Crunching The Numbers: Phoenix

After a wild week in Daytona, the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series drivers head out west to The Valley of The Sun to take on Phoenix International Raceway for the 2nd race of the season. The track’s reconfiguration back in 2011 turned a good track into a great track and has made it more conducive to close racing and if you will remember, the last time these two series took on PIR, both races turned into a literal slug fest and this weekend’s events should be more of the same.

 

Nationwide Series

The Nationwide Series will get first crack at the oval in the Arizona desert in the Dollar General 200, scheduled to go green at 2:30 PM Local Time on Saturday.

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Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Matt Kenseth 11 1 4 9 1 202 10.2 7.7
Kyle Busch 14 4 7 10 4 793 5.8 8.6
Brian Vickers 4 0 2 2 0 1 17.8 10.8
Justin Allgaier 9 0 0 4 0 0 14.6 11.0
Reed Sorenson 9 0 4 6 0 1 12.1 12.2
Brad Keselowski 12 0 6 7 0 107 11.8 12.3
Austin Dillon 3 0 1 2 0 0 15.7 14.7
Alex Bowman 1 0 0 0 0 0 22.0 15.0
Elliott Sadler 8 1 2 2 0 26 14.8 16.2
Brian Scott 7 0 0 2 0 0 15.1 16.3

Who To Watch: Running once again for Joe Gibbs Racing, Matt Kenseth leads all drivers with an average finish of 7.7 over 11 races that Kenseth has run. Another Gibbs entry, Kyle Busch, will be tough to beat here as well since he has an average finish of 8.6 and 4 wins in 14 races. That’s a winning percentage of 29%! Other drivers strong in the desert include Brian Vickers, Justin Allgaier, and Reed Sorenson. All 3 of those drivers have an average finish of 12.2 or better. Throw in Spring Phoenix defending champion Elliott Sadler and this race should be another good one.

 

Sprint Cup Series

The Sprint Cup Series gets their turn on track Sunday in the Subway Fresh Fit 500, scheduled to start at 1:00 PM local time

Driver Races Win Top 5 Top 10 Pole Laps Led Avg. Start Avg. Finish
Jimmie Johnson 19 4 12 15 1 931 13.0 6.7
Mark Martin 32 2 12 21 2 836 12.0 9.1
Denny Hamlin 15 1 7 8 1 399 12.8 10.3
Jeff Gordon 28 2 10 19 3 389 11.1 11.5
Tony Stewart 22 1 8 11 0 555 13.3 12.1
Carl Edwards 17 1 6 10 3 228 11.8 12.5
Jeff Burton 27 2 7 13 0 222 23.8 12.8
Kevin Harvick 20 3 6 10 0 420 19.0 12.8
Kurt Busch 16 1 4 11 0 750 13.0 13.2
Kyle Busch 18 1 3 10 2 509 13.6 13.3

Who To Watch: To no one’s surprise, Daytona 500 champion JImmie Johnson leads the Sprint Cup Series in the best statistics with an average finish of 6.7 and 4 wins in 19 races. Johnson’s win percentage at Phoenix is an astounding 21% and if the statistics hold true, we could see a back to back winner if Johnson takes the win Sunday. However, to do so Johnson will have to hold off an impressive field of challengers, including Mark Martin, with an average finish of 9.1 and 2 wins; Denny Hamlin, who won here last spring and has an average finish of 10.3; and Jeff Gordon, with 2 wins and an average finish of 11.5. Not to mention winner of last fall’s race, Kevin Harvick and others. The 2nd Gen6 race and first on a track 1 mile or less should be a can’t miss, especially if tensions started here last fall come to a head at the place where they all began.

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