Where: Phoenix International Raceway. Avondale, Ariz.
Track type: 1-mile paved oval.
Race distance: 312 laps or 500 kilometers.
Weather: High of 81 degrees with a zero chance of rain.
TV: Fox, 3 p.m. Sunday
Radio: Motor Racing Network.
Three things to watch
The tire specifications came out of testing at Phoenix in October. Teams aren't quick to use up their testing options on Phoenix, so even the big multi-car operations have limited data on the layout. The hope is these new tires will grip well enough that drivers feel emboldened to do some passing Sunday after Daytona's parade line.
Patrick replied that she's more mature now, so there isn't the same euphoria (translation: No more "I've already made it." this time around). It was prophetic, in that Patrick will start 40th among 43 entrants in Phoenix.
Sounds like she's better equipped these days to roll with the ups-and-downs.
I don't pretend to understand the nuances of racing, but you can tell in any sport when one guy is just a little smarter and more driven. Jimmie Johnson's decision to drive in Saturday's Nationwide race, just because he feels he hasn't turned enough laps on Phoenix's layout recently, strikes me as the mark of a champion.