Jeff Gordon has 73 career NASCAR Nextel Cup wins and four series championships, but he's 0-for-14 at Phoenix International Raceway, one of just four tracks where he's failed to find Victory Lane.
During last fall's Checker Auto Parts 500 at PIR, Gordon showed signs of breaking the streak when he captured the pole. He settled for a 12th-place finish and a little confidence in his Hendrick Motorsports team's return to Avondale this weekend.
"It gives us a baseline to really come into this racetrack and feel like we've got something that's competitive, that's close and we can just start working from there," said Gordon, whose best finish is third twice at PIR.
Gordon qualified 19th for Saturday's race.
Last year, Gordon didn't make the 10-driver, 10-race Chase for the Championship and changed crew chiefs for the final 10 races. He finished 11th in the points standings.
This season, he's inside the 10-driver cutoff for the Chase through seven races.
"We are running a lot better as a team," said Gordon, who currently is eighth in the points standings. "We are definitely having fun, and things are going our way a little bit better than last year.”
HOW THE WEST WAS WON
Andrew Myers captured the Casino Arizona 150 in a two-lap shootout following a caution flag for his first career NASCAR West Series victory.
Myers, who is from Huntington Beach, Calif., outraced Peyton Sellers to the finish line by 1.123 seconds. Mike David and Eric Holmes finished third and fourth, respectively.
Myers finished 21st in the West Series season opener at PIR in January.
Nextel Cup driver Ken Schrader finished 10th.
The race featured 10 cautions and one red flag after a multi-car pileup.
Greg Biffle, one of 16 Nextel Cup regulars who will drive in today's Busch Series Bashas' Supermarkets 200, was fastest in the final Busch Series practice with a lap of 27.574 seconds at 130.558 mph. Biffle, who won the spring Busch Series race at PIR in 2005, was also fastest in the first practice (27.859 at 129.222).
PIR president Bryan R. Sperber beat a table full of NASCAR drivers in a charity Texas Hold ’em poker tournament at Casino Arizona near Scottsdale Wednesday night.
Sperber, holding a pair of eights, took out 2000 Cup champion Bobby Labonte, who had an ace and failed to pair it.
The event raised $60,000, which will be given to Victory Junction, a camp for children with cancer.
BREAKING THE LAW
Kyle Busch doesn't completely agree with an officer’s decision to ticket him for spinning the tires of his rental car last week in a suburb of Richmond, Va.
"I got a ticket for reckless driving. I don't consider it as reckless driving, but obviously the law is what it is," Busch said. "I got the utmost respect for (officers) because they have a job to do, and they never know what they are getting into or what they are dealing with. The only way to put this to rest is to go to my court date (on May 23) and see what happens then."
Busch will be making his 50th career Nextel start Saturday and is racing a special paint scheme on the No. 5 Chevrolet.
"I never thought I would make 20, but to make 50 is pretty awesome," Busch said.
"I remember my first race at Las Vegas, I qualified like 18th and only made like 11 laps. I have been able to make all the laps so far this year. It makes a lot of difference to be out there and competing and running every lap."