Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

SUBWAY FRESH FIT 500 - Odds to Win

Jimmie Johnson 7/1
Tony Stewart 6/1
Kasey Kahne 20/1
Jeff Gordon 6/1
Matt Kenseth 10/1
Dale Earnhardt Jr 12/1
Kevin Harvick 7/1
Jeff Burton 10/1
Carl Edwards 20/1
Kyle Busch 12/1
Mark Martin 20/1
Greg Biffle 20/1
Kurt Busch 20/1
Denny Hamlin 10/1
Clint Bowyer 30/1
Juan Pablo Montoya 40/1
Martin Truex Jr 50/1
Ryan Newman 50/1
Elliott Sadler 50/1
Casey Mears 100/1
Jamie McMurray 40/1
Scott Riggs 100/1
Reed Sorenson 100/1
Bobby Labonte 100/1
David Stremme 100/1
Joe Nemechek 100/1
David Gilliland 100/1
Ricky Rudd 100/1
JJ Yeley 100/1
Dave Blaney 100/1
Robby Gordon 100/1
Jeff Green 100/1
David Ragan 100/1
Field (Any Other Driver) 60/1

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Phoenix preview
April 16, 2007
By Micah Roberts 

This week’s run in the Cup Series takes us to the Sonoran desert under the lights outside of Phoenix, Arizona. The Saturday night special will be televised live on FOX and gives us a shot at seeing how the new Car of Today (COT) runs on a larger track. So far the new car has run at Bristol and Martinsville. Phoenix isn’t that much larger, but it is twice the size of the others with a distance of one full mile.

Tracks that generally run similar to Phoenix with chassis set-up are Richmond and New Hampshire. We’ve seen several correlations over the years where drivers take the same chassis they ran well with at one of the 3 facilities and then take it to the next and show similar success.

Because of the new cars running, we can just about throw every piece of past Phoenix trends and tendencies out the window. Drivers who run well at Phoenix over the years will be able to use their success as a confidence builder, but it ultimately comes down to the new car. If going by the two races run a few weeks ago with the new car, it’s likely we won’t see a Ford, Dodge, or Toyota in the top 10 this week.

The top performers in the two short track races with the new car were Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, and Jeff Burton. All three of the drivers have averaged less than a top 5 average finish in the two races. The next tier of top drivers in the new car happen to drive Chevy’s also. It’s obscenely obvious that guys in bow-ties have just a little bit of an edge over the rest.

The top Ford performer may come as a surprise since he’s been terrible in the old car ever since taking over a Championship team, but Jamie McMurray finally gets to start from scratch with his Fenway-Roush team. The new car has really created a positive vibe with the No. 26 team and they have responded well with two 9th place finishes in the two races.

The Dodge camp really struggled with the new car having produced only one top 10 finish among the ten regular Dodge drivers. Scott Riggs came in with a surprising 8th place finish at Martinsville. The surprising part is that Kurt Busch, who is known for being a great short track driver, couldn’t muster better than a 20.5 average finish in the two races. Busch is one of those drivers who have done well equally on the 3 facilities of Phoenix, New Hampshire, and Richmond.

Toyota probably wishes they could use the Car of Today every race. They have qualified more cars than in a standard car and they also have a nice 15th place finish to show for with Brian Vickers leading the charge at Bristol. Despite the many positives for Toyota with the COT, Michael Waltrip still can’t qualify whether it’s the car of tomorrow, today, or yesterday.

Another strategy that could help you in the right direction getting a nice price in odds to win, or else find a mismatch in a driver match-up somewhere, is by reviewing the Richmond testing sessions from early April. By just glancing over the numbers and not knowing exactly what teams were attempting to do such as simulating long runs, qualifying, or using old tires, a few names stood out.

We mentioned earlier about certain drivers doing well on the three similar types of tracks and almost all of those drivers showed up on the top of the Richmond practice speed charts. Kurt Busch, Jeff Gordon, Greg Biffle, and Jeff Burton showed up high on the charts.

Kyle Busch won at Phoenix in the fall of 2005. He also tested well, just behind those 4 drivers. Busch has edge in this race just because of how well the new car has performed for him. He took Bristol and then finished 4th the following week a Martinsville.

Kevin Harvick has won the last two Phoenix races. He had a rough time at Martinsville with 41st, but ran well enough to win at Bristol with a 4th.

Jeff Gordon has never won at Phoenix. That could change this week based on the way he looked at Bristol and Martinsville. Gordon may have the best COT of the bunch and that’s why were going to roll with him this week to win.

Top 5 Phoenix finish prediction:

1) #24 Jeff Gordon (7/1)
2) #5 Kyle Busch (8/1)
3) #31 Jeff Burton (11/1)
4) #29 Kevin Harvick (11/1)
5) #2 Kurt Busch (35/1)

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MWR hoping Richmond test helps at Phoenix

Could a recent test at Richmond International Raceway help Michael Waltrip Racing turn its season around a bit this weekend? Team owner Michael Waltrip certainly thinks so, at least when it comes to qualifying for the Subway 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

Although Richmond is a three-quarter mile oval compared to the 1-mile Phoenix track, Waltrip says that similarities in their configurations helps.

Waltrip's car was seventh fastest in the Richmond night test session and ninth in the final one. What will that mean during the Thursday night qualifying this week?

"Everything we did at Richmond can work at Phoenix," Waltrip said. "We found that out a few years ago when I drove for [Dale Earnhardt Inc.]. I almost won Phoenix with the exact same setup as Richmond. We understand that those two tracks are enough alike that the setups will indeed be real close to one another, so Richmond was an important test for us."

Waltrip is also looking forward to running the car of tomorrow at Phoenix. He says that Bristol and Martinsville were both good gauges of what the car can offer and that "NASCAR has hit it with the COT."

Will this weekend's race be a better indicator of what the car can do on a wider variety of tracks, though?

"Phoenix is certainly the first track that might relate to other tracks," Waltrip said. "Bristol and Martinsville are their own animals. They are very unique racetracks. When you talk about Phoenix, you can look at Richmond and Loudon and understand that the COT cars will perform basically the same at all those racetracks. It is the first real high-speed track with aerodynamics being in play, with the long straightaways and the flat turns. I'm really looking forward to the COT race at Phoenix. I think it is going to be a real interesting test for the program."

First, though, Waltrip has to make the race. The driver has not been in the field for a Cup race since the season-opening Daytona 500. Being outside the top 35 in owner points, he has been forced to qualify based on speed weekly. At Phoenix, his best start is 11th, and his average start is 28th. Right now, Waltrip is 50th in owner points. A total of 50 cars are entered this weekend, meaning that 16 are competing for eight spots. There are only seven spots available if Waltrip teammate Dale Jarrett uses a past champions provisional to make the field.

He could test from now till christmas and it wouldn't help him  big_smile

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Analyzing the Subway Fresh Fit 500

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season is officially in full swing.

Any question of that was erased after a last lap pass for the win by Jeff Burton over Matt Kenseth at Texas Motor Speedway. The thrilling finish prompted Burton to give a quick, off-the-cusp State of the Sport speech:

“I’ve never seen a boring race. I’ve seen races that are more exciting than others, obviously, but what the hell can be boring about cars going around 200 miles per hour, 43 of them on the race track? What can possibly be boring about that? … What really kills me is when they say racing used to be better. Anybody who says that never watched racing. Maybe you believed it because a marketing campaign made you believe it, but anybody who watched racing 20 years ago and watches it today…there’s no comparison. So, I’ve never seen a boring race. ”

That competitiveness and excitement is one of the reasons Mark Martin has stuck around in 2007.

And there’s little wonder why Mark Martin decided to run this upcoming race at Phoenix.

After missing the first two races that featured the Car of Tomorrow (Bristol and Martinsville), Mark Martin will get his first taste of the future of NASCAR under the lights Saturday night at Phoenix.

It’s easy to guess why Martin chose this race to be his first race in the Chevrolet Impala. He’s brilliant at this track. He has one win, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. In 21 races there, he has an impressive 9.238 average finish. His lowest finish there is 36th – in 1988, his first visit to the track. Since then, he hasn’t finished outside the top 20.

Another storyline worth watching is that of standings leader Jeff Gordon. Phoenix is one of three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup tracks at which he hasn’t won (Texas and Homestead are the others), though he has won a NASCAR Busch Series race there.

Driver Rating at Phoenix

Kevin Harvick 120.8

Greg Biffle 101.3

Jimmie Johnson 101.2

Kurt Busch 98.9

Carl Edwards 98.3

Jeff Gordon 98.0

Tony Stewart 96.5

Brian Vickers 95.8

Mark Martin 92.9

Matt Kenseth 92.4

The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Top 10 at Phoenix International Raceway

Selected Driver Highlights

Note: All driver stats are at Phoenix. NASCAR’s scoring loops began collecting data for statistical purposes in 2005. That is why the Loop Data statistics in this release cover the last four races at Phoenix.

Greg Biffle (No. 16 Ameriquest Ford)

• One top five

• Average finish of 20.0

• 342 laps led

• Driver Rating of 110.6, second-best

• 194 Fastest Laps Run, most of any driver

• Second-Fastest Green Flag Speed

Jeff Burton (No. 31 Cingular Wireless Chevrolet)

• Two wins, five top fives, eight top 10s

• Average finish of 11.5

• 215 laps led

• 185 Green Flag Passes, most of any driver

• 89 Quality Passes, tied for third-most

• Seventh-Fastest on the Frontstretch; Eighth-Fastest on the Backstretch

Kurt Busch (No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge)

• One win, two top fives, five top 10s

• Average finish of 13.0

• 448 laps led

• Average Running Position of 8.469, third best

• Driver Rating of 107.2, fourth best

• Fastest driver on the Frontstretch and Backstretch

• 91 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most

• Fifth-Fastest Green Flag Speed

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (No. 8 Budweiser Chevrolet)

• Two wins, four top fives, five top 10s

• Average finish of 16.3

• 310 laps led

• Eighth-Fastest on Turn 1

• 10th-Fastest Green Flag Speed

Jeff Gordon (No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet)

• Seven top fives, 13 top 10s; two poles

• 8.625 average finish

• 194 laps led

• Average Running Position of 9.502, fourth-best

• Driver Rating of 100.9, sixth-best

• Fifth-Fastest on the Backstretch

• Eight-Fastest Green Flag Speed

• 1,074 Laps in the Top 15, third-most

Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Shell/Pennzoil Chevrolet)

• Two wins, three top 10s

• 14.5 average finish

• 262 laps led

• Average Running Position of 6.043, best of any driver

• Driver Rating of 114.7, best of any driver

• 103 Fastest Laps Run, second-most

• 1,140 Laps in the Top 15, most of any driver

Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)

• Two top fives, five top 10s

• 7.714 average finish

• 113 laps led

• Average Running Position of 6.815, second-best

• Driver Rating of 110.0, third-best

• Third-Fastest Green Flag Speed

• 1,134 Laps in the Top 15

Tony Stewart (No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet)

• One wins, four top fives, six top 10s

• 10.7 average finish

• 161 laps led

• Average Running Position of 12.063, seventh-best

• Driver Rating of 95.7, seventh-best

• Second-Fastest on Frontstretch; Seventh-Fastest on Backstretch

• 35 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most

• 164 Green Flag Passes, fourth-most

• Sixth-Fastest Green Flag Speed

• 854 Laps in the Top 15, ninth-most

• 84 Quality Passes, sixth-most

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

RacingOne Power Rankings
Pete Pistone
Managing Editor

Driver Ratings

The latest edition of the RacingOne NEXTEL Cup Series Power Rankings as the series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Saturday's SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500, which features NASCAR's comprehensive statistical ratings system using a detailed formula to calculate each driver's performance.

Editor's Note: Top 10 rankings are generated by a formula combining the following categories: Wins, Finishes, Top-15 Finishes, Average Running Position While on Lead Lap, Average Speed Under Green, Fastest Lap, Led Most Laps, Lead-Lap Finish. Maximum: 150 points per race. Must have raced in 75 percent of scheduled point-paying races.

1. Jeff Gordon - Didn't erase texas from his yet to win list, will try to get Phoenix off it this week.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 8.6
Phoenix Wins: 0

2. Jeff Burton - Knew he'd win earlier this year, now poised to make a run in the victory column.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 11.5
Phoenix Wins: 2

3. Jimmie Johnson - Looks to end a Phoenix drought of his own with his first win there this weekend.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 7.7
Phoenix Wins: 0

4. Tony Stewart - Getting aggravated over what's gone on the last few races, maybe "Angry Tony" will be what's needed to win this week at Phoenix.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 10.7
Phoenix Wins: 1

5. Matt Kenseth - As always, stealth until it matters when he's there at the end of the day.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 19.9
Phoenix Wins: 1

6. Kyle Busch - If he can stick around long enough to drive the whole race this week, could make a repeat trip to PIR's victory lane.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 20.8
Phoenix Wins: 1

7. Denny Hamlin - Flat track, short track and "Car of Tomorrow" could add up to Hamlin standing in victory lane Saturday night.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 16.7
Phoenix Wins: 0

8. Dale Earnhardt Jr. - Loves Phoenix and after last week's Texas debacle needs a strong run Saturday night.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 16.3
Phoenix Wins: 2

9. Kurt Busch - If he can avoid the flashing lights around the Phoenix area this weekend, he'll be a contender to win Saturday night.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 13.0
Phoenix Wins: 1

10. Clint Bowyer - Texas didn't turn out very well for the rest of the RCR bunch other than Burton, Phoenix could be the tonic.

Phoenix Finishing Average: 20.0
Phoenix Wins: 0

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

  Driver Handicaps: Phoenix

This weekend the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 - the third Car of Tomorrow event of the 2007 season. To help you make your Dale Jr. Reality Cup Racing fantasy picks, RacingOne brings you our weekly detailed look at some of the field for the 312-lap event.

Who's HOT at Phoenix
    * Kevin Harvick, Jeff Burton and Dale Earnhardt Jr. are the only active multiple winners at Phoenix.
    * Mark Martin leads all active drivers with 14 top 10s and 608 laps led at Phoenix.
    * Both Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon have finished in the top 10 in their last three starts at PIR.
    * Tony Stewart finished second in this event last year and has led 268 laps in Car of Tomorrow competition.
    * Carl Edwards has finished seventh or better in his last four starts at Phoenix.

Keep an Eye on at Phoenix
    * 2005 fall Phoenix winner Kyle Busch is tied with Jeff Gordon for the best average finish (2.5) in Car of Tomorrow events.
    * Denny Hamlin, who has led the most laps (302) in the two Car or Tomorrow races, finished third in his last start at Phoenix.
    * Kurt Busch (448), Ricky Rudd (387) and Greg Biffle (342) are second through fourth, repsectively, in laps led at Phoenix.
    * Bobby Labonte has finished ninth or better in four of his last five starts at Phoenix.
    * Of the drivers not already mentioned, Clint Bowyer, Jamie McMurray, Matt Kenseth and Brian Vickers (1 race) are the only drivers that have posted an average finish of 15.0 or better in Car of Tomorrow competition.

COT Performers
The Hendrick Motorsports teammates of Kyle Busch and Jeff Gordon lead all drivers with a 2.5 average finish in the two Car of Tomorrow races contested so far in 2007. Jeff Burton is the only other driver with an average finish of 5.0 or better after finishing second and sixth, respectively. David Gilliland is last in average finish among all drivers that have competed in both races at 40.0. The Joe Gibbs racing teammates of Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart are the only drivers to lead more than 200 laps each, with Hamlin at 302 and Stewart at 268. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (137), Jimmie Johnson (113) and Jeff Gordon (98) round out the top five in laps led. Gordon and Jamie McMurray, respectively, have the best starting average at 2.0 and 3.5. COT Driver Averages | COT Lap Leaders

Track Performers
Kevin Harvick had the best average finish (2.0) on flat one-mile ovals (Phoenix and New Hampshire) in 2006. Tony Stewart has a pair of second-place finishes, but his finishing average slipped to 13.8 after a bump from the No. 12 of Ryan Newman sent his car into the wall and to a 37th-place finish in the July race at New Hampshire. Carl Edwards (7.3), Jeff Gordon, Mark Martin (tied at 8.0) and Jeff Burton (8.3) round out the top five in average on one-mile flat tracks in 2006. Harvick has also led the most laps at 458. Greg Biffle led 151 laps in last year's spring Phoenix race before running out of fuel with two laps to go.

Phoenix Rookie Report
None of the Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidates have made a NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start at Phoenix International Raceway. Rookie leader Juan Pablo Montoya made a Busch Series start at PIR last November starting 11th and finishing 20th. Paul Menard is the only other rookie that has made a Busch start at Phoenix, posting an average finish of 19.7 in six starts. David Ragan and David Reutimann have both made starts in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series at PIR. Reutimann has two top 10s in three career starts. None of the rookies have led a lap in NASCAR competition at Phoenix. Rookie Standings

Qualifying Tidbits
Last November, Jeff Gordon won his second pole at Phoenix International Raceway, giving Chevrolet their fourth consecutive pole at the track. In the two races prior, Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin captured their first pole at PIR. Qualifying record holder Ryan Newman won three consecutive poles from 2002-2004. You would have to go back to 1998 to find the next pole winner by an active full-time NEXTEL Cup driver, when Ken Schrader took the top spot in the No. 33 Skoal Bandit Chevrolet. Although no races have been won from the pole, eight have been won from inside the top 10. Last year, Kevin Harvick won from the 15th and second position, respectively. Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the furthest position in 29th. Past Pole Winners | Starting Positions of Phoenix Winners

Looking For Speed
Brian Vickers has the best average finish at Phoenix International Raceway among the drivers required to qualify on time at 5.3. Vickers will look to use his four top five starts to his advantage in hopes of qualifying for his fifth NEXTEL Cup Series race in 2007. Dale Jarrett, who has a 21.2 average start, still has two past champion's provisionals to fall back on. Ken Schrader holds down the second best starting average among the group at 14.4 in 21 races. David Reutimann, Brandon Ash and A.J. Allmendinger have yet to turn a Bud Pole qualifying lap at PIR. Qualifying Averages

Top 20 Driver Notes - Based on Current Standings

1. Jeff Gordon (Points: 1136): Phoenix International Raceway is one of three tracks where Jeff Gordon hasn't visited victory lane. Gordon's worst finish, and only outside the top 10, in the last 11 races was a 12th-place finish in the 2005 spring race. Gordon has combined to lead 129 laps in four of the last five races at PIR. His 2.5 average finish in Car of Tomorrow races is currently tied with teammate Kyle Busch.

2. Jeff Burton (Points Behind Leader: -8): Burton has competed in 15 events at Phoenix International Raceway, capturing two victories (2000 and 2001), five top fives and eight top 10s. His third-place run in the 2005 spring race was his best effort since his last victory. Although Burton has yet to lead a lap at Phoenix with Richard Childress Racing, his 10th-place finish last fall was his third top 10 with the team at the track. This weekend Burton will be back behind the wheel of the same car (COT chassis No. 193) that he tested at Richmond earlier this month.

3. Matt Kenseth (Points Behind Leader: -125): Kenseth has captured one win (2002) and four top-10 finishes in nine races at Phoenix International Raceway. Kenseth matched his worst finish of 42nd in the 2005 spring race, his third DNF at the track. Kenseth, who has led 61 laps at Phoenix, will drive the same car (COT chassis RK-451) on Sunday that finished 11th at Bristol and was tested at Richmond.

4. Jimmie Johnson (Points Behind Leader: -181): Johnson currently has the third best average finish (7.7) among all active drivers at Phoenix International Raceway. Johnson equaled his best finish at PIR last fall when he came home second. In that race, he also led his first laps (28) since leading 84 in 2003. This weekend, Johnson will be back behind the wheel of the same car (COT chassis No. 407) that started 20th and finished first at Martinsville.

5. Denny Hamlin (Points Behind Leader: -222): Hamlin currently leads all drivers in Car of Tomorrow laps led at 302. He is coming off his first top-10 finish at Phoenix International Raceway after finishing third last fall. In the 2005 Phoenix fall race, Hamlin won his first career Bud Pole and went on to led 23 laps before a missed lug nut on a late pit stop relegated him to a 13th-place finish.

6. Clint Bowyer (Points Behind Leader: -270): Phoenix International Raceway is the site of Bowyer's first NEXTEL Cup start and first career top-five finish. Last year in this event, Bowyer led 21 laps en route to a fifth-place finish. He finished 22nd and 33rd, respectively, in his other two starts at PIR.

7. Kyle Busch (Points Behind Leader: -280): Since finishing eighth and first, respectively, in his first two starts at Phoenix International Raceway, Busch went on to post an average finish of 37.0 in the two races in 2006. Busch, who won the pole for this event last year, led 63 laps en route to his 2005 victory.

8. Carl Edwards (Points Behind Leader: -299): Edwards will make his sixth NEXTEL Cup start at Phoenix Int'l Raceway, the site of his first pavement race. In 2001, Edwards raced a USAC Silver Crown car in the Copper World Classic. Ever since finishing 37th, after a wreck took him out of contention in his first start, Edwards has posted an average finish of 5.5. His seventh-place finish in 2005, which is Edwards' worst in the last four races, came after battling back from two laps down.

9. Tony Stewart (Points Behind Leader: -322): Stewart has posted an average finish of 6.7 in his last three races at Phoenix International Raceway, which includes a second-place finish in this event last year. Also in the 2006 spring race, Stewart posted his best qualifying effort in 10 starts by starting third. Stewart's one victory at PIR came after leading 150 laps in his first start in 1999. His finishing average, of 10.7, is fifth among active drivers at the 1-mile speedway.

10. Jamie McMurray (Points Behind Leader: -331): McMurray will be shooting for his fourth consecutive top 10 of the 2007 season in Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Last year at PIR, McMurray finished 14th and 40th, respectively, in his first two track starts with Roush-Fenway Racing. Prior to joining Roush, McMurray raced in five races at PIR with Chip Ganassi Racing, posting an average finish of 23.8.

11. Mark Martin (Points Behind Leader: -342): Martin's eight top fives, 14 top 10s and 608 laps led at Phoenix International Raceway ranks No. 1 among all active drivers. Along with his only victory in 1993, Martin has collected six finishes of second or better giving him a solid finishing average of 9.2. Last year in this event, Martin led 111 laps and appeared to be on his way to a strong finish before running out of gas on the last lap. This weekend, Martin will make his first Car of Tomorrow start with Ginn Racing.

12. David Stremme (Points Behind Leader: -357): Fresh off his first career NEXTEL Cup top 10 at Texas, Stremme will look to carry the momentum into Phoenix to try and improve his average finish of 23.5 in two starts. His best finish in four Busch Series starts at Phoenix International Raceway was a third in 2005.

14. Kevin Harvick (Points Behind Leader: -373): Harvick swept the weekend at Phoenix International Raceway last spring to pick up his first Busch and Cup victories at the track. Harvick went on to sweep the season by scoring the NEXTEL Cup win in the November race for his third top 10 in eight starts. Harvick, who also has two Truck victories at PIR, will be back in the same car (COT chassis No. 190) that raced in both COT races this season, finishing a best-fourth at Bristol.

15. Kurt Busch (Points Behind Leader: -377): Last year, Busch finished 24th and eighth, respectively, in his first two starts at Phoenix International Raceway with Penske Racing. Prior to joining Penske, Busch finished in the top 10 in four consecutive events he competed in with Roush Racing at PIR. After a police altercation in the fall of 2005, Busch was taken out of the car by Jack Roush in what was to be his seventh start at PIR. In the 2005 spring race, Busch scored his first win at PIR after leading 219 laps from the second starting position. It was also the fourth consecutive race Busch led at the track, boosting his total to 448.

16. Elliott Sadler (Points Behind Leader: -380): Last fall, Sadler started 16th and finished 17th in his first start at Phoenix International Raceway with Evernham Motorsports. Prior to that event, he made a combined nine starts with Robert Yates Racing and the Woods Brothers. His only top 10 in 10 starts came with the Woods Brothers in 2002. This weekend Sadler will make his first Busch Series start of the season with Evernham.

17. Greg Biffle (Points Behind Leader: -398): Greg Biffle dominated this event last year by leading 151 laps, only to come up short at the end when his Ford completely ran out of fuel two laps from the finish. The misfortune resulted in a 16th-place finish. The 2005 fall race also saw Biffle dominate by leading 189 laps and posting his best finish at PIR in second. He posted his only DNF, and worst finish at PIR in the 2005 spring event after placing 41st. In 2004, Biffle was running in the top 10 until he got caught on a pit cycle that put him on old tires at the end of the race. Biffle does have one pole, two wins and seven top-10 finishes in the Busch Series at PIR.

18. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Points Behind Leader: -399): Prior to his last three finishes at Phoenix International Raceway of 40th, 23rd and ninth, respectively, Dale Earnhardt Jr. scored four consecutive top fives. In that span he won back-to-back races in 2003 and 2004 and led a combined 310 laps. With only nine starts, Junior is one of three active drivers to post multiple victories at the 1-mile speedway. This weekend Earnhardt Jr. will return in the same car (COT chassis No. 051) that finished seventh at Bristol.

19. Martin Truex Jr. (Points Behind Leader: -465): Truex Jr. posted a 17.0 average finish in his first two NEXTEL Cup starts at Phoenix International Raceway. He also has three top 10s in as many starts in the Busch Series at PIR.

20. Ryan Newman (Points Behind Leader: -480): Newman made his first NEXTEL Cup start at Phoenix International Raceway in 2000. He got off to a rough start at PIR posting two DNFs finishing 41st and 40th, respectively, in his first two races. His 14th-place finish in the 2005 spring race ended a streak of back-to-back top-three finishes, including a runner-up in 2004 when he led 59 of his career total 114 laps led at PIR. Newman's 2004 track qualifying lap of 135.854 mph still stands as the qualifying record. Last year's spring race resulted in one of three DNFs for Newman at PIR an accident took him out of contention.

Notables (Outside The Top 20)
* J.J. Yeley will be making his 50th career NEXTEL Cup start at his hometown track.
* Bobby Labonte has finished ninth or better in four of his last five starts at PIR.
* Ricky Rudd has led in five Phoenix races for 387 laps.
* Reed Sorenson posted the fastest lap of 65 cars in the most recent Car of Tomorrow test at Richmond.
* Kasey Kahne has finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in his last two starts at PIR.

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Bet on NASCAR - Waiting for Juan Pablo
By BetUS Staff

Eventually, Juan Pablo Montoya is going to win a NASCAR Nextel Cup race.

It might not be this Saturday, when the circuit heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Subway Fit 500. But that first checkered flag should come soon, and when it does, the Cup “rookie” will be excellent value. Montoya is pegged at +3200 for Saturday’s race.

Being new at something hasn’t stopped Montoya before. He was the CART champion in 1999, his first year driving for what is now known as Champ Car, and won four races in his inaugural Formula 1 season in 2001.

The beat goes on: back on this side of the pond, Montoya won the 24 Hours of Daytona earlier this year in his first attempt, and claimed victory at the Mar. 4 Busch Series event in Mexico City.

Montoya’s maiden voyage in NASCAR has seen its ups and downs. He has two Top-10 results in seven races thus far, the best being fifth place at last month’s Kobalt Tools 500 in Atlanta. Montoya also finished eighth last week in Texas to vault to 13th place in the Cup standings.

He’s been criticized for driving too aggressively, a trait that proved to be his undoing in Formula 1. However, Montoya’s recent incidents with Tony Raines and Tony Stewart are commonplace in NASCAR. Anti-Euro bias? You be the judge.

The Cup circuit’s paint-swapping ways are right up Montoya’s alley. It might be a while, though, before he’s able to convert that aggression into a first-place finish. Chevy is absolutely dominant this year, winning six of seven Cup races and making the competition look silly.

Dodge is a distant third in the manufacturer standings, behind Ford. It isn’t that the folks at Chip Ganassi Racing don’t know what they’re doing. David Stremme finished 10th at Texas to move one spot ahead of Montoya on the points list, making the two teammates the highest ranked of the Dodge contingent. It’s just one of those years for Chevy.

The Car of Tomorrow could change things. Fellow Ganassi teammate Reed Sorenson was the fastest of all 51 drivers testing the COT earlier this month at Richmond, a D-shaped track similar to Phoenix.

Montoya has an opportunity to take that information and put it to good use this Saturday. He should enjoy the close quarters on the one-mile track, although the banks may be a little flat for his liking.

If you’re not ready to crown Montoya just yet, in Futures / props section of the BetUS sportsbook, he’s priced at +1700 for a Top-2 result and +1200 to reach the podium.

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Gordon takes step towards first win at PIR
April 19th, 2007

Phoenix, AZ (Sports Network) - In 16 career starts, Jeff Gordon has never won on the one-mile Phoenix International Raceway, but on Thursday night he took a big step towards breaking the streak by winning the pole for Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500.

Gordon, driving the No.24 DuPont Chevrolet, circled the flat oval in 27.040 seconds (133.136 m.p.h.) for his second pole in three races, third of the season and 59th of his stellar career. The victory ties him for fourth overall with Darrell Waltrip. Richard Petty holds the all-time mark with 126 pole wins.

"Qualifying has been going well for us, but the way practice went I never dreamed we would be on the pole today," said Gordon. "That's a huge accomplishment for this race team, it shows what kind of team we have right now."

Starting alongside Gordon will be the much improved Jamie McMurray (27.154) in the No.26 Roush Fenway Racing Ford. After a horrible first season, McMurray has rebounded in 2007 and sits 10th overall. It is the first time he has been in the top-10 since September 2005. McMurray started the season with two sub-30th finishes but since has posted four top-10s in five starts.

Denny Hamlin (27.156) and Scott Riggs (27.203) will make up row two with Jimmie Johnson starting fifth.

Other drivers of note and their starting positions on the grid: Kurt Busch (6th), Kevin Harvick (8th), Tony Stewart (9th), Kasey Kahne (10th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (15th), Matt Kenseth (17th) and Mark Martin (20th).

This is the eighth race of the season and the third with the "Car of Tomorrow."

The first race with the COT was a rather dull affair at the usually exciting Bristol Motor Speedway. Even Martin, who watched the race on television, wasn't a fan.

"I thought the COT handled poorly enough that the guys actually didn't run over each other because they didn't have good control of their car," Martin said. "It was a cleaner race than what we normally see because the cars were so hard to control, they weren't able to get in there and mix it up."

The series then went to Martinsville where the racing improved and we watched a very exciting stretch run between Johnson and Gordon. Gordon was beating and banging on Johnson's rear bumper over the final 30 laps but couldn't unnerve the defending series champion and finished second.

This race might be the best of the three. The event is scheduled to drop the green flag on Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. (et).

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Michael Waltrip misses another race  big_smile

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Driver Updates - Phoenix
April 21, 2007
By Micah Roberts 

Top 5 Phoenix Cars-o-Today after all practice and qualifying sessions:
1) Jeff Gordon
2) Denny Hamlin
3) Jimmie Johnson
4) Mark Martin
5) Dale Earnhardt Jr

Best long shots to win Phoenix

1) Martin Truex Jr
2) Clint Bowyer
3) Jamie McMurray

Best Cars at beating Chevy this week

1) Greg Biffle
2) Kurt Busch
3) Jamie McMurray
4) Matt Kenseth

Best cars to bet in matchups at plus money

1) Kyle Busch (do not be scared of times)
2) Dale Earnhardt Jr (up against top drivers at plus money)
3) Kevin Harvick (same as Jr)
4) Martin Truex Jr

Of the favorites; who may finish worse?

1) Tony Stewart

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Not to excited about these COT races but still had to make a few bets.

Dale jr 15/1
M Kenseth 12/1

Should be a fun race to watch under the lights tonight.   wink

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Gordon Ties Earnhardt

Jeff Gordon accomplished two goals on Saturday night.

He tied Dale Earnhardt on the all-time NASCAR NEXTEL Cup win list with his 76th career victory while also erasing Phoenix International Raceway from the list of tracks where he's never won.

Gordon started from the pole and battled Tony Stewart down to the wire to win the Subway Fresh Fit 500 Saturday night at PIR.

The dramatic win capped off an exciting night that ended with Gordon celebrating his win with a victory lap while holding a flag with Earnhardt's famous number three.

"It means the world to me, just to get a win at a track that I've never won at before," Gordon said. "I drove my guts out to win this one. Holding that 3 flag, to honor him in that way, means a lot to me. I learned so much from him. We wanted to honor him. We've been holding on to that flag for a very long time."

Gordon now has won at every track on the NEXTEL Cup schedule except Texas Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The turning point in Saturday night's race came on lap 283, when Gordon was on pit road for fuel and tires.

Dave Blaney got hit by Carl Edwards that ignited a three-car crash also included Martin Truex, Jr. Caution waved and pit road was closed, but because Gordon was already in the pits and had the number one stall by virtue of his winning the pole, he was able to finish the stop and not lose a lap.

When the rest of the lead lap cars pitted, Gordon inherited the top spot.

"We had a good pit stall to come out first and to stay with those guys," Gordon said. "It was hard to make the pass. I love racing with Tony. It was a lot of fun out there.

"That's how I wanted my 76th victory to come out."

Stewart and Gordon battled for the lead over the final twenty laps but once Gordon moved around for good, Stewart was forced to settle for second.

After Gordon's crew chief Steve Letarte congratulated him on the win, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was next.

"He said that was a class act and that means the world to me because we wanted to honor his father properly," Gordon said.

Denny Hamlin, who led the race early but was penalized for speeding on pit road and sent to the rear of the field, battled back to finish third.

Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five.

"At the very end we were just too loose and we couldn’t go anywhere," said Kenseth. "So, we didn’t have the car as good as some of those guys. On a long run we were able to run up, probably, in the top four or five times, so I was real proud of the guys for that. And they did a great job on pit road. We never had bad track position all day and that was really the key to us getting a good finish."

Jeff Green, Kyle Busch, Bobby Labonte, Johnny Sauter and Kevin Harvick completed the first 10 finishers.

Gordon extended his lead in the NEXTEL Cup standings to 74 over Jeff Burton with Kenseth, Johnson and Hamlin rounding out the first five.

The NEXTEL Cup Series now heads to Talladega Superspeedway for next Sunday's Aaron's 499.

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Re: Subway Fresh Fit 500 News and Notes

Phoenix: 10 Ten NASCAR Nextel Cup TUMS Moments

The eighth stop of the 2007 season at Phoenix International Raceway once again had the stars of the Nextel Cup Series experiencing several indigestion-causing incidents, from inconvenient cautions to multiple car crashes. Each weekend, PRN lead anchor Doug Rice picks the Top 10 TUMS Moments from that week’s racing activities. For the eighth week of the NEXTEL Cup season, top TUMS honors go to:

10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. has a sure top-10 run go away when he gets caught on pit road by a late race yellow flag.

9. David Ragan had a tough day in the No. 6 Ford, causing several wrecks during the day.

8. The COT had a tough day at Phoenix - as drivers reported handling problems and difficulty passing.

7. David Stremme needed some TUMS to go with his Coors Light car after getting collected in an early race crash.

6. J.J. Yeley continued his string of crashes in a collision with David Ragan.

5. Ryan Newman saw a top-five finish fade away after a pit road incident left his Dodge damaged and kept him on pit road for a number of laps for repairs.

4. Michael Waltrip misses yet another race and the pressure mounts from sponsors anxious to see their investment on the track.

3. Denny Hamlin had some indigestion after having one of the fastest cars, but a pit road speeding penalty kept him from getting to victory lane.

2. Kurt Busch gets caught under caution again, keeping him from a great finish two weeks in a row.

1. Tony Stewart needed some fast relief after leading the most laps of the race then giving up the lead to Jeff Gordon at the end.

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