Harrison Burton and the No. 21 DEX Imaging team, along with their peers in NASCAR’s Cup Series, will run their first race under the circuit’s new rules for short track races in this weekend’s United Rentals 500 at Phoenix Raceway.
Brian Wilson, crew chief of the No. 21 DEX team, expects the new aero package to bring substantial changes to racing on the shorter tracks like the one-mile oval in the Arizona desert.
“The biggest storyline this week will be the new short-track aero package,” Wilson said. “This includes a large reduction in the rear spoiler as well as multiple changes to the under body.
“The result is much less overall downforce on the car. Everyone expects that the cars will be a handful for the drivers, which should lead to passing opportunities and a great race.”
Wilson said the DEX Imaging team will have data to rely on in preparing their Mustang for the weekend at Phoenix.
“Through Ford we’ve received all the wind tunnel information we need to know what to expect when we unload for the extended practice time at Phoenix,” he said, adding that he and the team also can look back to their notes from the season finale last year.
“Last fall’s race at Phoenix was a great end to the season for the No. 21 team. We qualified sixth and raced in the top 20 for most of the day. We’ll look to build off those notes this weekend.”
Wilson also said that he and the DEX team, as well as most others in the garage, will have this year’s fall race at Phoenix – the championship-deciding season finale – on their minds as they compete this weekend.
“Everyone knows how important Phoenix is in the fall, so with our Team Penske alliance we’ll collect as much information as we can to ensure a Ford victory this weekend and when we return for the Championship,” he said.
A practice session is set to start at 4:35 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (6:35 p.m. Eastern Time) on Friday. FOX Sports 2 will pick up the TV coverage.
Qualifying is scheduled for 12:05 p.m. with FOX Sports 1 carrying the TV coverage beginning at 2:05 p.m. Eastern.
The 500-kilometer (312-mile) United Rentals 500 is scheduled to get the green flag just after 12:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. Eastern Time) on Sunday with TV coverage on FOX.
Stage breaks are planned for Laps 60 and 185.