After a short break in the action, it was time to hit the road and head to Phoenix. We loaded up the motor coach, and ventured out of Indy for a much-anticipated weekend of racing.
Our trip from Indiana to Phoenix went pretty fast, taking only about 28 hours of road time. We took the "northern" route through Flagstaff, but we now know that it's a lot less mountainous (and thus easier to draft) when taking a more southern route through Texas and New Mexico.
The guys in the hauler arrived at the track a day or so ahead of us, and did so to great fanfare. News of our new sponsorship from PickupTruck.Com hit the press the same day they arrived, and needless to say, the team got a LOT of attention. Our hauler has brand-spanking new colors, the pit crew has handsome new duds, and of course, the race truck itself looks fantastic. Along with a new look, the whole team has a spring in their step, and is very grateful to be associated with a class act like PickupTruck.Com.
"Being in the desert, this track experiences probably the widest temperature swings within a one-day period."
I arrived at Phoenix International Raceway on Wednesday afternoon, and signed in on Thursday. The truck sailed through tech inspection Thursday afternoon, and we were anxious for practice on Friday. The track had a very busy weekend schedule, with the Winston West cars there, along with the Indy Racing League. Time was tight, and we had to practice early Friday morning at 8:30am.
Because the track at Phoenix is flat, setting up the truck can be very easy, or very hard. Jerry assured me it was the best truck we've ever taken to this track. As it turned out, he was right. In the morning practice, we consistently clicked off top-five times, and ended up with the ninth-best practice time overall. We did about the same thing in the afternoon practice, despite having totally different track conditions. Being in the desert, this track experiences probably the widest temperature swings within a one-day period. Because the first practice was in the morning, the track was very cool and fast. By the time the afternoon practice rolled around, the track was about 40 degrees warmer, and much slicker. Keeping these temperature swings in mind, we use the morning practice to set up for qualifying, and the afternoon practice to dial in the race setup.
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