano (Middletown, CT) Toyota/Home Depot

#22 Kurt Busch (Las Vegas, NV) Dodge/Shell/Pennzoil

#23 Scott Riggs (Bahama, NC) Toyota/North Texas Pipe

#24 Jeff Gordon (Vallejo, CA) Chevrolet/DuPont

#27 Paul Menard (Eau Claire, WI) Chevrolet/Menards/Peak

#29 Kevin Harvick (Bakersfield, CA) Chevrolet/Budweiser

#30 David Stremme (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/Inception Motorsports

#31 Jeff Burton (South Boston, VA) Chevrolet/Caterpillar

#32 Mike Bliss (Milwaukie, OR) Ford/Veterans United Home Loans

#33 Clint Bowyer (Emporia, KS) Chevrolet/Cheerios/Hamb. Helper

#34 David Gilliland (Riverside, CA) Ford/TBA

#35 Dave Blaney (Hartford, OH) Chevrolet/Golden Corral

#36 Geoffrey Bodine (Chemung, NY) Chevrolet/Luke & Associates

#37 To Be Announced Ford/TBA

#38 J.J. Yeley (Phoenix, AZ) Ford/Vampt

#39 Ryan Newman (South Bend, IN) Chevrolet/U.S. Army Veterans Day

#42 Juan Pablo Montoya (Bogota, Colombia) Chevrolet/Target

#43 A.J. Allmendinger (Los Gatos, CA) Ford/Wix Filters

#46 Scott Speed (Manteca, CA) Ford/Green Stuff Absorbant

#47 Bobby Labonte (Corpus Christi, TX) Toyota/Wounded Warrior Project

#48 Jimmie Johnson (El Cajon, CA) Chevrolet/Lowe’s/Kobalt Tools

#51 Landon Cassill (Cedar Rapids, IA) Chevrolet/Phoenix Construction

#55 Travis Kvapil (Janesville, WI) Ford/Aloft Hotels

#56 Martin Truex Jr. (Mayetta, NJ) Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts

#66 Michael McDowell (Glendale, AZ) Toyota/HP Racing

#71 Andy Lally (Northport, NY) Ford/TRG Motorsports

#78 Regan Smith (Cato, NY) Chevrolet/Furniture Row Racing

#83 Brian Vickers (Thomasville, NC) Toyota/Red Bull

#84 Cole Whitt (Alpine, CA) Toyota/TBA

#87 Joe Nemechek (Lakeland, FL) Toyota/TBA

#88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Kannapolis, NC) Chevrolet/Diet Mountain Dew

#99 * Carl Edwards (Columbia, MO) Ford/Aflac

Past Winners:

2010 Carl Edwards, Ford, 110.758 m.p.h.

2009 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 110.486 m.p.h.

2008 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 97.804

2007 Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 102.989 m.p.h.

2006 Kevin Harvick, Chevrolet, 96.131 m.p.h.

2005 Kyle Busch, Chevrolet, 102.641 m.p.h.

2004 Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 94.848 m.p.h.

2003 Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chevrolet, 93.984 m.p.h.

2002 Matt Kenseth, Ford, 113.857 m.p.h.

2001 Jeff Burton, Ford, 102.613 m.p.h.

2000 Jeff Burton, Ford, 105.041 m.p.h.

1999 Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 118.132 m.p.h. (race record)

1998 Rusty Wallace, Ford, 108.211 m.p.h.

1997 Dale Jarrett, Ford, 110.824 m.p.h.

1996 Bobby Hamilton, Pontiac, 109.709 m.p.h.

1995 Ricky Rudd, Ford, 102.128 m.p.h.

1994 Terry Labonte, Chevrolet, 107.463 m.p.h.

1993 Mark Martin, Ford, 100.375 m.p.h.

1992 Davey Allison, Ford, 103.885 m.p.h.

1991 Davey Allison, Ford, 95.746 m.p.h.

1990 Dale Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 96.786 m.p.h.

1989 Bill Elliott, Ford, 105.683 m.p.h.

1988 Alan Kulwicki, Ford, 90.457 m.p.h.

So, who’s it going to be? Carl Edwards or Tony Stewart? Phoenix International Raceway could be the key to winning the 2011 version of the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

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