(photo courtesy Leon Hammack)
The difference for NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers and fans Saturday at Phoenix International Raceway will be like day and night. Among the differences for the Subway Fresh Fit 600: an earlier start time, increased race distance, rules, officiating philosophy and even the average width of the grandstand seats- up to 22 inches, reducing total seating capacity from 67,000 to 55,000.
The green flag is scheduled to fall at 4:30 PDT, one hour earlier than in the previous years. Because sunset occurs at approximately 7pm PDT, and keeping with the promotion of being the season’s first evening event, PIR President Bryan Sperber got NASCAR to add 63 laps- for a total of 375 laps.
Phoenix measures its races in kilometers. The new distance is actually 603 kilometers, up from 500 kilometers. This will be the longest NASCAR race held at the Glendale facility since NASCAR started hosting races at that facility in 1988.
The Subway 600 will be only the second race with the new/old spoiler back on the rear deck lid. It will be interesting to see how the car will handle with higher speeds than were observed at Martinsville two weeks ago. Also since NASCAR last visited PIR there will be a news Green-White-Checkered philosophy of 3 attempts at finishing the race under green flag conditions.
All in all, it should be a very exciting race at the Glendale facility this weekend. PIR always provides the tight door-to-door, rubbing, beating, and banging that the traditional NASCAR fan enjoys!
See ya at the races.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!