BLOG: Ashley Van Dyke on NASCAR Action @ Phoenix International Raceway

It's been a while, but our USA correspondent, Ashley Van Dyke, is back in the saddle – with a a nice NASCAR feature for us lucky folk from Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale. 
She says...

Hi Roadies! 
Top NASCAR Sprint Cup driver, Jeff Burton and the throbbing No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet SS from the Richard Childress Racing stable have just returned to Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, AZ for the second scintillating stop of the year. This stunning southwest desert race track nestled in the desert sun next to the stunning Estrella Mountains is always a pleasure to attend – but especially for the roar of NASCAR!
This will be Jeff Burton’s 28th start at Phoenix International Raceway and he's had a hell of a career here –  sporting two wins in 2000 and 2001, seven top-five finishes, and 14 top-ten finishes. Plus, he's led a total of 222 laps at the one-mile facility. More importantly, this event marks a milestone in Burton’s career making it his 1,000th career NASCAR start. Congratulations Jeff!
"Phoenix International Raceway is a really fun race track, I enjoy going there. We had a top-10 finish in March and I fully expect to go there and contend for the win again," said Jeff. 
"It's definitely another track that is in a transition phase. As the fresh asphalt from the recent repave goes through some of those hot, Phoenix summers, the grip level is starting to fade. That's a good thing though because the tire that Goodyear was taking there made it so difficult to get going on restarts. Now you can take right off and go fast. I think it will be a better race because the restarts will be more aggressive."
On Friday, Burton qualified in 15th position with a best time of 26.153 and best speed hitting 137.652 mph average in his two qualification laps. NASCAR is a fast sport folks! His practice times were timed consecutively at 26.354, 26.703, and 26.964 over the course of the weekend. 
The NASCAR Sprint Cup race got started Sunday afternoon where the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet crossed the finish line in 17th position, after a typically rough, tough race.
No. 99 Ford driver Carl Edwards was leading at the White Flag but ran short of gas on the last lap and No. 29 Chevrolet driven by Kevin Harvick took the easy pass over Edwards for the win and scored the 200th victory for the Richard Childress Racing organization.
Five drivers have amassed at least 1,000 career NASCAR national series starts in their careers: Richard Petty (1,185), Mark Martin (1,141), Joe Nemechek (1,073), Michael Waltrip (1,062) and Terry Labonte (1,013), and now Burton with 1,000.
Another great NASCAR race over at Phoenix International. Always a buzz. See you soon for more USA reports Roadies. 
Ashley x

Main photo credit:
Photo by and caption: Burton making the pass on Danica Patrick at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Advocare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.


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