NASCAR visits Phoenix
March 3, 2013
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NASCAR Subway Fresh Fit 500 Preview
With the Daytona 500 now completed, the NASCAR circuit shifts west to Phoenix for Sunday's Subway Fresh Fit 500. Denny Hamlin is the defending champion of this race, edging out runner-up Kevin Harvick. And in the most recent race on this track, last November’s AdvoCare 500, these two drivers also finished first and second with Harvick taking the checkered flag and Hamlin as the runner-up.
Phoenix International Raceway is a one-mile, tri-oval track completed in 1964. It was built with bankings measuring 11° on turns 1 and 2, a 9-degree banking on the 1,551-foot (0.29 miles) backstretch and a near-flat 3° frontstretch measuring 1,179 feet (0.22 miles).
Drivers to Watch
Kevin Harvick (15/1) - These odds are extremely favorable for a driver who finished first and second in his two races at this track last year. The No. 29 car always competes well on one-mile tracks, and since 2006, Harvick has three wins and eight top-7 finishes in 14 starts at Phoenix.
Ryan Newman (30/1) - Not only did Newman finish fifth at Daytona to start his 2013 season, but he's always raced well at Phoenix in his career. In 21 starts at this track, he's grabbed the pole four times, and has posted eight top-5 finishes. This includes five top-5's in his past six starts, winning the 2010 Subway Fresh Fit 600, and then placing 2nd, 5th, 5th, 21st and 5th in five Phoenix races since then. What's more impressive about this run is that his average start in these six races was 15.7, as he started no better than 6th in any of these races.
Greg Biffle (15/1) - Like Newman, Biffle also began his season with a bang, starting 5th and finishing 6th in the Daytona 500. Although he's never won at Phoenix, he's been awfully close with two career runner-ups (2005 and 2007) and four top-7 finishes in his past eight starts at Phoenix. He placed 3rd in the 2012 Subway Fresh Fit 500, and came in 7th place in the AdvoCare 500 last November.
Jimmie Johnson (6/1) - After taking home the checkered flag in Daytona last week, Johnson's odds are understandably very low. He's also been a beast in Phoenix over the years, finishing outside the top-10 just four times in 19 starts at this track. All four of his Phoenix wins have come since 2007, and in the past six spring starts in the desert, he has finished 4th, 1st, 4th, 3rd, 3rd and 4th.
Kurt Busch (60/1) - As longshots go, there's no doubt that Busch provides the best bang for your buck. His average finish at Phoenix is a strong 13.2, which includes 11 top-10's, four top-5’s and a victory in 2005. With six top-10’s in his past nine starts at this track, this long-odds bet is certainly justified. Busch's average starting position in his past nine starts at Phoenix has been 8.2.