The Chase just tightened up. Are you surprised?
“Chad Knaus was right. Last week on “This Week in NASCAR”, he said the Chase was far from over. His team couldn’t have any problems or it would invite teams back into the mix. After Texas, Mark Martin and Jeff Gordon are back in contention. It is going to be so much fun for the fans to watch these last two races with the outcome being very much in doubt. A guy like Mark Martin who has been so close to winning several championships now has another chance to race his teammate and win the deal. I think Jimmie Johnson is one of the most underrated drivers in the history of NASCAR. He does more with a race car than I think anyone has ever done. He is going for a fourth-straight championship. I think what happened in Texas wasn’t good for Jimmie obviously, but we now have a battle going into Phoenix.”
What do you like about racing at Phoenix International Raceway?
“What I love about Phoenix is the fans. They come from all over – Canada, the west coast and the central part of the United States. It’s cool to see the fans watching from Rattlesnake Hill. It is just a great event. There is a lot of excitement for the racing in Phoenix because of the intense action on the one-mile track.”
Phoenix has a unique curved pit road. Does it present any challenges?
“I think it is interesting that the curviest part of pit road is the most desirable place to pit. The access road on pit road is an element we have to consider when we have to merge back out onto the track.”
Do you think a shorter schedule would benefit teams and NASCAR?
“I like the schedule just the way it is with 38 weekends during the course of a season. It keeps our sport on the pages of the newspapers and on television all year long. I think we need it to stay the same.”
Do you think we should shorten some of the lengths of the races from 500 miles to 400 miles?
“I think our crown jewel events like the Coca-Cola 600, Daytona 500, Southern 500 and Brickyard 400 should remain the same and make those races the big deals. Then shorten the rest of them to 300 or 400 miles. I think it would make those races be more significant, but yet enhance the competition and make our racing more entertaining at the other venues.”
Michael Waltrip Fast Facts
NAPA AUTO PARTS Driver Michael Waltrip Sprint Cup Statistics - Phoenix
2009 NAPA AUTO PARTS PIT CREW
|Ryan Langley||Front Tire Changer|
|Richard Coleman||Front Tire Carrier|
|Getty Cavitt||Jack Man|
|Mike Ellershaw||Rear Tire Changer|
|Britt Caulder||Rear Tire Carrier|
|Shawn Soules||Catch Can|
|Ron Otto||Eighth Man||Craig Harper||Gas Runner|
|Mark Maloney||Second Gas Can|
Race: 35 of 36
Phoenix International Raceway
Length: 1.0-Mile Oval
Distance: 312 laps/500K
Date: Sunday, Nov. 15
Time: 2:30 p.m.
ABC, MRN, Sirius XM Radio
2008 Winner: Jimmie Johnson
2008 Pole: Jimmie Johnson
Sprint Cup Qualifying:
Friday, Nov. 13
Sprint Cup Practices:
Friday, Nov. 13
1:30 p.m. & 3 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 14
SPEED & ESPN 2
This Week in NASCAR
Monday, Nov. 16 at 8 pm
Only on SPEED
All Times Eastern