Jimmie in Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
Triple Play: It's Jimmie in the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500
The champagne is on ice, a confetti cannon is ready for launch, and somewhere, an established silversmith is practicing a trade he's come to know all too well since 2006. Jimmie Johnson closed in on his third consecutive Sprint Cup Series championship Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway with a third straight of another kind: a win in the Valley of the Sun. Johnson dominated the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Presented by Pennzoil with a performance that's become familiar to fans in Phoenix. By leading 217 of 313 laps in the No. 48 Chevrolet, Johnson notched his seventh victory of 2008 and became the first driver in PIR's 21-year Sprint Cup Series history to win in three consecutive races on the one-mile oval. Davey Allison, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kevin Harvick have all won two in a row at Phoenix. Though he started on the pole, Johnson surrendered the lead on the race's opening lap to Jamie McMurray, who held the point through Lap 21. Eventual runner-up Kurt Busch controlled the track until Lap 80, holding the lead on both ends of a 23-minute, 37-second red flag for a rare Arizona rain shower. Johnson was the boss for much of the race's remainder, leading for stretches of 20, 102, and the final 95 laps to coast to Gatorade Victory Lane. McMurray, Carl Edwards, and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top five. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Jeff Burton, and David Ragan finished in order to complete the top 10. A mere 36th-place finish at Homestead-Miami next week will give Johnson the championship. Even if second-place Edwards wins and leads the most laps - a 195-point day - Johnson would clinch the title with the 36th-place finish. Johnson can also clinch the Sprint Cup by finishing 37th and leading at least one lap, or by finishing 39th and leading the most laps.
Related PIR News
High speeds, strategic pit stop gambles, unexpected mechanical problems and amazing car control came into play Saturday night in the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix. When the dust settled, it was reigning Verizon IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, driver of the No. 9 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, who scored his first victory at Phoenix International Raceway.
It’s official - Helio Castroneves, driver of the No. 3 Chevy for Team Penske, is the new “Speed King” of Phoenix International Raceway.
Phoenix International Raceway will celebrate its rich history of IndyCar competition by saluting many legendary drivers and team owners Saturday, April 2 before the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, the first Verizon IndyCar Series event at the one-mile desert oval since 2005.
Phoenix International Raceway is encouraging fans to prepare for race day traffic by arriving early and enjoying the full racing experience during the Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix event weekend, April 1-2. In addition to the Verizon IndyCar Series race on Saturday, April 2 at 6:15 p.m. (local), the race weekend at PIR will also include the Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires race on Saturday, April 2 at 1:30 p.m., and practice and qualifying for both races on Friday, April 1.
Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber today announced newly-opened Desert Diamond West Valley as the title sponsor for the Verizon IndyCar Series’ return to the Valley of the Sun this spring. The Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix takes place under the lights Saturday evening, April 2, 2016.