NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series visit Phoenix International Raceway in Arizona this weekend for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 and the Dollar General 200, respectively. Joe Gibbs Racing drivers Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth will be looking to rebound from last weekend’s Daytona 500, which saw only Hamlin finish the race while Busch and Kenseth left with engine problems.
Hamlin, in the No. 11 FedEx Ground Toyota Camry, won last year’s first race at Phoenix and had a runner-up finish in the second race. Hamlin won the pole the first time he came to PIR in 2005, and has an average starting spot of 12.8 and an average finish of 10.3 at the track.
Busch, in the No. 18 M&Ms Toyota, has two poles and 10 top 10 finishes in 16 races at Phoenix, including a win in 2005. He started 12th and finished sixth last spring at PIR, and better that to a pole and a third-place finish in the fall race. He’ll be doing double-duty this weekend at Phoenix, driving the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota for JGR in the Nationwide Series race on Saturday.
Joining Busch on double-duty is Kenseth, in the Reser’s No. 18 Toyota. On the Cup Series side, the driver of the No. 20 Husky Tools Toyota has one win and one pole at Phoenix, with the pole coming in the fall of 2011 following the repave.
Also competing in the Nationwide Series race are Elliott Sadler in the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota and Brian Vickers in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota. Sadler is the defending spring race winner at PIR, while Vickers was runner-up last fall in the Nationwide Series race driving for JGR and Dollar General.
Qualifying for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 takes place Friday, March 1st at 4:10 MT, with the race going green on Sunday, March 3rd at 1 p.m. MT. Qualifying for the Dollar General 200 takes place Saturday at 11:05 a.m. MT and the race takes the green flag at 2:30 p.m. MT.
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