Burton hopes momentum carries him to the points lead at PIR

from The Crossville Chronicle – Crossville, TN April 20, 2007
by Joe Dunn / joe@onpitroad.net

Not to let anyone get comfortable, the NASCAR Nextel Cup series heads to Phoenix International Raceway this week with the Car of Tomorrow. The weather promises to be better than Texas, so qualifying should go off without a hitch.

Jeff Burton understandable is looking forward to Phoenix after posting the first repeat win at Texas, he is a 2 time winner in the desert, with wins in 2000 and 2001. This is another track that has left points leader Jeff Gordon wanting and winless. Gordon has 7 top 5’s and an average finish of 9th over 16 races. Phoenix is surely looming as the possible site of the lead change.

The predicted good weather gives Michael Waltrip racing another chance at a reprieve as the usually highly visible Michael was nearly invisible at Texas. It was revealed last week that Michael was involved in a late night wreck in his personal car and is scheduled to appear in court next month to face charges of reckless driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Rumors are widespread of Michaels woes with his team and their sponsors. During Sunday’s broadcast, brother Darrell finally addressed the situation. Darrell made a comment that was long overdue, the fact that his little brother had taken on way too much for himself. The suggestion that Michael needs to turn his concentration from driver to owner is obvious to everyone but Michael.

The Busch series joins in the fun at PIR where points leader Carl Edwards has one win and 3 top 5’s out of 4 starts. Kevin Harvick and Matt Kenseth have both done well in the Busch series at PIR so an exciting night race is in the making. The Craftsman Truck series is off again this week.

Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway this week announced the ‘Nextel Prelude to the Dream’ to be held at the Rossburg, OH. track on June 6. Among the entered Nextel Cup drivers will be Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Juan Montoya, Matt Kenseth, Bobby Labonte, Bill Elliott, Kasey Kahne, Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch, Kenny Wallace, Ken Schrader, Dave Blaney, Mark Martin, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, JJ Yeley, Kyle Petty and Denny Hamlin.
Also joining the field will be Ray Evernham, Red Farmer and drag racing standout Ron Capp.

On the local scene last weeks rains caused the cancellation of all the area tracks events. Crossville Raceway is geared up for try number three at the season opener and this time the mother nature is on the side of the racers. With a full card of racing, featuring Super Late Models, Limited Late Models, UMP Open wheel Modifieds, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and front wheel drives slated for Saturday the gates will open at 3:30PM, and racing to start at 5:30PM (cst). Admission for Saturdays race is $12 adults, $10 seniors (over 55), $7 teens, free for 12 and under. Pit terrace admission is $17 per person, with under 12 yrs old free.

Other Action this Saturday will include racing at The Mountain (Marysville), Spring City, Cleveland and Wartburg. The reopening of the former Tennessee Motor Speedway in Baxter as the new Cookeville Speedway was announced last week with a scheduled start date of Friday May 18.

The Advance Auto Parts Thunder Series announced this week that Crossville Raceway will host the series on Saturday April 28th. For the Thunder Series it will mark the first of three special events at one of the nicest facilities on the circuit. The series will also make visits on June 30th for a $5,000 to win event and on September 1st for the $10,000 to win Second Annual Rocky Top 100.

In addition to the $3,000 to win Plateau Spring 50 on Saturday night April 28th, the series will also host the 2006 Sunoco Race Fuels Shootout which is a make-up event from last season. The Shootout will consist of twelve cars running for twelve laps for $1200 to win and will feature the cars and drivers who finished in the top twelve in the Sunoco Quick Six Series final 2006 standings.

The top twelve drivers include (in order of standings): 2006 Sunoco Quick Six Points Champion Ricky Arms, two-time defending Thunder Series Champion Anthony White, 2006 Chassis Challenge Champion Steve Smith, a track favorite and Crossville native Randy Weaver, Mike Weeks, David Payne, Todd Morrow, Rick Rogers, Billy Ogle Jr., 2006 Thunder Series Rookie of the Year Tommy Kerr, Jimmy Owens and Mike Marlar. Should any of these twelve drivers not be able to make the show then alternate drivers will include, Joe Armes, Vic Hill and Stacy Boles. The starting line-up will be determined by a random drawing just before the race begins.

TRIVIA: Last weeks winner was Barbara Harwood of Port Hope, MI. who knew that Geoff Bodine was the winner of the last Cup race at Nashville.

Last weeks answer, the only Nextel Cup winner from the pole at Texas Motor Speedway was Kasey Kahne who pulled it off in the spring race of 2006.

This week the NASCAR Nextel Cup series heads to Phoenix International Raceway. PIR has been dominated by Fords with 12 wins out of 21 races. Chevy is second with 7 wins followed by Pontiac with 2. Dodge is winless at the desert track, and Toyota will make their first appearance there this week. For a chance to win a T-Shirt or race hat, who were the two winning Pontiac Cup drivers at PIR.
Remember send your answers to trivia@onpitroad.net by Thursday. Make sure to include your full shipping address along with a shirt size (m-xxl).