Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fantasy NASCAR: Subway Fresh Fit 500

It seems like forever since the last NASCAR race. Of course last weekend was Easter and the circuit took off for everyone to spend time with family and friends. Now the cars head to the desert for a race in Phoenix for the first time this year for a Saturday night race.

What do we know about Phoenix International Speedway? It is a flat 1-mile track which somewhat resembles a track like New Hampshire's but has higher banking. It seems more than any other track that fuel mileage comes into play here so strategy will be key with pit stops. The corners provide enough room for passing so starting position is not as important although the last five winners have started in the top 7.

Jimmie Johnson has won the last 3 races at this track and just 5 drivers have won the last 10 races here. 9 of those 10 winners drove a Chevy.

1- Jeff Gordon: When you're hot you're hot. He just won and ended his 47-race winless streak and if anything, last weekend's off day may have hindered Gordon. He has 15 top 10 finishes in 20 career races at Phoenix but just one win. I give the Dupont Chevy and the Rainbow Warriors the checkered again this race.

2- Jimmie Johnson: It seems redundant each week seeing the names Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson in the top five. But with Johnson's track record and performance last year it is hard to not put Johnson up front. Aforementioned, Johnson has won the last three races at this track and starts 10th. Unless an engine blows up for him he will be at the top.

3- Kevin Harvick: Harvick has led the third most laps at Phoenix over the last 7 races. He has 5 top 10 finishes during that span including 2 top 5's. It will be a task for him to come through the pack as he starts 33th but he reminds me a lot of a guy like Matt Kenseth, someone who starts slow but finishes near the top often enough.

4- Tony Stewart: I'm telling you, he is ready to win with his new car. The past two races have been an amazing stepping stone for his team as last race he brought home a top 5 finish. In the past 7 races in Phoenix he has the second most points. Stewart feels right at home in the Chevy this year and with his 7th place qualifying position a top 5 or even a victory is foreseeable.

5- Juan Montoya: My dark horse for this race is Montoya. He hasn't had the best of races at Phoenix with an average finishing of 20th. Aside from the glaring numbers at Phoenix, Montoya has been inching closer to the top. His last three races he has finished 7, 12, and 9th. Don't be surprised to see Montoya's name near the front at the end. He starts 20th.

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