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Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway Notes

Some notes of (possible) interest on this weekend's race at the Diamond in the Desert:

  • This is the 30th NASCAR Sprint Cup race held at Phoenix International Raceway. The inaugural event in November 1988 was won by the late Alan Kulwicki. It was the first of five victories for the future Cup champion.
  • This is the seventh spring race at Phoenix and the first not held in April since the track expanded to two Cup races in 2005. Kurt Busch won the inaugural Subway Fresh-Fit 500.
  • Jimmie Johnson leads all drivers with four victories at Phoenix, including the 2008 Subway Fresh Fit 500. He also won the November 2007 and 2008 events at the track, giving him a track-record three consecutive victories.
  • Mark Martin has started 28 of the previous 29 Phoenix races - skipping the November 2007 race during his first of two partial schedules. Martin has two wins at the track, in November 1993 and April 2009. The 2009 win snapped a 97-race winless streak and made him, at 50 years, three months, and nine days, the oldest winner at PIR.
  • Hendrick Motorsports-affiliated teams have won the last four Subway Fresh Fit 500s. Hendrick drivers Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Mark Martin took the victories from 2007-09, while Stewart-Haas Racing's Ryan Newman won the 2010 event.
  • Jeff Gordon's win in the 2007 Subway Fresh Fit 500 was his first victory at Phoenix, one of, at the time, only three tracks on which he had yet to win. The victory, his 76th, also tied him with Dale Earnhardt on the all-time Sprint Cup victories list.
  • Last year's race was the Subway Fresh Fit 600, as the track had added 100 kilometers (63 laps) to its usual 312-lap, 500 kilometer distance. The race has returned to it's traditional distance this weekend. Of note, Kyle Busch led at lap 312 in last year's race.
  • Last six event champions: 2005: Kurt Busch (No. 97 Ford); 2006: Kevin Harvick (No. 29 Chevrolet); 2007: Jeff Gordon (No. 24 Chevrolet); 2008: Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Chevrolet); 2009: Mark Martin (No. 5 Chevrolet); 2010: Ryan Newman (No. 39 Chevrolet)

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.