Originally written on Start 'N' Park Blog  |  Last updated 11/4/14
AVONDALE, Ariz. – Two years ago, Jeff Gordon and No. 24 crew chief Alan Gustafson won at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) in only their second event working together. A lot has changed since then. A lot has changed since the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced here in November. After the event won by the No. 24 team in 2011, PIR was repaved and reconfigured. The relatively new layout – along with numerous offseason changes – could prove to be the biggest challenge to date for the No. 24 Pepsi MAX Chevrolet SS team. “This weekend will be one of the most difficult and challenging ever,” Gustafson said. “Our new Chevy SS has significantly more downforce than last year’s car. With the new Gen-6 car, the new rules, a new tire compound and new inspection process, we don’t really have anything that we can base this weekend off of. “I guess the weather is usually the same each time we race here, so that’s at least one ‘known.’” In 28 starts at the one-mile track, Gordon has two wins (2007 and 2011), 10 top-five finishes and 19 top-10s. He also has three pole positions (2005, 2006 and 2007) at the Arizona track. “Qualifying well is always important, and we’ll put a lot of emphasis on qualifying runs during Friday practice,” said Gustafson. “But we also need to give Jeff time to get acclimated to all the changes. “We’ll probably start with race runs during practice so he can get laps under his belt.” In only three races since the repave, four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Gordon has seen the groove widen at PIR. “I’d say it’s a two-and-a-half groove track now,” said Gordon, who is 19th in the point standings after the season-opening event. “The bottom lane is still preferred but the outside lane works and the groove definitely widens out during the race. “We know this race presents a huge challenge for us and for everybody but I’m confident in the plan that Alan and the engineers have come up with. After meeting with the team about this race, I can’t wait to head west.”
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Wrigley Field bleacher renovation may be delayed

Yankees wanted Rollins but Phillies' price was too high

Pop misses game for medical reasons; Messina takes over

John Beilein upset with ESPN for late start time to game

Tyson Chandler felt like Knicks' scapegoat at times

Fred Jackson has 'no respect' for Donte Whitner

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Devon Still responds to unpaid child support allegations

Diamondbacks sign Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas

Josh Gordon felt alienated by some in Browns organization

Jerry Jones: I'm a big admirer of Robert Griffin III

Raiola fined for uneccesarily striking Pats' Zach Moore

Report: Michigan keeping Jim Hackett on as athletic director

Steelers turned down chance to be called 'America's Team'

Report: Small chance Raiders-Rams could be moved to Indy

Todd Gurley begins rehab after surgery on knee for torn ACL

Brodeur to practice with Blues

OSU player posts Michigan player's girlfriend as his 'WCW'

Jim Harbaugh's family may not eat turkey thanks to NBC

Ole Miss' The Grove threatened by Mississippi State fan

Is it time for the Redskins to move on from Robert Griffin III?

Top 10 fantasy football turkeys for 2014

WATCH: Coyotes lose in ugly fashion, score own goal in OT

Warriors are having tons of fun on team plane

Jenn Sterger hints she'll be back in her FSU cowgirl gear for game

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Wrigley renovation may be delayed

Steelers could have been America's Team

John Beilein upset with ESPN

Should Washington move on from RG3?

Dominic Raiola fined for cheap shots

Game of the week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Rose leaves with injury again

WATCH: Pierce signs for fan during game

Report: McCoy to start over RG3

Braxton Miller headed to Oregon?

10 most one-sided college football rivalries

Pierce: C's Big Three like 'Holy Trinity'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.