Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - After a longer than expected stay at
Daytona International Speedway, Sprint Cup Series teams are scrambling cross-
country for this weekend's race at Phoenix International Raceway.
Track activities for Sprint Cup at Phoenix include: practice on Friday,
qualify Saturday and race 312 laps (500 kilometers) Sunday.
As for the weather forecast in Phoenix this weekend? No rain...just sunny
It's certainly been a sunny week for Daytona 500 winner Matt Kenseth, not to
mention a very busy one for him. With stops in Dallas and Los Angeles for
media obligations before heading to Phoenix, there hasn't been much downtime
for the 39-year-old Kenseth.
"I haven't really got much sleep, yet, honestly," said Kenseth, who actually
turns 40 on March 10. "I got a little bit after the race but not much. We
spent much of the day in Daytona [on Tuesday] and then went to Dallas [that]
night. We hung out with my buddy, Eddie Gossage [President of Texas Motor
Speedway], and guys from Texas Motor Speedway and went to the Mavericks game
and did some stuff there.
"We then flew on to L.A., so we got here real late last night, and believe it
or not, I got up super early in the morning and couldn't sleep."
Don't expect Kenseth and his No. 17 Roush Fenway Racing team to be physically
and emotionally drained at Phoenix.
"It's okay; I know those guys are ready for Phoenix," Kenseth said. "The
schedule there is not too bad for me this weekend, so I think I'll have plenty
of time to get caught up. I'll definitely be ready to get in the car on
In 2009, Kenseth won the Daytona 500 and then one week later took the
checkered flag for the 500-mile race in Southern California.
Can Kenseth start off another season with back-to-back wins?
He has one victory in 19 starts at Phoenix. His win there came in November
2002. He finished 12th and 34th at this track last year.
After its February 2011 race, the flat, one-mile Phoenix track was repaved and
reconfigured in time for the November event.
"I'm really excited to see how the track has aged over the winter," Carl
Edwards said. "I thought the surface was very racy last time we were there,
and I think everyone is excited to see if it gets even better for the race
Kasey Kahne won at Phoenix three and a half months ago, snapping a two-year
winless streak in Sprint Cup. Kahne drove a Toyota for Red Bull Racing at the
time, but he is now the behind the wheel of the No. 5 Chevrolet for Hendrick
One year ago, Jeff Gordon ended a career-long 66-race winless drought by
taking the checkered flag at Phoenix. It had been his first victory since
April 2009 at Texas. But Gordon's return to Phoenix later in the '11 season
was not exactly a good one, as he experienced brake issues during the race and
wound up finishing 32nd.
"One of the things we worked heavily on during the off-season was preparing
for this race to make sure we don't have the same issues we experienced in
November," Gordon said.
Hendrick Motorsports -- with drivers Kahne, Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Dale
Earnhardt -- is just one win away from No.200. Petty Enterprises is the only
team so far that has surpassed the 200-win barrier in NASCAR's premier series.
Forty-four teams are on the preliminary entry list for the Subway Fresh Fit
500. Danica Patrick is not entered in this race. Her next scheduled Sprint Cup
event is May 12 at Darlington.
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Sunday, March 4. Race: Subway Fresh Fit 500.
Site: Phoenix International Raceway. Track: one-mile oval. Start time: 3:00
p.m. (et). Laps: 312. Miles: 312 (500 kilometers). 2011 Winner: Jeff Gordon.
Television: FOX. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Satellite.
The Sports Network