Subway Fresh Fit 500
Phoenix International Raceway
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Keys For Success
KEYS FOR SUCCESS: Subway Fresh Fit 500
AVONDALE, Ariz. (Saturday, March 3, 2012) – Each race weekend, selected SRT Motorsports Engineers, Penske Racing engineers and crew chiefs, drivers or engine specialists give their insight on the ‘Keys for Success’ for the upcoming race. This week, Howard Comstock, SRT Motorsports Engineering – provides the keys for Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.
Track: Phoenix International Raceway (Race 2 of 36 in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series)
Race: Subway Fresh Fit 500 (312 laps / 312.0 miles)
Trivia Question: Dodge drivers have won four poles at Phoenix International Raceway since returning the NASCAR’s premier series in 2001. Who won the first pole? (Answer Below)
HOWARD COMSTOCK (SRT Motorsports Engineering)
No Forgiveness Means a Tentative Start: “I think that the teams thought that the track would be a little more forgiving now that we’ve had one race on it, but as we saw yesterday, it jumped up and five cars were a total loss. Everything was fine during race practice where teams were not trying to push the limit, but when they switched over to their qualifying set ups and tried to push it, we saw that the track won’t take it. It will make for a tentative early part of the race. I think teams are going to understand that you can’t push the track. At some point during the race, maybe the surface will develop well enough where you can. Until that time, I think you’re going to see a tentative start to the race.”
Track Position: “I think track position will always be a key at Phoenix, but it may be for a different reason this year. It’s always been hard to pass here, but when teams feel that they can’t challenge the track, then it’s not just hard to pass, but it’s not wise to pass. And there’s a sense that you may end up with a follow the leader early part of the race, but drivers are drivers and they’ll only do that for so long. There could be a lot of trouble toward the end of this race.”
Fuel Mileage at Phoenix? “Always. Whenever you’ve got a track-position race, guys will do everything they can to stretch out the amount of time they spend on the track. It’s a new year, it’s fuel injection. We don’t have a book on fuel economy during a race at this track. The teams are dealing with a lot of things this week: fuel injection, no book on fuel economy, a very thin book on setup, and a track that seems to be quirky.”
The Three-Four Combination: “It seemed like a lot of trouble happened between Turns 3 and 4. Turn 1 still looks like Turn 1 always did here at Phoenix, even though there’s more banking. Teams have more room on the backstretch because the dogleg has been pushed out. I don’t think you’ll see a lot of guys trying to cut across the infield like we saw last fall, that didn’t seem to have a positive result. But Turns 3 and 4 look to me like it’s confounded the teams a little bit. I think that’s because the dogleg has been pushed out and teams can carry so much more speed off Turn 2. They carry that speed down the backstretch and into Turn 3. That’s where I think the problem starts, even though it may not manifest itself until several hundred feet later. I think the problem starts with the increased corner entry speed in three.”
Trivia Question Answer: Casey Atwood in 2001 with a qualifying speed of 131.296 mph.