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
Kevin Harvick did something Sunday that no driver had ever done in the 52-year history of Phoenix International Raceway. The 39-year-old from Bakersfield, Calif. scored a victory in his fourth consecutive race in the same professional series at the legendary one-mile oval in the Arizona desert, leading 224 of 312 laps to win the CampingWorld.com 500.
Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano put on a dominating display at Phoenix International Raceway in Saturday’s AXALTA Faster. Tougher. Brighter 200, the fourth race of 2015 in the NASCAR XFINITY series.
Ruben Pardo earned his first NASCAR Mexico Series win at Phoenix International Raceway in the Toyota 120 on Friday. After starting on the pole, Pardo fell as low as 12th but fought back to the front in the late stages.
Pop music sensation Tori Kelly will perform the national anthem prior to the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15, highlighting the pre-race festivities. Kelly’s performance will be included in the live national television broadcast of the race on FOX at 12:30 p.m. local time (3:30 p.m. Eastern).
Phoenix International Raceway is encouraging fans to prepare for race day traffic by arriving early and enjoying the full NASCAR experience during the CampingWorld.com 500 event weekend, March 13-15. In addition to the CampingWorld.com 500 on Sunday, March 15 at 12:30 p.m. PST, the race weekend at PIR will include the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race on Saturday, March 14 at 1 p.m. PST and the Toyota 120 NASCAR Mexico Series race on Friday, March 13 at 7 p.m. PST.