NASCAR under the lights

NASCAR Races under the lights in Phoenix

4/9/10 in NASCAR   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

It seems like forever since the big boys were racing.  Of course, it has been from my point of view, as I've missed the last two races.   Now that the Easter break is done, we get back to racing, this time tonight and tomorrow night, under the lights, at Phoenix International Raceway.

The Nationwide teams will race tonight, and a whole bunch of drivers will be trying to unseat Carl Edwards from the top of the leaderboard, after 5 races.  Ironically, it is Brad Keselowski who is Carl's closest competitor, only 16 points back in the points.  The "Alligator", Justin Allgaier sits in third, followed by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
 Oh, and almost all of them have multiple wins here at Phoenix.

Landon Cassill will get another opportunity to race in the JR Motorsports number 7 car, but he will likely not get the kind of attention Danica did in the same car.  John Wes Townley wrecked his car completely in practice and will go to a backup. 

The Nationwide race runs at 9pm ET on ESPN 2.

The Sprint Cup Series runs Saturday night and as I'm writing this, final practice is underway.  Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Busch have all had spins, but all eyes are on Denny Hamlin.  He underwent surgery right after his victory at Martinsville, to repair a torn ACL, and continues his recuperation.  He was the fastest car in the first practice session, before relinquishing his ride to Casey Mears.  Denny then spent some time icing his knee.  In the second practice, Mark Martin has been fastest, with Denny in second.

What should we expect at Phoenix?  Well, as they practice, the temperature is about 80 with a track temperature of 110.  Of course, it won't be that hot at night, but it will certainly be a lot warmer than the tracks that we've visited so far this season.  Phoenix is a one mile track, with 9 degrees of banking in turns 3 and 4 and 11 degrees in 1 and 2.   The track is apprently very slippery as they practice, and with no rain in sight, there is little chance that is going to change.

Dale Jr was fast in the first practice, not so much in the second, but the Speed crew feel this is his best chance to score a win so far this year. Jr. didn't get the memo about his beard (kidding) and still has his, while Jimmie Johnson has shaved his off.  Unfortunately, the lack of facial hair didn't give JJ any extra speed or grip on the track, leading the experts to predict a solid run, if not a win, by Greg Biffle, who topped the speed charts later in the final practice.

A number of the cars are featuring different paint jobs, including Tony Stewart, racing with a "green" car.  No, the car isn't really green, but the paint scheme is meant to represent support for a greener planet.  Brad Keselowski is racing with an Autism Awareness paint scheme and Matt Kenseth has a new black Crown Royal design.

As I went to post this, news broke that John Wes Townley has been fired by Richard Childress Racing and it will be Clint Bowyer who will drive the number 21 Nationwide Series car in tonight's race, without having even sat in the car.  On to Qualifying for the Nationwide Series.

My pick is going to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.  I just can't help it.  He looks relaxed and confident, but focused on the job at hand.  For the Nationwide race tonight I'm taking Kevin Harvick.

What about you? Who's YOUR driver?
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4/13/10   |   Captain_Chaos   |   287 respect

glad to see Ryan find the winners circle - he has driven and qualified decent all year - been saying for weeks that he was due a win - and its just what he needed to get the ball rolling to improve and make the chase. Great day for stewart Haas racing.

4/11/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

rhracer wrote:
Gordon blew it!! Is he getting too old? He spun his tires. His crew did the job!!

Congrats to Newman he deserves it!!!!

It's not like he's the first driver to ever spin his tires on a late restart, and he won't be the last.

4/11/10   |   rhracer   |   987 respect

(Edited by rhracer)

Gordon blew it!! Is he getting too old? He spun his tires. His crew did the job!!

Congrats to Newman he deserves it!!!!

4/10/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

We just saw history, the first time the #39 has ever won a Cup Series race.

4/10/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

I don't know of ANYONE who will be disappointed by Newman winning this race! WTG Ryan!

4/10/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

NEWMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4/10/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Hello Newman!

4/10/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

 Newman takes the white flag with the lead!

4/10/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Talk about a turn of events, Shrub and Johnson got 4 tires and will restart 8th and 9th.  Gordon will have the lead.

4/10/10   |   LoriDbl18fan   |   138 respect

I wouldn't mind a Kyle win tonight since I missed last night from being at a Royals game.  Everyone keeps saying it was awesome.

4/10/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

wrote:
I would rather see JJ win than JPM or Shrub!  I'm so tired of the BS with Jr's car every race!

 not me, I'd far rather JPM or Shrubby, I am definitely becoming a fan of his abilities - his personality no, but his ability has won me over!!  As far as JPM, I would like to see him get his first Oval win.  He has worked his ass off and I think it's only a matter of time

4/10/10   |   LoriDbl18fan   |   138 respect

Took me forever to find my way around this place again.  What the heck is happening to the Q?

4/10/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Not only is Jr's piece of crap cars getting old, but so is Jimmie Johnson winning everything

4/10/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Kurt Busch lost it and Kasey Kahne's night is done as a result.

4/10/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

Boy that Valvoline paint job brings back a lot of memories.

4/10/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

The front row for tonight is a couple of drivers who have been on their way up.  Junior qualified 5th for this race, and he does know the way to victory lane at this place.  Phoenix is the one flat track where he's always run well.  I'm interested to see how long Hamlin stays in the car.  For as much pain as he's obviously in, I doubt he stays in the #11 past the first pit stop.  It won't be an easy change though, Casey Mears is like my size and Hamlin is about half a foot taller, they'll have some extra adjusting to do when the driver switch happens.

4/10/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

wrote:
Someone tell me again how shrub sucks?   I think not..LOL

That was one of the best races I have seen all year, and I am not a big NWS fan..

WTG Kyle..and a bad azz burn out too

It was.  And I loved his "I paid NASCAR back by winning"

4/9/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Getting ready to go GREEN!!

4/9/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

The dinger stole the pole from Speed and now he has to sit and wait (and chew his nails and pace)

4/9/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Scott Speed is streamlined, shaved his head and grabbed the pole (so far) and Jr is 3rd quickest so far

4/9/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

wrote:
Man, I'd love the inside scoop on Townley..LOL

Taking Junyah also, but Kurt Busch as my dark horse for Sprint.

For the NW, I didnt like the cocky little interview Flipper just gave, so I am rooting for Shrub, with LOgano as my dark horse.

Debi, I will be back with respect at midnight. God ( or Sr, depending on who ya are) bless you for keeping this going

did you see his wreck? That car was a MESS, front end AND back end shortened up. 

But Jr is on TV now  and getting set to qualify

4/9/10   |   Lizzo   |   324 respect

(Edited by Lizzo)

Great read as usual, Deb! But there you go picking with your heart instead of your head.......Not that I don't want Jr to win, cause I would LOVE IT! but I am skeptical. And why does this site limit the number of respects I can give a person in one day?

4/9/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

wrote:
And hopefully, that provided the jinx we are all hoping for

4/9/10   |   Debi_L   |   11868 respect

Scott wrote:
In the last 5 years, Jimmie Johnson has never finished outside the top ten in Phoenix with 4 wins, 7 top 5's and an average finish of 2.6.  I predict a strong showing by Hendrick in general with Johnson taking home another win in 2010

 Nooooooooooooooooooo No more Johnson, PLEASE!!!!

Jr has two wins, Harvick has two wins, Burton has two wins, NO MORE JOHNSON!!!!!

4/9/10   |   JenX63   |   32904 respect

I'm with you Deb, tonight I am going with Happy...tomorrows race a little harder to predict, but I got to go with my man Tony...great article...i am learning to navigate this new site thanks to Jess's links in the forum...

4/9/10   |   Scott   |   54169 respect

In the last 5 years, Jimmie Johnson has never finished outside the top ten in Phoenix with 4 wins, 7 top 5's and an average finish of 2.6.  I predict a strong showing by Hendrick in general with Johnson taking home another win in 2010