Martin Truex Jr. On Pole for Sunday
Busch completes front row to give Nos. 1 and 2 cars 1-2 start
From Sporting News Wire Service Martin Truex Jr. stormed from mid-pack to the pole in Friday's qualifying session for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The 26th driver to attempt a two-lap run at the one-mile track, Truex knocked NASCAR Sprint Cup points leader Jimmie Johnson from the provisional pole for Sunday's race with a lap at 135.120 mph. Kurt Busch, who went out 33rd, claimed the second spot at 134.579 mph, with Johnson (134.454 mph) holding the third starting position. Unlike most other drivers who were faster on the second of two laps, Truex grabbed the top spot by turning his first lap in 26.643 seconds. And in doing so, he knocked nearly a half-second off his practice time after air-pressure adjustments gave him a big boost in speed. "I felt good about the car in the two runs we made in practice, but after we made the first run, it was OK, and we adjusted on it and went the wrong way," said Truex, who won his third pole of the season and the fourth of his Cup career. "We knew we could go faster. This is a place that normally you pick up in qualifying from what you do in practice, so I felt good going in. "We were 20th in practice, but it was like a tenth (of a second) from first to where we were at, so it doesn't take a whole lot. We just made the right adjustments, and the lap felt great. I think we qualified second here (before), and it was the same way (that) time (2007) - I think our first lap was quicker - and I'm not sure why that is with us." Kasey Kahne (134.293 mph) qualified fourth, and Denny Hamlin was fifth at 134.228 mph. Mark Martin, who trails Johnson by 73 points with two races left in the Chase for NASCAR the Sprint Cup, will start 10th. Jeff Gordon, third in points and 112 behind Johnson, earned the 14th starting position. Johnson qualified 12th for last Sunday's race at Texas Motor Spedway and was wiped out in a crash on Lap 3. Johnson said he hopes starting closer to the front at Phoenix will help keep him out of harm's way. Regan Smith, Kevin Conway and Brandon Ash failed to qualify for the 43-car field. Conway was attempting to make his Cup debut at Phoenix. Tickets to witness the championship atmosphere of the November NASCAR event weekend at Phoenix International Raceway - with prices as low as $25 for the Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 - can be purchased online at the newly-designed PhoenixRaceway.com or by calling 1-866-408-RACE (7223). The PIR Ticket Office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 125 S. Avondale Blvd., just south of I-10 at Exit 131 in Avondale.
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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.