When NASCAR Goes West, Spring Break Comes to Phoenix International Raceway Don’t Miss the Camping World 500 Race Weekend, March 11-13* Buy Phoenix Spring 2016 Race Tickets. It’s never too early to plan your Spring Break getaway, especially when it’s NASCAR style! Tickets to the Camping World 500 Race Weekend at Phoenix International Raceway are on sale now. You can make your 2016 Spring Break one to remember with tickets to NASCAR’s first short-track race of the season. Make the most out of your race weekend by applying the track’s insider tips. 1/ Purchase Early, Save BIG By ordering your tickets to the Camping World 500, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race now, you can choose from PIR’s best selection of seats and take advantage of value period pricing. Make sure to reserve your seats before regular pricing begins on January 1, 2016. 2/ Make a Weekend Out of It Expand your race weekend experience by adding tickets to the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 , NASCAR XFINITY Series Race, on Saturday, March 12, and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying on Friday, March 11. 3/ Make PIR Your Family Vacation Destination Get inspired by Clark Griswold and take your family on the vacation of a lifetime. Stop by the Grand Canyon on your way, take in some Cactus League Spring Training games in the Phoenix Valley and become an official member of ZOOMTOWN, U.S.A.® Phoenix International Raceway for the week and park the family RV in one of our GEICO Gecko Flats Reserved RV Spaces. Take back your Spring Break. Reserve your seats now . *2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Schedule has not officially been announced or confirmed. Dates are tentative and subject to change.
Ray Alfalla from Slipangle Motorsports held off a late charge from Gale Force Racing 's Nick Ottinger at Phoenix International Raceway en route to his second victory in the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series Powered by iRacing. Ottinger had to settle for second, less than one tenth of a second behind and a single position short in his quest for a third straight win. Polesitter Casey Tucker ( Last Row Motorsports ) finished third, followed by series championship leader Kenny Humpe ( The TEAM ) and PJ Stergios. Alfalla, who led a race-high 86 of 156 laps, took advantage of some timely cautions and a solid pit strategy and found the winner's circle for the first time since the season opener at Daytona. Ottinger appeared to have a slightly better car than anyone else on the long run but a decision to short-pit cost him when a caution flew for a wreck before the rest of the front runners made their stops. The untimely yellow trapped Ottinger back in traffic with just 45 laps to go which, later, lead him to remark that his second place finish "felt like a win." The night got underway with Humpe taking the lead on Lap Three and quickly opening a one second margin over the field. Humpe held the lead until the first yellow flew on Lap 29 and the field pitted for fresh tires and fuel. Humpe's crew was sluggish, losing him three positions in the pits and handing the lead back to Tucker. On the restart Ottinger jumped to the lead but, after a flurry of cautions, Alfalla went to the point as he raced hard for the clean air out front. After a few laps it was Ottinger who prevailed and the race settled into the longest green flag run of the night. With nobody able to make it on fuel to the end, Ottinger decided to play some pit strategy and short-pitted as soon as his fuel window opened. The move was risky as it put him a lap down but if the pit stop cycle completed he would own a massive lead thanks to his fresh tires. Unfortunately for Ottinger, a crash on the frontstretch on Lap 104 trapped him a lap down as Alfalla and a handful of other cars had yet to make their stops. Ottinger would get back on the lead lap by taking the wave around but now had older tires than Alfalla and the rest of the frontrunners. Ottinger received some help by way of another caution just 11 laps after taking the wave around which allowed him to pit for tires. When the race restarted with 31 laps remaining Ottinger was in fifteenth but now had fresher tires than the leaders and began charging back to the front. In just seven laps Ottinger was already up to eighth and yet another caution bunched the field up, playing right into his favor. As so often happens at short tracks, cautions breed cautions and the frequent yellows at the end of the race enabled Ottinger to maximize the benefit of his fresh tires. After going from fifteenth to eighth, he picked up two more spots on the next restart and three additional places on the next before the ninth and final yellow flag of the night flew, setting-up a five lap shootout for the win. Alfalla still led, Tucker was second, and Ottinger was behind the front row in third as the race went green. Ottinger made quick work of Tucker and started reeling-in Alfalla. By the time the white flag flew Alfalla had a mirror full of the 05 car but would not be denied as he calmly negotiated Turns Three and Four a final time to take the checkered flag with Ottinger right on his bumper. The win allowed Alfalla to slightly close on Humpe in the championship standings but Humpe still enjoys a massive 109-point advantage. Alfalla also distanced himself from Stergios, who is now 39 points adrift in third. Bryan Blackford and Matt Bussa are tied for fifth, 23 points behind Stergios and three points in front of Chris Overland who fell in the standings due to last night's disappointing 30th place finish. With just three races remaining in the 2015 NASCAR PEAK Antifreeze Series the series shifts to Darlington Raceway , one of the toughest tracks on the circuit. Humpe will have a chance to officially clinch the championship if he can leave "The Lady in Black" with a 97 point lead, leaving Alfalla with some work to do if he hopes to keep the pressure on an additional week. Darlington generally favors the veteran sim racers so it would be no surprise to see Alfalla, Ottinger, and Humpe battling for the win once again. Can anyone else break up the dominant threesome? Tune into iRacingLive in two weeks' time to find out!
At least 10 teams expected at track Wednesday RELATED: Buy tickets for Darlington At least 10 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams are expected to participate in a one-day open team test Wednesday at Darlington Raceway . The historic 1.366-mile track, the first paved speedway to feature NASCAR competition, will host the Bojangles' Southern 500 Sprint Cup Series race Sunday, Sept. 6. Drivers scheduled to take part in this week's test are: Aric Almirola ( Richard Petty Motorsports ), Greg Biffle ( Roush Fenway Racing ), Clint Bowyer ( Michael Waltrip Racing ), Kurt Busch ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Kyle Busch ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Jimmie Johnson ( Hendrick Motorsports ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ), Jamie McMurray ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates), Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) and Martin Truex Jr . ( Furniture Row Racing ). The test is scheduled to run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET. ( UPDATE: End time pushed up to 4:45 p.m. ET because of expected showers.) Biffle, Bowyer, McMurray and Newman will also be on hand Tuesday for a single-day Goodyear tire test. "This is a great, free opportunity for fans to watch NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams race around our famed oval for the first time in nearly 14 months," track president Chip Wile said. "This will be the only time the teams and drivers will be able to see Darlington before the series returns on Labor Day weekend." The Sprint Cup Series hasn't visited Darlington since April of 2014. An offseason schedule change moved the event back to the holiday weekend, a spot it held on the schedule for more than 50 years. The open test will be the seventh of the season. Future single-day tests are scheduled for Richmond International Raceway , Chicagoland Speedway , Bristol Motor Speedway , Homestead-Miami Speedway , Kansas Speedway , Phoenix International Raceway and Auto Club Speedway . Nearly all of the tests follow one- or two-day Goodyear tire tests at the individual tracks. The Richmond team test, scheduled for June 17, is a recent addition. Meanwhile, a two-day Goodyear tire test at Bristol was changed to a single-day open team test (July 30). NASCAR banned private team testing for 2015, developing the National Series Master Unified Test Schedule instead to provide teams an opportunity to work with this season's new rules package. Only one team from each Sprint Cup organization is allowed to participate in the open team tests. The four teams taking part in the Goodyear portion are the only ones from their organizations allowed to participate in the open test, if they choose. "With the Bojangles' Southern 500 being the second-to-last race before the Chase cutoff, I'm sure the teams will be looking for a little something extra to get to … Victory Lane and potentially secure a Chase berth before times runs out," Wile said. Two sections of the Colvin Grandstands, located on the backstretch, will be open to fans. Kevin Harvick , 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion, is the defending winner of the Bojangles' Southern 500 . In addition to the Sprint Cup race, Darlington Raceway will also host the VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race Saturday, Sept. 5. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
In announcing its race dates, Chicagoland Speedway also revealed it was again the opening race in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . Texas officials said the Nov. 6 race again fell in the Eliminator Round of the postseason, a three-race stretch that again included Martinsville and Phoenix , according to the track. Pocono Raceway officials said upon its schedule release that the NASCAR XFINITY Series would host a race June 4 at the Tricky Triangle. It would be the first XFINITY Series race ever at the venue.
Take a virtual lap around the Phoenix International Raceway with Jimmie Johnson.
RELATED: Full race results from Kentucky SPARTA, Ky. -- Making his first career NASCAR XFINITY Series start, Matt Tifft put together quite the debut outing in the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 at Kentucky Speedway last Saturday night. Tifft scored a 10th-place finish, piloting a car that has been driven this year by several drivers, including NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars and Chase contenders Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth as well as Erik Jones . "We'd like to finish a little bit better, but awesome run all the way around," Tifft told NASCAR.com on pit road after the race. "Made some real good changes throughout the race and Wheels (crew chief Mike Wheeler) did a good job getting us up to where we needed to be with some strategy and some tire calls there. Big learning experience and it was cool." Tifft started the race 16th and made some steady gains throughout the night as he cracked the top 10 on Lap 150. A two-tire call by Wheeler during a pit stop under caution on Lap 169 had Tifft leave pit road running in third. He was in second place on Lap 180, but had some problems on a few late-race restarts. On the Lap 188 restart, Tifft didn't get a good jump and as a result, jammed up the bottom line but was able to hang on and run in third place. On the Lap 193 restart, the second-to-last restart of the race, he got loose and dropped back a bit, just outside the top 10. The second-to-last restart was especially costly in terms of positioning. "We got down into Turn 1 and I had one car in the left rear and one car in the right rear and as soon as we got down in, just whoever was in the left rear just got me loose enough that when the cars came around the outside lane, it was just enough to take the air off the spoiler. Hated that we couldn't keep up there." Huge thanks again to @JoeGibbsRacing for giving me such a huge opportunity, very grateful to have a chance to run with a car like that #fast — Matt Tifft (@Matt_Tifft) September 27, 2015 For a JGR program that has the young talents of Jones and Daniel Suarez in the pipeline, Tifft's performance served notice that he shouldn't be forgotten as one to watch going forward. One unique aspect of Tifft's start was that his No. 20 Toyota has UNC-Charlotte as the primary sponsor. The 19-year-old attends the school as a business management major. Now, Tifft turns his attention towards his next NASCAR event, which will come this weekend in the Camping World Truck Series in the Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (Oct. 3, FS1, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Tifft will pilot the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the race. "I haven't been there before. It will definitely be good to go there with some positive momentum and do well there, too." Tifft has made nine starts in the Truck Series this season with four top 10s. His best finishes on the season have been eighth-place showings at Charlotte Motor Speedway (in May) and Pocono Raceway (in August). Tifft is also slated to compete in Truck Series events at Talladega Superspeedway and Phoenix International Raceway later this year.
RELATED: Chase-clinching scenarios " Weather updates If there's any consolation for Kevin Harvick to be sitting just one rung up from the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup basement, it's that he's been there before and still managed to extricate himself -- all the way to his first premier-series title last year. The defending champion's task is no less difficult this year, but it's an almost all-or-nothing scenario, a circumstance where Harvick seems to thrive. "Obviously, for me personally, I like these types of situations," Harvick said in a Thursday morning teleconference as he made media rounds in New York. "I think they're different and fun and it's all in the approach and how you react to them. So I think as a team, we'll do everything in our … from a preparation standpoint the same. But I think if you can get the result and get that sensation of winning and all the things that come with the type of situation that we're in, it's even more fun." That situation comes to a head this weekend at Dover International Speedway , site of Sunday's weekend's AAA 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra, MRN, SiriusXM). Harvick enters the elimination event -- the finale to the Chase's opening three-race Challenger Round -- staring down a 23-point deficit from the 12th-place cutoff point for advancement. Barring mathematical dives from a significant number of the remaining 15 drivers in the Chase field, a victory Sunday and the accompanying automatic berth seem to be Harvick's best route to the next round. Harvick staved off elimination in 2014, rising from last place among the eight title-eligible drivers remaining by winning the penultimate race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway to keep his title march rolling. Though he has recent history to rely on, his sense of perspective in dealing with pressurized situations goes back much further, all the way to his debut in NASCAR's major leagues. "I think as you look at the things that we have been through as a team over the past couple years, we have been in a lot of pretty intense situations, but for me personally, I think that these things are kind of a, they're kind of a walk in the park compared to the Earnhardt situations of taking over his car and having to deal with that and all the things that we dealt with back in 2001," Harvick said in a nod to his inheritance of Dale Earnhardt's ride after his death in a crash at Daytona International Speedway . "It kind of makes these scenarios a little bit easier to deal with because you've dealt with things that are on a much bigger scale than the current things of just performing on the race track." As for the here and now, Harvick finds himself in his precarious plight after successive weeks of trouble. A tire rub after midrace contact led to his subsequent crash, saddling him with a 42nd-place finish in the Chicagoland opener. That tumble in the standings was exacerbated by a fuel gamble gone wrong last weekend in New Hampshire, leaving him with a 21st-place result after leading 216 of the 300 laps. Harvick said Thursday that he didn't see either of those situations as risks, nor has he played the blame game with crew chief Rodney Childers or any of his Stewart-Haas Racing team. For now, the focus remains on performance at Dover. "It's a really, really tight knit bunch of guys and we're all going to support each other, because we're all going to make mistakes in different situations and I don't think we have necessarily made a mistake, but I think we have definitely had to react to some situations throughout the last couple years and I think it's made us stronger as we move forward and better from on a weekly basis as a team," Harvick said. "So, it's just part of what we do, and I think when you look at the performance of the race cars on the racetrack is really, it's absolutely unbelievable. "I mean, I'm just lucky to drive the cars and to let certain situations affect something like that would be absolutely crazy on any of our parts."
Phoenix International Raceway to be called Jeff Gordon Raceway for one day BUY: Phoenix tickets Phoenix International Raceway will be called Jeff Gordon Raceway for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Nov. 15, a track representative announced Friday. The race is No. 35 of 36 in the 2015 season and also Gordon's penultimate race as a full-time driver. Gordon has two wins and 23 top 10s in 33 career Cup starts at Phoenix . It was also the site of one of the most controversial moments of his distinguished career in 2012 when he wrecked championship contender Clint Bowyer in the closing laps. Since he announced his intention to step down from full-time competition (although he still hasn't used the word "retire") in January, tracks have honored Gordon in a variety of ways. Las Vegas Motor Speedway gave him a customized blackjack table and changed the speed limit around its facility to 24 mph; Atlanta Motor Speedway offered a red No. 24 Bandolero car, with the names of Gordon's two children, Ella Sofia and Leo, over each door; and Bristol Motor Speedway had Ella Sofia and Leo give the command prior to its April race. This story will be updated.
Additional tire tests are currently on the books for Homestead-Miami Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway , according to Goodyear officials. Both tests are scheduled to take place after the completion of the 2015 season. The Homestead test is on tap for Dec. 14-15 and the Las Vegas test is slated for Jan. 12-13, 2016. Two final previously scheduled '15 tests will see Goodyear and teams travel to Phoenix International Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway next month. The AMS test replaces a test originally scheduled for Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Whether an open team test will be included at Atlanta has yet to be determined. A single-day test has followed most of the Goodyear tire tests conducted this season. Because next season's Atlanta race likely would once again be held early in the season, there is a limited the window of opportunity for potential testing at the 1.5-mile track. NASCAR officials have yet to announce the 2016 race schedule for the Sprint Cup , XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series. "Atlanta is a recent addition," Stu Grant, Goodyear's General Manager for Global Race Tires, told NASCAR.com this past weekend at Chicagoland Speedway . "We’ve talked to NASCAR about 'hey do you want to make an open test for that? It's most likely that we'll end up with a different tire for the Atlanta race for 2016. … We want to test the 2016 rules package and you guys may want to have an open test.'" Grant said to his knowledge, an open team test following the Atlanta tire test had not been confirmed. Teams participating in the Goodyear tire tests at Homestead and Las Vegas have not been announced. Because Goodyear tested with the low downforce configuration being considered for 2016 at Darlington (South Carolina) Raceway , and teams raced with a similar package there earlier this month, Grant said it would be unlikely that Goodyear would return to Darlington for testing next year. "But we always have to leave that open just to kind of see how things evolve," he said. “Because the reality is in this sport you have a rules package and the car configuration and a tire setup, right? You run it and it may look good at the first event of the season; by the time you get to the second event, the cars may be a half a second faster. Things change. So I guess I'd say we’ll have to see how '16 plays out and see if there is a significant change in how the teams are approaching the car setups and things like that." NASCAR has also yet to announce its 2016 rules package, but is scheduled to meet with teams and others within the industry this weekend at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . Under this year's National Series Unified Testing policy, teams are no longer allowed to conduct private tests. The bulk of the on-track testing has come during scheduled Goodyear evaluations as well as open team tests held the following day. Because of a new rules package in use for '15, and the additional work toward development of the '16 package, Goodyear conducted more tests than normal this year, but Grant said he expects the company's '16 testing program to be more line with previous seasons. "So you can probably figure that Goodyear is probably going to test about 10 times in 2016 and if NASCAR has the same policy in 2016 then that's what (teams are) looking at," he said. “But I don't know if things are going to change … or not. We don't know what the race schedule is so consequently we haven’t really laid out a test program. I'm not sure where NASCAR is going to land on that open testing side." Overall, Grant said, the move to a lower downforce package has provided Goodyear a broader range of possibilities from which to work. "It's nice to design a tire for the low downforce package because when you take the aero off and the driver and the car is relying more on the tire for grip in the corner, it makes the tire more a part of the package," he said. "We're not just designing for wear and heat and durability to handle the load … it gives us a lot more freedom, a lot bigger window to design a tire in." Live Viewing of Final Inspection at NASCAR R&D Fans can now watch teams as their cars go through final post-race inspection at NASCAR’s Research and Development Center each Tuesday, thanks to live streaming of the process each week on NASCAR.com. First- and second-place finishers from the previous weekend's Sprint Cup Series race, as well as a random selection, are taken back to the center each week for a more detailed inspection. To watch the process, which begins promptly at 8 a.m. ET, fans can go to http://www.nascar.com/inspection.html.
RELATED: Cup drivers in the Truck Series " Timeline of the Truck Series Born to modest beginnings in the American Southwest, NASCAR's launching pad, otherwise known as the Camping World Truck Series, will celebrate a major milestone on Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway . There, shortly after 1 p.m. ET (on FS1), the green flag will signal the start of the 500th race in a series that has provided indispensable impetus to the careers of some of NASCAR's top stars. Carl Edwards , for one, recognizes the debt he owes to the series and to longtime owners such as Mike Mittler, who gave Edwards his start in trucks. "The Truck Series means a lot to me, and it means a lot to my career, for the fact that Mike Mittler has owned a truck since the beginning of the Truck Series," Edwards said. "If it weren't for that opportunity from Mike Mittler, and Jack Roush hiring me to drive his trucks, I would not be here today. "So I'm really grateful for the Truck Series, and I had a lot of fun driving those trucks." Edwards won the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title in the Truck Series in 2003 before graduating to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Greg Biffle , Kurt Busch , Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney are other former Truck Series Rookie of the Year winners currently racing at NASCAR's highest level. The Truck Series has changed markedly since its debut on the national stage in 1995 at Phoenix International Raceway , where Mike Skinner, already 38 years old at the time, won the Skoal Bandit Copper World Classic by .09 seconds over Terry Labonte . In its formative years, the Truck Series was a repository for veteran drivers. Skinner won the first series championship. Ron Hornaday Jr ., perhaps the most identifiable name in series history, claimed the title in 1996, the first of his record four championships. Veterans Hornaday and Jack Sprague were kings of the series from 1996 through 1999 before Biffle won the title in 2000 to advance another rung up the ladder that would take him to the Cup series in short order. The periodic appearances of Kyle Busch notwithstanding, it's fair to say that older, more experienced drivers dominated the Truck Series until 2011. Hornaday won his third championship in 2007 and his fourth in 2009, amassing a series-record 51 victories along the way. Todd Bodine won the second of his two titles in 2010, at age 46, before Dillon and James Buescher notched back-to-back championships in 2011 and 2012 at ages 21 and 22, respectively. Dillon and Buescher are emblematic of the changing face of the Truck Series, which now features more teenagers and 20-somethings than drivers in their 30s and 40s. For one thing, team owners like Kyle Busch , Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr ., have embraced the Truck Series as an affordable way to give back to the sport by launching the careers of young drivers. Erik Jones , 19, who drives for Kyle Busch Motorsports, is the current series leader. Tyler Reddick , also 19 and a Brad Keselowski Racing protégé, is second. "I think the Truck Series is a great division," Busch said. "It's certainly a lot of fun. I enjoy it. It's a level at which I can be competitive owning a race team. ... "This level ... I feel it gives us a great chance to bring up the (young) talent to the upper level of NASCAR racing." Owning his own team also gives Busch a chance to compete in the occasional race. With 44 victories in the series, he is second only to Hornaday, and he'll have a chance to move one win closer this weekend at New Hampshire. "Having its 500th race and being in that race is going to be special for me," Busch said. Keselowski is part of the Truck Series' present and future, but his love for the trucks is rooted in the past. His father, Bob Keselowski, raced in the series debut at Phoenix . Bob Keselowski took his only checkered flag in the series in 1997, and he and Brad remain the only father/son combination to win races in the trucks. "The Truck Series for me has been a huge part of my career and a huge part of my family from the get-go," Keselowski said. "My dad ran in the first-ever truck race at Phoenix , and I still remember that day. "I still remember watching that race, and I remember how big a deal the Truck Series was when it started and how big a deal it is now to young drivers and the future of our sport." Two-time defending Truck Series champion Matt Crafton once would have been typical of the series. Now, at 39, he's a throwback to an earlier era. But Crafton is content to race for wins and titles in the Truck Series, as opposed to driving less competitive equipment at a higher level. "If I stay here for the rest of my driving career, I'll definitely be happy with that," Crafton said. "I know each and every week I can go win races. I have no desire to go somewhere where I'm going to run 15th to 25th and be happy with that." A nine-time winner in the Truck Series, Crafton is seeking his first New Hampshire victory this weekend, as he tries to stave off the growing youth movement in the Camping World Truck Series for yet another season.