The weather is beautiful at Phoenix International Raceway. It’s sunny, not windy and nary a cloud in the sky. Once it warms up, it will be perfect. Friday’s schedule calls for all three of the NASCAR three top tier series being on track. The Nationwide Series has two practices, Craftsman Trucks qualify in the afternoon ahead of its night race, and Sprint Cup has a practice session before its afternoon qualifying session.
JOEY LOGANO/No.20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota was fastest in the Nationwide 140-minute long morning practice. His speed was 130:724 mph. The young driver will replace TONY STEWART in Sprint Cup next season at Joe Gibbs Racing. Second through fifth were: KEVIN HARVICK/No.2 Kevin Harvick Inc. Chevrolet; DENNY HAMLIN/No.18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota; STEVE WALLACE/No.66 Rusty Wallace Racing Chevrolet; and JEFF BURTON/NO.29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet. The top Rookie was LANDON CASSILL/No.5 Rick Hendrick Racing Chevrolet, in twenty-fifth place. All 50 Nationwide cars were on track.
BOBBY EAST cleaned house Thursday night at PIR. He had the pole for both USAC races in the Copper World Classic – Mopar Copper World Class National Midget Championship Series and K & N Silver Crown Series. East won both races. In both cases, young East was racing on the Terry Klatt team. Dad, BOBBY EAST, is a Copper World Classic winner, and he sets up the cars of his making, Beast.
In the Silver Crown race, Sprint Cup driver RYAN NEWMAN blew an engine in the unlucky thirteenth lap.
It’s been pointed out to me that I committed a non-sequitur in saying “largest-ever Midget field”. I hope you found it amusing.
TONY STEWART will be the Grand Marshal for the Fiesta Bowl parade next January. It’s a first for the parade to have a race car driver, and a first for his car to be part of the parade. Stewart has already been warned “There will be no passing.” Friday morning, Stewart was presented with the classic yellow Fiesta Bowl Parade blazer. It made for a colorful photo op over his rumpled orange driving suit. The Fiesta Bowl Parade, which started in 1974, is the largest one-day event in Arizona. Among the varied list of previous Grand Marshals: JERRY RICE, the cast of Hill Street Blues, ERMA BOMBECK, Oakland Athletics, and CHUCK YEAGER. The parade is set for Saturday 3 January 2009. Stewart will also be part of the pre-game festivities and coin toss at the 38th Annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl on Monday 5 January 2009.
PIR changed this year from being a Pepsi and Miller track to a Coke and Budweiser track. Part of the agreement with the beverage companies is a recycling component for the cans and plastic bottles.