Dodge boys look to rebound at Phoenix, AMA Supercross Series Riders Ready For St. Louis

The 40-hour trek West has left teams in a scurry as the rain-delayed Daytona 500 created logistical challenges, forcing teams into a half-day turnaround to re-stock supplies and load up race cars for this weekend’s event.
Posted on Mar 03, 2012

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (Friday, March 2, 2012) – The NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series are in action this weekend as superspeedway speeds will be replaced by bumper-to-bumper, short-track style racing at the one-mile, recently-re-configured Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).

The 40-hour trek West has left teams in a scurry as the rain-delayed Daytona 500 created logistical challenges, forcing teams into a half-day turnaround to re-stock supplies and load up race cars for this weekend’s event.

On the race track, teams will have to adjust from the 200-mph, slick aero-sensitive setups of “pack” racing to the more common “handling” challenges stock cars face on the smaller tracks.

"When we went to Phoenix for the Sprint Cup race last November, it was all new – new configuration, new banking, new surface, and new engineering headaches,” said Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering. “Early in the weekend, the track created a real challenge for the teams to find enough grip just to be able to get around the corners, let alone try to race the corners. But by the time we got to the race, the track had ‘rubbered in’ and drivers could not only challenge the corners, but also the other drivers. Most people left satisfied with the new facility.

“This weekend, which track will we find? We won't know until we get there if it's going to be the slick surface we started with last November or the much friendlier asphalt we ended up with in the race. Determining which surface Phoenix gives us will be the number one engineering challenge of the week.”

“I like the new Phoenix,” said Penske driver Brad Keselowski, who looks to rebound after his 29th-place finish at Daytona. “They did an outstanding job in making a good racetrack better. It's obviously going to take a few years before the track is in optimal condition, but with it being in the desert that process can sometimes be accelerated. I'm anxious to see how much it has aged over the winter.”

Dodge has earned four pole positions at PIR and is seeking its first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series win at the desert track.

Race cars won’t be the only Dodge Charger on the track this weekend in Phoenix. The Dodge Charger Pursuit pace car will make its debut at PIR this weekend, serving as the pace car for both NASCAR races.

What You Need To Know
The Race: SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500 – Race 2 of 36
The Place: Phoenix International Raceway
The Date: Sunday, March 4
The Time: 3:00 p.m. (ET)
The Track: one-mile oval
The Distance: 312 laps/500 kilometers
Television: Fox, 2:00 p.m. (ET)

NASCAR NATIONWIDE SERIES Dodge was in victory lane the last time the NASCAR Nationwide Series took to the asphalt of PIR as Penske Racing’s Sam Hornish Jr. (No. 12 Alliance Truck Parts Dodge Challenger) earned his first NASCAR win last November.

“I'm really looking forward to going back to the track,” said Hornish, who will join Penske teammate Brad Keselowski in Saturday’ afternoon’s Bashas’ Supermarkets 200.

“Phoenix has been really good to me over the years so I can’t help but love the place,” Hornish added. “I’m also looking forward to the chance to move up in the series points battle and it is going to be great to get to a track where, as a driver, you have a bit more control of your own destiny.”

AMA MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCROSS SERIES

Round Nine of the AMA Monster Energy Supercross Series will take place Saturday evening at the Edwin James Dome in St. Louis. Dodge riders have earned eight consecutive Main Event appearances this season led by Hart and Huntington’s Josh Hansen (eight Main Events) who sits ninth in the rider standings, 94 points behind the series leader.

“I’m excited to get back on the bike and put Atlanta behind me,” said Hart and Huntington rider Josh Hansen. “You just have to put last week’s race in the rear-view mirror and do your best this week to prepare for St. Louis. I’m stoked to get there and race. I’m just trying to make St. Louis a lot better than Atlanta for sure.”

SRT Motorsports on TV (All Times Eastern)
Friday, March 2
2:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Practice (SPEED)
5:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Practice (SPEED)

Saturday, March 3
2:30 p.m. – Sprint Cup Qualifying (SPEED)
4:30 p.m. – Nationwide “Bashas’ Supermarkets 200” (ESPN2)
8:30 p.m. – AMA Supercross from St. Louis (SPEED)

Sunday, March 4
12:30 p.m. – NASCAR Raceday (SPEED)
2:30 p.m. – NASCAR Pre-Race (Fox)
3:00 p.m. – Sprint Cup “Subway Fresh Fit 500” (Fox)

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