The boys of NASCAR made a trip to the Diamond in the Desert for the Sprint Cup Series’ first Saturday night race of the decade. So who shined like the Phoenix sun and who got left out in the cold? We’ve got you covered!
Hot: Ryan Newman. Newman ran in the top 10 all night. But when the time was right, Ryan’s car looked like the mean combination of a rocket and a tornado.
Not: Brian Vickers. Red Bull’s #1 driver has looked pretty decent this year. But when Brian lost a tire in Phoenix, his car wound up looking like a heavily used-up Red Bull can.
Hot: Hendrick Motorsports. The team took up spots 2-3-4, which I guess should have landed them in the “Not” section. But Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 12th on Saturday, so they definately deserve this spot.
Not: Greg Biffle. The Biff’s streak of top 10 finishes ended in Phoenix with a 22nd-place effort. The really bad news for Greg is that we have a lot more Saturday night races coming up.
Hot: Juan Pablo Montoya. When he’s hot, he’s hot. Montoya hasn’t had a bad performance all season; Just bad luck. If he has that out of the way, look for the Colombian to have several more top 5s this season.
Not: Beer-Sponsored Cars. Kurt Busch(Miller Lite) collided with birthday-boy Kasey Kahne(Budweiser) 14 laps into the race, effectively ending both of their days. I guess we could call that a “Mixed Drink”?
Hot: Kyle Busch. Kyle is hot in more ways than one. Shrub is performing well enough to win on the track, but after the outcome of Saturday’s race in Phoenix, Busch is pretty angry. Surprised?
Not: Paul Menard. When three-quarters of NASCAR fans believe your 11th-place points position is a fluke, the last thing you want to do as a driver is show up to the track and lay an egg. Menard did just that in Phoenix, finishing in 28th place, 1 lap down.
Hot: Robby Gordon. Gordon’s 14th-place effort didn’t turn many heads. But it was good enough to get the owner/driver back into the top 35 in owner points. And that in itself is a huge accomplishment. Way to go, Robby!
Not: Denny Hamlin. Hamlin got caught up in the lap 14 accident, and was never a contender, finishing 30th. But props to Denny for running the full race with a bad knee.