February 26, 2013
Phoenix is where real NASCAR season begins
How drivers run on short and intermediate tracks will go a long way in determining this year's Sprint Cup champ
By DEAN MCNULTY, QMI Agency

Kyle Busch leads the field to start the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at tricky Phoenix International Raceway last year. (Getty)

Now that the Great American Race is in the books it is time for the real NASCAR Sprint Cup season to start.

Teams put in a ton of time and money to try to win the Daytona 500, but they all know the championship will be won or lost on short and intermediate tracks like Phoenix International Raceway this week and Las Vegas Motor Speedway next week.

And while Danica Patrick got, and deserved, the lion’s share of attention at Daytona International Speedway, it will be a different story at PIR.

First, it is a given she won’t be the favourite to start on the pole.

The one-mile banked oval at PIR demands experience to be successful and Patrick is still at the bottom rung on the learning ladder in Sprint Cup.

Kyle Busch, the qualifying record holder at PIR with a lap of 138.766 m.p.h. in the No. 18 Joe GIbbs Racing Toyota, said Tuesday it takes a lot more skill to race at a shorter oval than it does at the 2.5- mile super speedways like Daytona and Talladega.



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