Day Two: NASCAR Test At Phoenix International Raceway On-track preparations for the 2011 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup weekend at Phoenix International Raceway are officially complete as teams concluded a two-day test session on Wednesday. This second day of testing hosted 35 teams on the newly repaved and reconfigured one-mile oval. There were a variety of reactions to the new track, but change seems to be the one constant that drivers have seen to the 47-year-old facility.
"As we ran the track, it got a lot better with rubber," said #99-Carl Edwards. "As treacherous as this place was in the Goodyear tire test, as tough as it was to drive, it got better the whole day. I think we have a lot to look forward to once the track gets more rubber on it. To me it's going to be pretty amazing to be the penultimate race and have all those opportunities for something crazy to happen, it could shake everything up. I don't know how all those dynamics are going to work out. I think as we see the other series run, we'll learn where the problem spots are."
Crew chiefs have also had to adjust a little over the last two days and try a variety of set ups and strategy. "It's awesome," said Steve Addington, crew chief #22 Shell/Pennzoil Dodge and driver Kurt Busch. "They've done an awesome job with the racetrack, plus they've done an awesome job on pit road. You look forward to picking a pit. All the pits should be good when we come back to race. I think that's going to be the action place. We were talking about it last night, about the double file restarts, getting through two. Getting into the dogleg is going to be exciting. During the test, everybody is giving. When you catch a car, they let you go. But when they start racing, it's going to be pretty interesting through there. That's going to open up another can of worms to see how all the action takes place back through there. Getting into it, positioning yourself, where you get a run on the guy, whether it's on the outside or inside of him, the give and take is going to be pretty interesting."
As teams took their last lap around the track and completed their final notes, the new Phoenix International Raceway certainly has teams and NASCAR ready for an exciting Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race come November. "Testing here has allowed the teams to really focus on their strategy and gather crucial data as they prepare for the upcoming race weekend," said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. "This is a totally new race track and as with all newly repaved facilities, time is going to play a factor in how these cars compete. It will certainly be an exciting weekend in Phoenix for sure."
Tony Stewart was the fastest on the 2nd day of testing with a speed of 137.762mph followed by Johnson and Harvick. The all time track qualifying record, run under the old track configuration was 137.279mph, set by Carl Edwards this past February. NASCAR
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