Congratulations to Matt Kenseth on winning his second Daytona 500!
The culmination of NASCAR’s first weekend wasn’t as exciting as earlier parts of the race and came on the heels of a washout on Sunday. An early wreck on lap 2 took out five-time champion Jimmie Johnson along with newcomer Danica Patrick.
The most excitement of the race came when something broke under Juan Pablo Montoya’s car and he careened into a jet dryer that was blowing debris off the track. When Montoya’s car hit the safety vehicle there was an immediate explosion and it took awhile for the safety crews to get the fire out. Thankfully no one was seriously hurt in the incident and after a two-hour delay the race resumed with 40 laps to go.
This week the series heads out west to Phoenix International Raceway for the running of the Subway Fresh Fit 500. This is a track of right around 1-mile in length without a lot of banking to it. This will be a totally different type of race than the restrictor plate race at Daytona this past week.
Subway Fresh Fit 500
Jimmie Johnson: I think Jimmie is going to rebound this weekend after getting knocked out of the Daytona 500 on the second lap last week. Jimmie has 4 wins here and has never finished worse than 15th in 17 career starts. I look for Johnson to get his first win of the season.
Ryan Newman: Ryan is another driver who had some tough luck at Daytona last week. Although he finished on the lead lap he didn’t really have a good handling car all night. Ryan won this race back in 2010 and has finished in the top 5 in every race here since that time.
Carl Edwards: Carl had fuel pressure problems at Daytona and still managed to come away with an 8th place finish. Carl won the fall race here in 2010 and finished 2nd in that race last year. He has 10 top 10 finishes at Phoenix in 15 starts.
Jeff Gordon: Yet another driver who had problems at Daytona when he lost an engine just before the halfway point of the race. Jeff is also looking to get his season on track this weekend. He won this race last season and seems to be very good on these types of tracks throughout his career.
Tony Stewart: The defending NASCAR champion finished 16th at Daytona but, he had a better car than the result. He hasn’t won at Phoenix since the first race he ran there back in 2009 but, he did finish in the top 10 in both races last season.
Matt Kenseth: This season’s point leader after the first week has struggled at Phoenix recently. He has only finished in the top 10 twice in his last 8 starts there and hasn’t won since way back in the fall of 2002. However, he did sit on the pole for the fall race last year and led 49 laps in that race before he was involved in an accident and finished 34th.
Kevin Harvick: Kevin swept the races here back in the 2006 season but has struggled a little bit since then. He has finished in the top 10 three times there in his last 8 races. He does seem to stay out of trouble here though and finishes on the lead lap almost every race.
Greg Biffle: Greg had a great car at Daytona and came away with a 3rd place finish. Greg is the driver I said would make a comeback this season and make the Chase at the end of the season. He has had very good cars at Phoenix in the past but, something always seemed to bite him during those races. This year could be different.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Once again Dale came close to winning this past week at a restrictor plate track. This team looks confident and should find victory lane sometime this season. Junior won back to back races here during the 2203 and 2004 seasons but he is another driver who has struggled here recently.
Denny Hamlin: Denny finished 4th at Daytona and runs very well on the flat tracks. I look for him to be a contender at Phoenix this weekend even though he has never won here. Looking at his finishes at tracks like Martinsville makes me think that he could visit victory lane this weekend.
Yahoo Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Phoenix International Raceway
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Jimmie Johnson
- Carl Edwards
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Ryan Newman
- Jeff Burton
- Greg Biffle
- Mark Martin
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Bobby Labonte
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Top-5 Overall at Phoenix International Raceway
- Jimmie Johnson
- Carl Edwards
- Jeff Gordon
- Denny Hamlin
- Ryan Newman
Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray
Stay Away From: Brad Keselowski