- Chevrolet SS going for six consecutive wins at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR)
- Chevrolet most successful manufacturer at PIR with 21 victories
- PIR first test of new low downforce package on a short track
- NASCAR's West Coast swing continues in the Valley of the Sun
DETROIT – A restrictor plate race, two 1.5-mile track races, and now a short track race will be the next challenge for the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) has been the site of great success for the Bowtie Brand over the past five races. This weekend Chevrolet SS drivers and teams will look to give the brand their sixth consecutive win at the 1.0-mile flat track nestled in the Valley of the Sun.
A win this weekend by a Chevrolet team will match the longest winning streak of any manufacturer at a single venue on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule. The record is currently held by Chevrolet at Dover (Del.) International Speedway, where the brand currently has six consecutive wins.
This weekend will mark the first test of the new low downforce package for the 39-car field. The new package, combined with a new tire from Goodyear, will give drivers and teams a lot to learn during the three practices sessions prior to Sunday's race. Most Chevrolet teams did not participate in the tire test at PIR in October of 2015, so they will rely on the Chevrolet suite of simulation tools to prepare their cars for the new experience prior to hitting the track on Friday.
Chevrolet SS driver Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is the defending winner at PIR; and Team Chevy's Kevin Harvick won the previous four races at Phoenix. Harvick's prowess for the track nicknamed a "roval" due to its oval and road course characteristics has been dominated by the Bakersfield, California native. Thus far, he has visited Victory Lane at PIR seven times.
"The hardest thing about having success is you have to have an open mind to try new things to keep moving forward," said Harvick. "If you don't have an open mind or are not willing to try a fresh approach, then it will get stagnant. You're going to become stale and get left behind. As we go to Phoenix, we have to look at the things that we've done well. Obviously, we've done a lot of good things. We look at the race tape and pay attention to the lines and braking, steering, throttle and all the things that you have access to and you try to mimic that immediately when you get on the racetrack. The hard part about our sport is the conditions are never the same. The tire is constantly changing. You never know if it's going to be 100 degrees or if it's going to be 50 degrees. That makes a big difference on the balance of the car, how much downforce it makes and how much tape you can run on the front. There are all kinds of things to navigate through once you get there. There are a lot of good racecar drivers and lots of circumstances that could play out to have things go wrong. You go there with a fresh start like you've never won there before and try to get the car dialed-in."
All the competitors will be chasing the Bowtie this weekend. The 2016 Chevrolet SS production car, which the 2016 Chevrolet SS race car mimics, will lead the field to green for 312 laps of side-by-side racing when all the action from Phoenix International Raceway and the Good Sam 500 gets started. The race is scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on Sunday March 13. Live coverage will be available on FOX, MRN Radio, Sirius NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and NASCAR.com.
TEAM CHEVY FOR THE FANS AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY:
- Fans can visit the Team Chevy Racing Display at Phoenix International Raceway in the midway area locations outside the front stretch grandstands
- Fans can check out great Chevrolet vehicles including: Camaro, Colorado, Malibu, Silverado LD, Silverado HD, Volt, Equinox, Traverse and Tahoe
- Fans can also get an up-close and personal look at a variety of show cars including: the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet Camaro, the No. 14 Mobil 1 Chevrolet SS and the No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS
- Also on display is a Chevrolet R07 racing engine complete with electronic fuel injection. Fans can also see a sample of engines, parts and accessories available for purchase from Chevrolet Performance at their local Chevrolet dealer
- Other activities at the Team Chevy Racing Display include a variety of interactive games for adults and kids
DRIVER FAN Q&A APPEARANCES:
- Saturday, March 12th
- 9:20 a.m. – Spencer Gallagher
- 11:15 a.m. – Brandon Jones
- Sunday, March 13th
- 9:25 a.m. – Ryan Newman
- Hours of operation: March 11 – 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.; Sat. March 12 – 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Sun. March 13 – 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
TEAM CHEVY IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES (NSCS) COMPETITION:
- Chevrolet has won 39 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Manufacturer Championships
- Team Chevy drivers have scored 754 wins and 681 poles in NSCS competition
CHEVROLET ON THE TRACK—PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY:
- Chevrolet drivers have won 21 of 39 races at Phoenix International Raceway. Victories by current Team Chevy drivers are:
- Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Jimmy John's Chevrolet SS, has seven victories at Phoenix International Raceway ('06 – TWICE, '12, '13, '14 – TWICE, ‘15)
- Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe's Pro Services Chevrolet SS, has four wins at Phoenix International Raceway ('07, '08 – TWICE & ‘09)
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, has three trophies from Phoenix International Raceway ('03, '04 & ‘15)
- Kurt Busch, No. 41 Monster Energy/Haas Automation Chevrolet SS, has one win at Phoenix International Raceway ('05)
- Ryan Newman, No. 31 Grainger Chevrolet SS, has one victory at Phoenix International Raceway ('10)
- Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet SS, has one win at Phoenix International Raceway ('11)
- Tony Stewart, No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Chevrolet SS, has one victory at Phoenix International Raceway ('99)
- A Chevrolet driver has won five of the last five races at Phoenix International Raceway
- A Chevrolet driver has sat on the pole at Phoenix International Raceway 18 times
- Team Chevy drivers have scored 101 top-five and 189 top-10 finishes at Phoenix International Raceway
- A Chevrolet has led 5,508 laps (44.3% of possible 12,426 laps) at Phoenix International Raceway
ENGINEER EXPERTISE FROM THE GARAGE AREA – PAT SUHY, MANAGER, CHEVROLET RACING – MANAGER OF NASCAR ENGINEERING AND PROGRAM MANAGEMENT:
"NASCAR's Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series, first of two annual stops at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR), is sure to be exciting. We've seen some good racing at both of the 1.5-mile tracks since Daytona, and Phoenix will be a nice change of pace. At one mile in length with a unique shape, the track is referred to as a ‘roval' because it has elements of both an oval track and a road course. With only 11Â° maximum banking in Turns 1 and 2 and 9Â° in Turns 3 and 4, it is among the flattest non-road-course tracks these teams
"Between the new 2016 low downforce aero package and some new, grippier Goodyear tires, the teams have plenty to learn in practice on Friday and Saturday. Most teams didn't get to tire test at Phoenix with this new package, which means they have had to rely 100% on simulation to determine initial chassis settings for the first practice. Those that are closest to optimum will have more time to spend on understanding how the cars behave as tires wear and fuel loads decrease, giving them a leg up on those that unload slower and have to spend more of their practice time just finding speed.
"Our Team Chevy teams employ a wide range of simulation tools, both hardware and software-based. Some are home grown; and some are tools that our Team Chevy Racing technical group provides. Together, it's a potent mix; giving our teams a great opportunity to unload fast and take full advantage of the practice time they have leading up to qualifying and the race.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Team Chevy in action this weekend. While past history is no guarantee of success, it's fair to say that our teams are consistently competitive at PIR, and have shown that they know what it takes to win here. There's no doubt that on Sunday we'll see a great race and we'll get to watch a Chevy SS or two fighting for the win on the final lap, along with a trip to Victory Lane if all goes according to plan."
TEAM CHEVY FROM THE DRIVER'S SEAT:
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE'S PRO SERVICES CHEVROLET SS – 2ND IN STANDINGS
"Qualifying isn't my strong suit, but last time out in Phoenix we were able to win the pole. Since Phoenix was repaved it's been a tough track for the Lowe's Racing team. We haven't won since 2009. I think it has something to do with the asphalt and tire combination. This asphalt is really fast, it's not abrasive – yet and the tires last forever. I have always struggled on hard tires on repaved tracks but in November we were pretty fast but the weather got in our way. Old worn out tracks, soft tires that wear out, that just fits my style since I've ever been in a racecar. Phoenix is slowly evolving."
KEVIN HARVICK, NO. 4 JIMMY JOHN'S CHEVROLET SS – 3RD IN STANDINGS
"Phoenix is a really flat racetrack where you want to have the freshest tires possible, but track position is really important. A lot of what happens at Phoenix depends on the weather and how hot it is – how much fall-off and how you have to manage track position throughout the day. The cooler the day is, the more you have to manage your track position. The hotter the day, the more you have to manage the fall-off. Better-handling cars will have a little easier time of getting through the field."
KURT BUSCH, NO. 41 MONSTER ENERGY/HAAS AUTOMATION CHEVROLET SS – 5TH IN STANDINGS
"I'm hoping it is more of the same, where you have the speed drop-off and that the cars will handle worse and that the driver has to work harder to maintain lap time. At a flat track, you really don't get to keep your momentum up. So, it will be interesting to see how it plays out versus a mile-and-a-half track."
DALE EARNHARDT, JR., NO. 88 AXALTA CHEVROLET SS – 12TH IN STANDINGS
"We struggled a little bit last weekend at Vegas, but we're right there. We're not too far off, so we'll get it a little bit better and keep working on it. We'll go on to Phoenix and see how we do there. Should be a lot of fun. Hopefully we can go back and try to get another win. It was a rain-shortened win last time, but my guys and I were very proud of it because of how the car ran all weekend, which put us in position. If we can unload that fast this weekend, we'll be in good shape. The racetrack has a great history – the place has been around for so long and the area has always supported it, so we should get a good crowd and I'm looking forward to it. "
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 GREAT CLIPS CHEVROLET SS – 13TH IN STANDINGS
"Phoenix is tough. This new package will definitely be different, but I enjoy racing at Phoenix. It's a cool area and I enjoy the track. To me, you go into Turn 1 and it's a really sharp turn-in, so that's different than the rest of the racetrack. The rest of the track is kind of open — your entry to (Turn) 3 is open, your exit of (Turn) 4 is really open — but in Turn 1 it shuts down and you have to get right to the bottom most of the time. So to be able to do that and have good grip everywhere else and enough rear grip and things like that probably is the toughest spot, just making both corners the same since they're so different."
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 MCDONALD'S CHEVROLET SS – 16TH IN STANDINGS
"I think the key to racing at Phoenix is getting your car to handle well at both ends of the race track. If you are really good at one end, but not the other, you don't what to sacrifice too much to get the balance better at one end versus the other. Also, I think that this year with the new gear changes not being able to shift it will be a little different. Previously if handling went away you could downshift to compensate. I look forward to going to a different track and not being on a mile-and-a-half track this week. Also, just being in Phoenix is nice. It is a great venue and beautiful area."
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – 21ST IN STANDINGS
"This weekend in Phoenix, our team really needs a good run. The last two weekends haven't been too good for us, but we're working hard to get things moving in a better direction. We've made it to the final round of qualifying each race at Phoenix, so our Target Chevy has had speed there. We've had a couple good finishes, so hopefully we can get another one this weekend."
CASEY MEARS, NO. 13 GEICO CHEVROLET SS – 24TH IN STANDINGS
"I really look forward to going to Phoenix International Raceway. It's been one of our better tracks with the GEICO Chevrolet SS. I'm hoping we come ready based on last year's setup and only have to tweak it. That is the goal. I expect Phoenix to be like the past – where fans can always see good hard racing. With Phoenix being a shorter track than Vegas and Atlanta, it's typically a more aggressive race. It's one of my favorite tracks. I enjoy coming back to the desert. This trip I'll be taking in some sun, hiking and catching up with old friends here. The kids always look forward to coming to Phoenix and swimming, hiking. There are so many family activities here in the area – RC car tracks, top golf, Phoenix Children's Museum…it's safe to say the Mears Gang likes this stop on the NASCAR schedule!"
AJ ALLMENDINGER, NO. 47 FRY'S/SCOTT PRODUCTS CHEVROLET SS – 25TH IN STANDINGS
"I've always enjoyed racing at Phoenix International Raceway and it's been a good track for me. I really enjoyed it after they did the repave. It took a little bit to get used to. It's a tough place because you've really got to make sure your car turns well there especially in Turns 3 and 4 because it's really flat. But, even in Turns 1 and 2 it is a fine line between making sure you're not to free in, but it still turns and that's what we all fight when we get there. I've always enjoyed the place and we've had pretty solid runs there over the past couple of years there. I think we are going to be really good."
DANICA PATRICK, NO. 10 NATURE'S BAKERY CHEVROLET SS – 26TH IN STANDINGS
"We had a solid race there last November and hopefully we can build on that performance when we return to the track this weekend. I like Phoenix and think it's a great track, so I hope we can have another smooth run and do well."
CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 24 NAPA AUTO PARTS CHEVROLET SS – 28TH IN STANDINGS
ON RACING IN THE NASCAR XFINITY SERIES AT PHOENIX:
"I've been fortunate to have some good cars at Phoenix. I thought we had two good cars out there last year. I don't look at Phoenix as being a place I've figured out though. I think I have a lot of room for improvement there. On the Cup side the challenges are going to be much greater. I'm just trying to watch tape and learn as much as I can from the guys who really have the place figured out. I'm looking forward to getting on track."
MICHAEL MCDOWELL, NO. 95 THRIVENT FINANCIAL CHEVROLET SS – 30TH IN STANDINGS
"It's fun to race at Phoenix in front of a hometown crowd. The track makes for really good racing with a lot of side-by-side racing. The new pavement and dogleg create a whole new level of excitement. That race in particular is very competitive – there are usually a lot of cautions and plenty of opportunities to pass. It's a good race for our Thrivent Racing team to come to after being at the mile and a half tracks for two weeks."
TY DILLON, NO. 14 BASS PRO SHOPS/TRACKER BOATS CHEVROLET SS:
"I have one job to do, and that's drive the racecar as fast I can. I know Stewart-Haas is going to give me the best equipment possible. I'm going to get in there and work has hard as I can from the first time I'm in the racecar. We're going to make the best out of the situation. The main thing is that we want to finish races. That's the first thing – we want to finish the race and bring the car back in the same condition that we brought it here. With what Stewart-Haas can bring to the track as far as racecars and equipment right out of the gate, we ought to be able to finish on the lead lap and in the top-15 – top-10 being a bonus."
Chevrolet NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Statistics
Total (1949 – 2015): 39
First title for Chevrolet: 1958
Highest number of consecutive titles: 13 (2003-2015)
Years Won: 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Total (1949 – 2015): 30
First Chevrolet champion: Buck Baker (1957)
Highest number of consecutive titles: 7 (2005 – '11)
Years Won: 1957, 1960, 1961, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1980, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014
Record for total race wins in single season: 26 – (in 2007)
Laps led: 396
Top-five finishes: 6
Top-10 finishes: 16
Laps led: 5119
Top-five finishes: 93
Top-10 finishes: 201
CHEVROLET IN NASCAR SPRINT CUP CUMULATIVE STATISTICS:
Total Chevrolet race wins: 754 (1949 – to date)
Poles Won to Date: 681
Laps Lead to Date: 225,327
Top-Five Finishes to Date: 3,808
Top-10 Finishes to Date: 7,793
Total NASCAR Cup wins by Corporation, 1949 – To-Date