CHINA GROVE, N.C. (February 23, 2011) – Robert Richardson, Jr. and the No. 23 North Texas Pipe Dodge team of R3 Motorsports return to action this week in Saturday’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Phoenix International Raceway.
After all the tumultuous racing at Daytona International Speedway last week, a track like PIR might be a welcomed respite to the series’ teams. However, the one-mile layout of the Arizona track forces drivers to have two different mindsets to get through the non-equal turns around the oval.
For Richardson, the task at hand is even taller. He will be making his first PIR start since 2008. But, the good news is the new NNS cars make for great equalizers because this will be the first time all drivers will be using the new cars at Phoenix.
Fast Facts: This will be Richardson’s first start at PIR since 2008, second of the 2011 season and 71st of his NNS career. A radiator busted in one of the wrecks at Daytona last week relegated the No. 23 team to a 32nd place finish after running in the top 10 and 15 most of the race. This puts Richardson, Jr. 21st in the Driver’s Standings.
Car Facts: The WCS team led by crew chief Walter Giles will be using chassis No. 54 this weekend. This car was last used at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the fall 2010 race.
Track Facts: Phoenix International Raceway is one mile in length and has 11 degrees of banking in Turns 1 and 2, nine degrees in Turns 3 and 4 with three degrees on the frontstretch and nine on the back.
Did you know: Of the 18 NNS races held at PIR, all but three drivers have ever won from a starting position outside the top 10; which means qualifying well is paramount at PIR.
Tune in for the Win: There are two practice sessions on Friday with the first being from 1 to 2:20 p.m. and the final one from 4 – 5 p.m. ET at PIR. The teams return to the track on Saturday for qualifying at 2 p.m. ET and then race action begins at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2, MRN Radio and Sirius/XM NASCAR Radio Ch. 128 for their 200-lap race.
Robert Richardson, Jr. Quotes
Since you haven’t been to Phoenix in awhile, how do you prepare for this race: “All I can say is I’m looking forward to getting out there and seeing how these new cars do on the flat track of Phoenix. I know it’s a tricky layout with the way you come off Turns 1 and 2 being different than how you come off 3 and 4. The best thing I can do is go out there, get a good feel for the car and the track and take it from there.”
How has the switch to Dodges been for you: “For me, it’s been pretty good. I like the cars, how they feel, how they look and what Dodge has done to help us out. For the guys, it’s been a lot of hard work making the changed over the last two months. Now that we have several cars built, we can concentrate on getting them better. I really have to give credit to the guys for all their hard work – it means a lot to me.
“I know Walter (Giles, crew chief) and the team will have a good car underneath me. I just need to figure out how our Dodge Challengers are going to handle and react to the set up we have in the car. The good news is every other driver is getting on this track with a new car for the first time, too. So, we’ll all be equal in that sense.”
Public Relations Director / R3 Motorsports
No. 23 North Texas Pipe Dodge
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