© Copyright 2011
But first, these notes of interest:
--SPECIAL NOTE…Veterans Day Press Conference Involving Penske Racing Sunday at Phoenix: Penske Racing partner, Pennzoil, is proud to announce the donation of three retro-fitted Dodge vehicles this coming Sunday, November 11th to three paralyzed veterans as part of the brand’s Long Love Cars campaign. The vehicles will be presented at a ceremony on Veteran’s Day prior to Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 race at Phoenix International Raceway in Victory Lane at 10:30 a.m. local time. Roger Penske, Sam Hornish, Brad Keselowski as well as reps from PIR, Pennzoil and the PVA will be a part of the ceremonies.
The three veterans were selected from hundreds and received a vehicle of their choosing, retro-fitted to their specific needs. To participate in the Long Love Cars contest, the entrants shared their car story, such as their favorite memory in a car, why they need the vehicle Pennzoil would build for them, and the first place they will travel to reestablish their love of cars if they won one of the three vehicles from Pennzoil. The Long Love Cars contest ran from April 1st to September 7th and was open to any veteran with disabilities, their caregiver or spouse. Six finalists were selected for the contest and the public voted on the Paralyzed Veterans website to determine the final three winners. More than 10,000 votes were cast in the two week finalist period to select the top three.
--Sam Hornish Jr. and his Todd Gordon-led Penske Racing No. 22 Team will be utilizing the “PRS-822” Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger in this weekend’s AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. This is the chassis that the No. 2 Penske Racing Team raced in the April 22 race at Kansas Speedway where Brad Keselowski started 11th and finished 11th. The “PRS-807” chassis will serve as the backup. It was the No. 22 team’s backup for last month’s Martinsville race and has yet to be raced.
--Sam Hornish Jr. hasn’t raced in Sprint Cup competition at Phoenix International Raceway since the November 2010 race. He is eager to climb behind the wheel of the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge for this weekend’s AdvoCare 500 at PIR. “With the success we’ve had there in the Nationwide Series cars since they changed the track, it’s easy to understand how much we are looking forward to getting back in a Cup car there,” said Hornish. “We’re hoping for a very competitive weekend at PIR in our Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Charger. Phoenix has certainly held a lot of history as far as my career goes. Wouldn’t that be the icing on the cake if we can pull it off and get the Shell-Pennzoil Dodge into Victory Lane there on Sunday afternoon? That would be a dream come true, for sure.”
--Although Sam Hornish Jr. hasn’t competed in the last two Cup races on the “new” Phoenix International Raceway, he certainly has made his mark with his Nationwide opportunities. Hornish started fifth and claimed the victory in the Nov. 12, 2011 Wypall 200 for his first major NASCAR win. Hornish came back in the March Bashas’ Supermarkets 200 to start sixth and finish sixth. Hornish didn’t back into any of that success, proven by the fact that he led 61 laps en rote to the win in 2011. “I think everyone was extremely cautious when the Nationwide Series race began there last year – I know I was,” said Hornish. “I remember we had like an eight-car crash down in Turn 3 on the very first lap. Things started settling in and the groove got wider as the race went on. I’ll always remember getting around the No. 6 car (Ricky Stenhouse) on the outside on the restart with 60 laps to go. I had to hold them off – especially Brad (Keselowski) there at the end after I spun my wheels on that final restart.”
--What were the specifics done to the track between the two race weekends last season? Progressive banking was added to the turns. Turns 1 and 2, which previously had 11 degrees of banking, were changed to 10 degrees on the bottom and 11 on the top. Turns 3 and 4, which previously had nine degrees of banking, were changed to eight degrees on the bottom and nine at the top. The “dogleg” on the backstretch, which was more of a “jut” than a turn was transformed into more of a distinctive turn with the same banking as in Turns 1 and 2. The frontstretch was widened by 10 feet.
--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge driver Sam Hornish Jr. on the “new” Phoenix International Raceway: “When we came back to Phoenix for last November’s race, all we heard about was how treacherous the new surface and configuration was,” Hornish offered. “During the testing they had there in August last year, there definitely was a fine line you had to make in getting around the place. If you got just a minimal bit out of the groove, you paid the price. We remember well because our Penske Racing Cup teams brought home some torn up race cars after that test. So, it was like we all were coming in there expecting the worst-case scenario to unfold there last November. After getting there and logging laps on the track, I developed my own theory as to what had happened. It was a slick new surface that was made even more difficult to negotiate due to an incredibly hard tire and possibly some substance they had used in the process.”
--Sam Hornish Jr. won his first big NASCAR race by 0.553 seconds over Penske Racing teammate Keselowski in last November’s Wypall 200 Nationwide Series battle. It was a fitting location for his monumental victory. After all, it was on the picturesque track located around the Estrella Mountains where Hornish had won his first IndyCar race in 2001. He also made his first career Nationwide start there (in November 2006) and his first Sprint Cup start there (November 2007).
--Sam Hornish Jr. will be competing on both Saturday’s Great Clips 200 Nationwide Series race and Sunday’s AdvoCare 500 Sprint Cup Series race this weekend at PIR. Entering this weekend, he has made 17 overall Phoenix starts in the three series. In six IndyCar races, Hornish won twice and had three podium finishes. In his four Nationwide races, he has the big win and the sixth-place finish as highlights. In seven Cup starts, a ninth-place finish in the spring race of 2009 is his best result.
--Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon is certainly looking forward to this weekend’s AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. “We are really looking forward to this weekend at Phoenix,” said Gordon. “Sam has always liked the tracks where the turns are different and you have to compromise in your setups. It’s a track where you don’t depend so much on the ‘aero aspect’ like you do at the bigger tracks. I understand that the track has continued to use their tire-rotator machine and other methods since we were there in the spring in an effort to get the track even better. I think every time we go there, the racing groove will continue to widen. It will be interesting to see if we get a second groove really going there this weekend. It’s a great track in a splendid location and the fan support there is tremendous.”
--Welcome Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon to Twitter…you can now follow the leader of the No. 22 Penske Racing Sprint Cup team at @ToddBGordon .
--Track history of Phoenix International Raceway (per PIR PR): Construction of Phoenix International Raceway was completed in 1964. The track is built around the Estrella Mountains outside of Avondale, Ariz. Because of the terrain and the incorporation of a road course and drag strip, designers had to build a "dogleg" into the backstretch. The original road course was 2 miles (3.2 km) in length and ran both inside and outside of the main oval track. The hillsides adjacent to the track also offer a unique vantage point to watch races from. "Monument Hill,” located alongside Turns 3 and 4, is a favorite among race fans because of the unique view and lower ticket prices. At the top of this hill lies a USGS bench marker known as Gila and Salt River Meridian, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Long before PIR existed, this spot was the original land survey point for all of what later became the state of Arizona.
--Shell is teaming-up with top automotive enthusiast judges to find the person that best embodies what being the ultimate automotive enthusiast means. From October 23 to December 3, enthusiasts are invited to share why they are the Ultimate Enthusiast at www.shell.us/ultimateenthusiast. One Grand Prize winner and a guest will receive an Ultimate Enthusiast week in Italy where they’ll have the chance to explore the country’s historic sites and rich automotive history, including an exclusive Ferrari experience in the Prancing Horse’s home town of Maranello, Italy. The top three contest finalists will be flown to Scottsdale, Ariz. for a three-day, VIP experience at the 42nd Annual Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction to be held January 13-20, 2013. All finalists will also receive a year’s worth of Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline. Should the Grand Prize winner be unable to redeem the Grand Prize they will be offered $10,000 in Shell V-Power Premium Gasoline.
--Phoenix International Raceway Track Records: (Source PIR PR)
Qualifying Record – 26.258 seconds (137.101 mph) – Matt Kenseth (11/12/11)
Race Record – 2 hours, 45 minutes, 47 seconds (112.918 mph) – Kasey Kahne (11/13/11)
Qualifying Record – 26.224 seconds (137.279 mph) – Carl Edwards (2/26/11)
Race Record – 2 hours, 38 minutes, 28 seconds (118.132 mph) – Tony Stewart (11/7/99)
--2012 Spring Race Numbers:
COORS LIGHT POLE AWARD – Mark Martin, 26.313 seconds (136.815 mph)
Race – Denny Hamlin, 2 hours, 50 minutes, 35 seconds (110.085 mph)
--#PenskePride- Penske Racing is asking fans to show their Penske Pride through a unique social media contest that will last for the balance of the 2012 season. Through the #PenskePride contest, each race weekend fans will have the opportunity to Tweet @PenskeRacing pictures showing their support for the Penske Racing organization, their favorite Penske Racing driver(s) or teams in unique and creative ways, using the hashtag #PenskePride. The best weekly photo will be named Fan Photo of the Week. At the end of each month, a Fan Photo of the Month will be selected from the weekly winners. The best monthly photos will be voted on by @PenskeRacing followers to be named Fan Photo of the Year. The winner of Photo of the Year will receive the Ultimate Penske Racing Fan Experience including tickets and hot passes to the 2013 NASCAR All-Star Race, autographed items and a tour of the Penske Racing facility by a Penske driver.
--Follow Sam Hornish Jr. as well as all the Penske Racing drivers on Facebook and Twitter by simply logging on to www.penskeracing.com and click on the respective links. Sam Hornish’s Twitter handle is @SamHornish.
--Follow Shell-Pennzoil Dodge crew chief Todd Gordon at @ToddBGordon .
--Follow the No. 22 Shell-Pennzoil Dodge Team on Twitter at http://twitter.com/shellracingus (@shellracingus).
--You can also follow Penske Racing President Tim Cindric at http://twitter.com/TimCindric , Penske Racing Marketing Vice President Jonathan Gibson at http://twitter.com/jgibson1974 and team spotter Chris Osborne is active at http://twitter.com/crazyspotter22
--“It's better to be an optimist who is sometimes wrong than a pessimist who is always right.” -Timothy Camponeschi
Hornish Adapted Quickly to "New" Phoenix International Raceway
2012 Shell Pennzoil Team Roster
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