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Auto Racing

Speed rules the day at Phoenix Raceway

The Associated Press
Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 06:18 PM
AVONDALE, Ariz. -

Phoenix International Raceway is filled with bumps and cracks, has patches on top of patches trying to hold it together for one last race.

It may be falling apart, but one thing it has never lost is speed.

Carl Edwards had the fastest lap on one of the fastest days ever at Phoenix, setting the last in a slew of track records on Saturday during the final qualifying session before the surface undergoes a makeover.

"This track is great," Edwards said. "I talked to (track president Bryan) Sperber earlier and I think the question I asked him seems a lot of people have asked was: 'Why would you even mess with this?' "

Raceway officials don't have a lot of choice with the track nearly crumbling.

It's at least going out with a flourish.

On a cloudy, relatively cool day in the desert, 15 drivers eclipsed the old qualifying record of 136.389 mph, set by Edwards on his way to winning at Phoenix last fall.

Coming off a second-place finish at the Daytona 500, Edwards had the fastest of 'em all, running a lap of 137.279 mph to barely edge Kurt Busch on the final qualifying session before the track's repaving project starts.

Kasey Kahne qualified third and Kyle Busch will start next to him in today's 500-mile race around the crack-filled mile oval.

"It's the same track I've been coming to since 1995," said Kevin Harvick, who qualified 17th. "It makes me almost want to cry that they're going to tear it all up.

The track is just a few days away from the start of a $10 million repaving project that's supposed to be done before the fall NASCAR Chase race.

Maybe they should leave it alone with all the records falling this weekend.

Clint Bowyer got it started in the trucks on Friday, setting a record in qualifying, and Kyle Busch did the same thing in Nationwide on Saturday morning.

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