What do you like about racing on a track like Phoenix International Raceway?
“I think it is a lot of fun to drive. Both ends are a little bit different. Turn 2 is really interesting. You get really close to the wall. They moved the wall back about six to eight feet and it made life off of Turn 2 a lot easier for us. The dogleg on the back straightaway and the different banking at each end makes PIR a real challenge to set up a car.
“It seems to me that when you are running a lap at Phoenix, if you can go right around the white line down in Turns 3 and 4, your times are always a little bit quicker. But there are times when your car just won’t go there so you have the option to go right up next to the wall and run high up in Turns 3 and 4. That’s what drivers like about this track. There are a lot of options.
“Another thing I like about Phoenix is it will require us to race our butts off. It’s going to be all about a guy’s foot getting that gas down and how he applies the brake. It’s going to be all about the driver when we get to Phoenix.”
If you could change anything about the track, what would it be?
“PIR has an awesome layout. I wouldn’t change a thing there at all. It is actually one of the very few tracks I’d say that about.
“If I built a track today, it would have different ends. The crazier the track is, the more entertaining the racing becomes. You have to accept what the conditions are and adapt to those conditions. The key to Phoenix is it takes a different setup for both ends. You will see guys who are fast in one end, and there will be guys faster in the other.”
You’ve had some success at PIR.
“I almost won there in 2005 when I was driving the NAPA car for DEI. Tony Eury Jr. was my crew chief. We were able to run right up against the wall. Kurt Busch was able to run against the bottom. We were battling for the win right up until the very end. It was a lot of fun.”
Michael Waltrip Fast Facts
NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics – Phoenix International Speedway
2009 NAPA AUTO PARTS PIT CREW
|Ryan Langley||Front Tire Changer|
|Chris Hall||Front Tire Carrier|
|Tony Cardamone||Jack Man|
|Andy Thurman||Rear Tire Changer|
|Dwayne Moore||Rear Tire Carrier|
|Shawn Soules||Catch Can|
|Ron Otto||Eighth Man|
|Mike Ellershaw||Hose and Sign|
|Craig Harper||Gas Runner|
|Mark Maloney||Second Gas Can|
Race: 8 of 36
Subway Fresh Fit 500
Phoenix International Raceway
Length: 1.0-Mile Oval
Distance: 312 laps/500K
Date: Saturday, April 18
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN; Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Ch. 128
2008 Winner: Jimmie Johnson
2008 Pole: Ryan Newman
Friday, April 17 at 7 p.m. ET,
Friday, April 17 at 1 p.m. & 3:30 p.m. ET
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Monday, April 20 at 8 p.m. ET
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