Hendrick Motorsports Phoenix Preview
ADVONDALE, Ariz. (Nov. 12, 2010) – The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stops this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway for the KOBALT Tools 500. Race coverage will start this Sunday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.
Here are the statistics on Hendrick Motorsports, which owns eight wins, 28 top-five finishes, 50 top-10s, eight pole positions and has led 1,805 laps in 28 races (99 entries) at Phoenix. The organization has won six of the last seven events at the short track and its wins, top-10s and poles are ranked first all-time there.
No. 5 GoDaddy.com: Qualified 28th.
In the most recent event at Phoenix, Mark Martin started 23rd and worked his way through the field to be in position to take just two tires on the final pit stop. Martin held off the competitors who had taken four fresh tires to finish fourth in the event. In this event last November, Martin started 10th and finished fourth for the second year in a row.Track stats:
Martin is a two-time Cup winner at Phoenix—April 2009 and October 1993—and those two victories tie him for second all-time at the track. Along with his two wins at Phoenix, Martin has posted 12 top-five finishes, 18 top-10s and led 833 laps. Martin’s top-fives and top-10s rank most all-time and his laps led join his wins at second most all-time at the one-mile oval. Martin’s average finish of 8.7 at the speedway is a personal best for the NASCAR veteran at any oval on the Cup circuit. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, which are compiled during the last 11 races at Phoenix, Martin holds the second-best average finish (8.7), the second-best driver rating (102.3) and the third-best laps led (362 laps) during that time period.This time:
Martin will start 28th this Sunday in Chassis No. 5-588, the car he raced to a fourth-place finish at Phoenix in April.Martin:
“Phoenix has been a good track for me since we first started racing there. I’ve had a lot of success at that track. Short track racing just works for me. I love it. It reminds me of the tracks I grew up racing on. You know, I almost won at Phoenix in 2008, then turned around and got my first win with Hendrick there last year. I’ll never forget that night, so this track will always be special to me for that.”No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet:
Qualified 22nd.Last time:
In the most recent event at Phoenix in April, Jeff Gordon started 10th and led three laps before finishing in the runner-up position. Gordon finished ninth in this event last November after starting 14th.Track stats:
Gordon has tallied one win, nine top-five finishes, 17 top-10s, three pole positions and has led 250 laps in 23 starts at Phoenix. Gordon captured the checkered flag at Phoenix on April 21, 2007. Gordon started the race on the pole and led 53 laps before going to Victory Lane. Gordon’s top-10s and poles are both ranked second all-time at the one-mile short track. According to NASCAR’s loop data, Gordon is ranked second in both average running position (9.586) and laps spent in the top 15 (2,984 laps) and his is ranked third in the driver rating category with a score of 101.1.This time:
Gordon enters Sunday’s event ranked sixth in the championship standings. He will roll off the grid 22nd in this weekend’s Cup event.Gordon:
“I love the track even though it’s a very challenging one. Both ends of the racetrack are complete opposites, and it’s impossible to get both ends to work perfectly. I like that challenge. I’ve driven on the track since I was like 18 years old, so I always look forward to coming here because it’s a lot of fun to drive.”No. 48 Lowe’s/KOBALT Tools Chevrolet:
Qualified 21st.Last time:
Most recently at Phoenix in April, Jimmie Johnson started 16th and led 113 laps on his way to a third-place finish. In this event last November, Johnson started third and earned his seventh win of the 2009 season and also his third straight in the fall event at Phoenix. Johnson left Phoenix with a 108-point lead in the championship standings as he headed to Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway to battle for his fourth-straight championship in the final race of the Chase.Track stats:
Johnson is a four-time winner at the short track, picking up victories in November 2007, April 12, 2008, November 2008 and November 2009. Johnson has scored a top-10 finish in the last 10 races at Phoenix and a total of 12 in 14 Cup starts. Johnson’s wins are ranked most all-time at the speedway; his nine top-five finishes are tied for second-most with teammate Gordon; and Johnson’s 857 laps led are ranked first-all time at the short track and also fourth-best personally for the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet. Johnson’s average finish of 4.9 at Phoenix is a career-best for the El Cajon, Calif., native at any racetrack on the Cup circuit. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, which are compiled during the last 11 races at Phoenix, Johnson is ranked first in 11 categories, most notably: driver rating (123.7), average finish (4.2), laps led (772 laps) and laps in the top 15 (3,357 laps).This time:
Johnson enters Sunday’s event ranked second in the championship standings, he is just 33 points behind leader Denny Hamlin. Johnson will start 21st in Sunday’s event.Johnson:
“Well the last four years we have been in a different position (in the Chase). I have lost plenty of championships in the past, and this is racing. It doesn’t come easy, and you are not going to get what you want every single year and every single weekend. I can promise you this. I am trying as hard as I can; I know my team is, and we are doing everything we can. Thirty-three points back is not where we want to be but we are going to work to get back on top.”No. 88 Diet Mountain Dew Paint the 88/National Guard Chevrolet:
Qualified 31st.Last time:
Most recently at Phoenix, Dale Earnhardt Jr. started 18th and was involved in multi-car accident on Lap 171 in Turn 4. The No. 88 team worked to repair the damage to the Chevrolet and returned to the racetrack to finish 35th. In this event last November, Earnhardt started fifth but hit a piece of debris 56 laps into the event. The No. 88 team worked to fix the damage, and Earnhardt worked his way through traffic throughout the remainder of the event to finish 12th.Track stats:
In 16 Cup starts at Phoenix, Earnhardt has earned two wins, four top-five finishes, seven top-10s and has led 460 laps. Earnhardt’s two wins were back-to-back in November 2003 and November 2004—at the time Phoenix only hosted one Cup race a season. His wins are tied for third-best personally for the Kannapolis, N.C., native. He has earned five wins at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, three at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway and two at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. According to NASCAR’s loop data statistics, Earnhardt is ranked eighth in laps led, tallying 150 laps spent pacing the field.This time:
This weekend, Earnhardt will pilot Hendrick Motorsports Chassis No. 88-589, which will showcase a special paint scheme that he selected from almost 10,000 entries in the Paint the 88 fan contest. Earnhardt raced this chassis to a fourth-place finish at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September. Earnhardt will start 31st in Sunday’s event.Earnhardt:
“Turns 3 and 4 have been the toughest part for me lately at Phoenix. Both ends can be challenging but 3 and 4 is just a longer corner, and they are just so different from each other. The car will be good at one end of the track, and it changes all the time. Getting around (Turns) 3 and 4, getting in there hard, through the center real fast is going to help your lap a lot more than what can happen in (Turns) 1 and 2.”