Most say this is where the real season begins with the first of many downforce tracks on the schedule.
PIR(Phoenix International Raceway) is mostly a flat track with minimal banking and a modified dog leg brings many different driving groves coming out of turn two.
Flat tracks usually favors those with a road race background but not PIR, veteran stock car drivers have run the table at Phoenix and I don’t see any surprises for this weekend.
Rookies at Phoenix looked very strong in practice led by Kyle Larson who secured the eight drivers spot and Austin Dillon made the top ten fast list but starts from the twenty fourth starting spot.
Last years spring winner was Carl Edwards while Kevin Harvick took the fall race. Edwards started from the fifteenth starting spot and Harvick started from the ninth spot. The reason why I mention there starting spots because most winners at Phoenix start from tenth or better and 48% of all Phoenix winners come from the front row.
Chevrolet has won three of the last six races at Phoenix followed by Ford with two and Denny Hamlin a flat track expert giving Toyota a win.
With all that said here’s my RP=M for Phoenix based on the last five years:
Greg Biffle- was very fast during practice and usually does well here with an average finish of 12.4. The Bif is running a new chassis for Phoenix and starts from the sixth spot.
Jimmie Johnson- has an average finish 8.3 and starting from the fourth spot makes him deadly for a win. Jimmie will be driving chassis #48-832, he took the pole last year and finished third with this chassis.
Dale Earnhardt Jr – was off the charts fast during practice and should ride the wave into Phoenix where his average finish in the last five years is 13.0.
Brad Keselowski- looked good in practice and will be starting in the front row driving a proven chassis #PRS-864 last raced at Texas where he finished third.
Joey Logano- will be starting next to his teammate BK and was super fast during practice and has an average finish of 16.1 in his young career. Logano is a must have if your playing a salary league. Joey is running a new chassis on Sunday.
Kurt Busch- loves Phoenix and with his average finish of 16.1 and one win makes my list.
Jamie McMurray- started coming on strong late last year on cookie cutter tracks and with his third starting spot for Sunday makes him an easy choice.
Kyle Larson- had a nightmare last week at Daytona but gets a solid finish here at Phoenix. Larson starts from the seventh spot and should get a top twenty.
Refer to my first RP=M post for the driver groupings. Good Luck!
– Photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR