h0204 BC-CAR-AutoRacingGlance 04-09 1211



Site: Avondale, Ariz.

Schedule: Thursday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 6 p.m.); Saturday, race (Fox, 7 p.m.).

Track: Phoenix International Raceway (tri-oval, 1 mile, 11 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 9 degrees banking in turns 3-4).


Race distance: 312 miles, 312 laps.

Last race: Carl Edwards dominated at Texas Motor Speedway, leading a race-high 123 laps while building a lead of more than 7 seconds at one point. Edwards has been unbeatable on intermediate tracks this season, also winning at California and Las Vegas. And he could have won at Atlanta had his motor not failed while leading.

Last year: Jeff Gordon tied the late Dale Earnhardt for sixth place on the career victory list with 76, winning for the first time since July 2006. Gordon’s win in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 ended a 26-race victory drought.

Fast facts: Jeremy Mayfield parted ways Tuesday with Haas CNC Racing, and Johnny Sauter will drive the No. 70 this weekend. The split comes after he placed 38th at Texas, his fifth finish of 30th or worse in seven events this season. Mayfield is 36th in the standings, and the car now must qualify on speed to make this weekend’s race. ... Ryan Newman became the latest driver penalized by NASCAR, losing 25 points Tuesday because his car failed inspection at Texas. Newman’s Dodge was too high when it was inspected following his fourth-place run, an adjustment that could provide additional downforce. The penalty dropped Newman from eighth to 10th in the standings. ... All three Richard Childress drivers are among the top 12 in the standings. ... Gordon’s victory last year was the only one from the pole through the first 20 years of this event. He has eight top-five finishes and 15 top-10 placings in 18 career starts at Phoenix. ... Jimmie Johnson won the most recent Phoenix event on Nov. 11 for his only victory at the track. ... Stewart Cooper was hired as crew chief for Kyle Petty on Tuesday, taking over the slumping No. 45 Dodge after it missed the past two races. Cooper replaces Billy Wilburn.

Next race: Aaron’s 499, April 27, Talladega, Ala.



Site: Avondale, Ariz.


Schedule: Friday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 4 p.m.), race (ESPN2, 8:30 p.m.).

Track: Phoenix International Raceway (tri-oval, 1 mile, 11 degrees banking in turns 1-2, 9 degrees banking in turns 3-4).

Race distance: 200 miles, 200 laps.

Last race: Kyle Busch won at Texas Motor Speedway in dominating fashion, leading 126 of the 200 laps and finishing more than a second ahead of Jeff Burton. With an average speed of 151.708 mph, it was the fastest Nationwide race at the 1 1/2-mile high-banked track.

Last year: Clint Bowyer won a stirring duel with Matt Kenseth, taking the lead with 14 laps to go and holding on at Phoenix International Raceway. Bowyer led five times for 120 laps, while Kenseth led just once for 17 laps. As usual, Cup drivers dominated the race, with Timothy Peters in 13th the top finishing Nationwide regular.

Fast facts: Sprint Cup regulars have won all six Nationwide races during which both series competed on the same weekend. ... Less than two months into the 2008 NASCAR season, the 22-year-old Busch already has victories in all three major series. He has accomplished the feat four straight years. ... The 13 cars entered by Richard Childress Racing over the past six Nationwide events at Phoenix have combined for 11 top-five finishes. ... Carl Edwards has never finished outside the top 10 in six starts at Phoenix.

Next race: Mexico 200, April 20, Mexico City




Site: Las Vegas

Schedule: Friday, qualifying, 3 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 2 p.m.; Sunday, eliminations, 1 p.m.

Track: The Strip at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Last event: Antron Brown become the first driver in NHRA history to win races in Pro Stock Motorcycle and Top Fuel, beating Larry Dixon in the Top Fuel final in the O’Reilly Spring Nationals on March 30. Brown, who also joined J.R. Todd as the only black Top Fuel winners, followed Del Worsham (Funny Car), Greg Anderson (Pro Stock) and Matt Smith (Pro Stock Motorcycle) into the winner’s circle.

Last year: Robert Hight edged Funny Car leader Ron Capps in the Nationals, giving John Force Racing a victory less than a month after driver Eric Medlen was killed in a testing accident. Brandon Bernstein took Top Fuel and Greg Anderson claimed a track-record fifth Las Vegas trophy in Pro Stock.

Fast facts: Worsham beat both John Force and Ashley Force during his victory at Texas. ... Jason Line became only the fourth driver in NHRA history to qualify in his or her first 100 events, joining Pro Stock’s Bruce Allen (148) and motorcycle riders Dave Schultz (157) and Angelle Sampey (168). ... John Force failed to qualify at Las Vegas last year, ending his streak of 395 consecutive events. ...Las Vegas-based owners Ken and Judy Black have five career wins on their hometown track.

Next event: Summit Racing Equipment Southern Nationals, April 27, Commerce, Ga.



Last race: Dennis Setzer assumed the lead when Kyle Busch had to brake to avoid a crash in front of him, then held on through numerous restarts to win the Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway on March 29. The victory was the first for Dodge since the late Bobby Hamilton won at Mansfield in 2005. Setzer’s truck is co-owned by Hamilton’s widow, Lori.

Next race: O’Reilly Auto Parts 250, April 26, Kansas City, Kan.


Last race: Felipe Massa scored his first points of the season by winning his second straight Bahrain Grand Prix, edging teammate and new overall leader Kimi Raikkonen by 3.339 seconds. Massa entered the race under considerable pressure after retiring from the season’s previous two races.

Next race: Spanish Grand Prix, April 27, Barcelona


Last race: Graham Rahal came back from a spinout early in the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg to become the youngest winner in major open-wheel history. At 19 years, 93 days, Rahal broke the age record set two years ago in Sonoma, Calif., by another driver from a racing family, Marco Andretti, who was 19 years, 167 days old.


Next race: Indy Japan 300, April 19, Motegi



CAMPING WORLD SERIES WEST: Phoenix 150, Thursday, Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.

WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED: Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150 presented by DMC Auto Exchange, Friday, Ace Speedway, Altamahaw, N.C.

WHELEN SOUTHERN MODIFIED: Whelen Southern Modified Tour 150, Saturday, Caraway Speedway, Asheboro, N.C.

For more on all the racing organizations, go to

Nextel Cup, Busch Series, Craftsman Trucks


Champ Car World Series

Formula One

Indy Racing League


What To Read Next
Get Local