Tony Kanaan’s 2004 win at Phoenix International Raceway
(RIGH T) was the last by a still-active Verizon IndyCar Series
driver. The series’ final previous visit came in the 2005 season.
61 NEW TRACKS | INDYCAR.COM
PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY, ARIZ.
PHOENIX GRAND PRIX
Although we’ve already tested
at Phoenix, there’s a lot that we
won’t really learn about the track
until we actually race there. When you’re
alone it drives a bit like Iowa, only faster.
During the race, I think it’s going to be
even more like Iowa. It could be tough to
pass until maybe halfway through a stint,
when tire degradation becomes a factor.
It’s going to be physical too, because
you’re getting arm lock going into the
compression from all of the downforce
that we have. The key to being fast at
Phoenix is going to be about getting the
balance right in Turns 1 and 2, and being
able to keep the revs up out of the banking
to hopefully complete a pass off of 3 and 4
and into 1. It’s going to take 10 laps to set
up a pass. That’s what’s going to be cool.
The initial tests that we did weren’t
enough to tell us much about how the
track will change when the temperature
drops, because we’re going to be racing at
night. But the test in late February, when
we ran in the evening, revealed a lot more.
There were some pretty staggering
speeds by some of the guys in testing,
which is fun, but definitely crazy. On a
one-mile oval, you’re seeing 200mph and
you’re averaging 190-something... It’s
good fun, and it’s probably going to be
quicker when we come back and race.
Honestly, the toughest part is going to
be what the car does in compression. The
steering’s so heavy that it’s tough to even
catch moments – as I found out during
my first test, when I got loose and it was
tough to put the wheel back into it. So
you get loose, and you get taken up the
track. But it’s going to be a blast. Turns 3
and 4 are going to be awesome in traffic;
you can follow super-close there. It’s
going to be a great race, for sure.
Compared with the last IndyCar Series race
held in 2005 (ABOVE), Marco Andretti expects
Phoenix to be faster and even more challenging.
Drawing a line in the sand...
IndyCar’s return to Phoenix
has been a long time coming.
Fortunately for all, that cute
little scorpion isn’t to scale.