Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Phoenix a good track to follow Daytona

As Trevor Bayne continues to travel around the country to celebrate his win in the Daytona 500, everybody back at the shop and every other team is getting set to head to Phoenix, which will be a whole different type of race than what we saw during Speedweeks.

Daytona is so big and Speedweeks last so long it seems like restrictor-plate racing and the drama of the races at Daytona will be around at every other race, and that’s simply not the case. However, the second race of the season has a chance now since it’s been moved out of Southern California and into Phoenix.

The cool thing about Phoenix International Raceway is it is basically a big short track, where handling and driver skill are very important, as opposed to the aerodynamics that often come into play at California and Las Vegas.

I think this track works well as the second race of the season because it is completely different from Daytona, whereas California is so big there were rumors flying around that NASCAR might mandate restrictor plates at that track.

Plus, up until the last six years, the second race of the season was always at a shorter track, such as Richmond, or later, Rockingham. Both are great tracks and I think Phoenix will hold a nice place between Daytona and Las Vegas.

It will be interesting to see which teams are fast the moment they hit the race track Friday, because unlike in past years, this race still might not give us much better of an idea of who will be good in the long run than Daytona did. Sure, Hamlin and Johnson traditionally run well at Phoenix, but both usually struggle early in the season and don’t start coming to life until the weather warms up.

One thing should be certain, however, NASCAR shouldn’t have to deal with the perennial rains it faced at Rockingham or the weeping race track in California because it took the show to the desert. If it rains Sunday, and there is a 40 percent chance, I don’t know where NASCAR can run and hide to avoid the rain.

In any case, this should be a fun weekend that could spark some early rivalries, which are always fun. Check out Monday Morning Crew Chief on Facebook and look for updates during and after the race live from the race track as the crew has this one covered.


  1. Here comes Phoenix! Chance of rain? Here's hoping for a dry weekend.

  2. Dwindy1 - Really hoping its dry, but even if it does rain let's just hope it isn't a sign of things to come this season.

  3. I like the fact that NASCAR moved the second race of the season somewhere other than Fontana. I don't like it though that Phoenix is going to lose its night race because that has always been fun to watch. Phoenix is a great track though, and the races there can get quite interesting...

    P.S. If you don't recognize my username, I'm Gonger. Just decided it's time to let everyone know who I really am...

  4. It's great that they moved PIR to the second date on the schedule, but I like it better at night.

    Are you going to the track this weekend, JM?

  5. Brent - Hey, great to hear from you. I've been trying to comment on the bullets but have had issues with my browser. Good to see you're back!

    Gene - If it keeps California from having two dates, I'm all for it. And yes, I'll be there bright and early Sunday morning.

  6. Have amazing time!! I know you will...Usually I'd be at this one but can't miss that much work. Like PHX coming second rather than Fontana but the entire west coast swing really screws us west coast fans forcing us to choose rather than go to multiple races since they are so close together.

    Heard PHX was working on some banking and changing the dog leg...not sure they need to it is a great track as is!