NASCAR 2022 at Phoenix: Who said what going into the Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Raceway

Ryan Blaney drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Ryan Blaney drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

NASCAR is all set to kick-off Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The fourth Cup Series race will start at 3:30 pm EST on Sunday, March 13.

Heading to Phoenix, Ryan Blaney, the Ruoff Mortgage 500 pole winner, talked about his challenge with the Next Gen car on a short track and said:

“It is really early; my bigger concern is just trying to figure out this new car. It is really the first short track we’ve been to. The (Clash at the) Coliseum was kind of its own thing. This is a place where you will be using the brakes pretty hard and things like that.”

Team Penske driver Austin Cindric was the first driver to be locked into the 2022 NASCAR playoffs by winning the season opener Daytona 500. Cindric feels there will be a balance between this weekend’s races and upcoming races and went on to say:

“I obviously want to come back and have a purpose in November. But it is also the first short-track race we are going to. There will be a balance between what we learn this weekend and how much we are going to evolve as a sport and race teams by the time November comes around. All those things are in my head, and I think this is certainly a solid foundation for your notebook to start the year.”

The venue will mark its first Next Gen race on the 1-mile-long track of the 2022 season. The next short track is Richmond Raceway followed by Martinsville Speedway, and then Bristol Motor Speedway through the latter will be covered in dirt.

Denny Hamlin talks about NASCAR’s short track

Joe Gibbs Racing team driver Denny Hamlin finished second-best in qualifying time and will share the front row with Blaney. Speaking about NASCAR’s first short track, Hamlin said:

“This is an important race. Even though it’s early in the season, it’s the first real short track that we are going to. It’s going to create a big data point for us when we go to set up our cars for other race tracks, so it’s very, very important.”

After this weekend, NASCAR will not return to Phoenix Raceway until November 6. Richmond and Martinsville are among the tracks that will be visited again, but these are the only places where the winner will be crowned.

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Edited by Anurag C
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