Phoenix

NASCAR's Gen-6 a work in progress; Carl Edwards relevant again

Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix.
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<p> Through the Gears: Four things we learned in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.</p>

In the midst of a near two-year winless skid on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit, Carl Edwards, perhaps more than any driver, needed a confidence boost. And after winning the Subway Fresh Fit 500 — in only his second start with crew chief Jimmy Fennig — that’s exactly what the Missouri native received at Phoenix International Raceway.

Carl Edwards holds off Jimmie Johnson, wins in Phoenix

Edwards survives green-white-checker finish in Subway Fresh Fit 500
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<p> Carl Edwards breaks winless skid, wins in Phoenix.</p>

A new season brings new hope. And no one in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is in more need of hope than Carl Edwards.

On the outside looking in at last season’s Chase for the Championship, Edwards has been mired in a winless skid that dates back to March 6, 2011. And his 2013 season got off to a dubious start in Daytona during Speedweeks, where he was involved in four wrecks (and a fifth in a test session in January), ultimately finishing 33rd in the Daytona 500.

NASCAR's Gen-6 to face new challenges in Phoenix

NASCAR: Five Things to Watch at Phoenix International Raceway
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<p> Five storylines to follow as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Phoenix for the Subway Fresh Fit 500.</p>

1. Gen-6 downforce track debut
NASCAR's two weeks of warm sunshine in Daytona Beach provided the first on-track action of the much-acclaimed new car in the Sprint Cup Series. It proved to be amicable, handing drivers more input in restrictor plate-style car setup. In the race, it proved to be just a little too dominant as a lead car.

Fantasy NASCAR Picks for Phoenix International Raceway

Predicting the best fantasy drivers in Phoenix so you don't have to.
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<p> Dustin Long ranks each driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit for this weekend's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.</p>

The 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup season rolls on to Phoenix International Raceway for the Subway Fresh Fit 500. To help guide you through the 2013 Fantasy NASCAR season, Athlon Sports will be offering up our best predictions for each race. And because Yahoo's Fantasy Auto Racing  game is arguably the most popular, we'll break down our picks according to its NASCAR driver classes—A-List, B-List, C-List.

8 Amazing NASCAR Stats for Phoenix International Raceway

NASCAR Numbers Game: Phoenix
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<p> NASCAR Numbers Game: Phoenix</p>

After a Daytona 500 that catered to the more intelligent teams in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage — track position and strategy reigned supreme — one of the two duels this season in the Arizona desert greets America’s best drivers on Sunday.

There are a lot of unknowns with the Gen-6 car taking to a surface and configuration at Phoenix International Raceway that is just three races old. What we do know, and what we could anticipate, is revealed in the numbers.

Backseat Drivers Fan Council

Gordon/Bowyer Fallout, Harvick's New Home and Grading Phoenix
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<p> Dustin Long and the Backseat Drivers Fan Council weigh in on the Jeff Gordon/Clint Bowyer penalties, Kevin Harvick leaving Richard Childress Racing and they grade a crazy race in Phoenix.</p>
2012

NASCAR reacted this week to Jeff Gordon intentionally wrecking Clint Bowyer at Phoenix and the melee between the crews, but was its penalty enough? Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council debate what should have been done and what they would do if Bowyer exacts revenge this weekend at Homestead. Those are just among a few of the topics the Fan Council debated. Here’s what they said:

Harvick wins a wild one in Phoenix

Gordon/Bowyer melee mars AdvoCar500; Keselowski turns tables on Johnson in points battle
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<p> Kevin Harvick won a wild AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Meanwhile, Brad Keselowski overtook the points lead over Jimmie Johnson while Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer engaged in an on- and off-track melee.</p>
2012

Once the smoke cleared, the cars (or what was left of them) were loaded and the Sunday sun set over Phoenix International Raceway, a new championship landscape had emerged in NASCAR. But tempers as hot and raw as the surrounding Sonora Desert shifted the focus of the Sprint Cup Series’ AdvoCare 500 from said title battle—and the race’s previously-MIA winner—to wrecked racecars, fist fights and talk of on-track payback.

The Long and Short of It: New Crew Chief, Engines and Outlook Working for Logano

Dustin Long Takes a Spin Around the NASCAR Circuit

by Dustin Long

Joey Logano says he’s worked with the same sports psychologist teammate Denny Hamlin has, but that’s not the only reason why Logano could do something in Sunday’s Las Vegas race that he hasn’t in more than a year.

After finishing ninth in the Daytona 500 and 10th last weekend at Phoenix, Logano will seek to score his third consecutive top-10 finish — something he hasn’t done since his late-season charge in 2010.

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<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long takes a spin around the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.</p>

GOOD SIGN  While Kevin Harvick might have been disappointed with finishing second at Phoenix last weekend after leading a race-high 88 laps, it didn’t diminish his enthusiasm for this season.

After the race, car owner Richard Childress congratulated Harvick on the radio for his run. Harvick replied: “It’s going to be a good year.”

Harvick was excited with his run after struggling at Phoenix last year and finishing 19th.

“They’ve done a good job over the winter,” Harvick said of his team. “And hopefully that continues over the next few weeks in the preparation that they’ve done through the winter.”

PIT STOPS  Goodyear held a tire test Tuesday at Rockingham Speedway in preparation for the April 15 Camping World Truck Series race there, the first NASCAR race at that track since the Cup Series left after 2004. Said Jason Leffler, among the drivers testing: “I’m just looking forward to coming back and seeing 35 other trucks out here racing hard to see what happens when the tires wear out and everybody gets slipping and sliding.” ... Dodge will reveal its 2013 Charger this weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Prior to last weekend’s events at Phoenix International Raceway, Penske Racing announced it would switch to Ford at the conclusion of the 2012 season. “We do value our NASCAR program and will be evaluating the opportunities available moving forward,” Ralph Gilles, President and CEO SRT Brand and Motorsports, said. “As those opportunities materialize, we'll reveal our 2013 plans, not only in NASCAR but in other forms of motorsports.”

Follow Dustin on Twitter: @DustinLong

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Desert Redemption: Denny Hamlin wins in Phoenix

Hamlin holds off Kevin Harvick in Subway Fresh Fit 500

by Matt Taliaferro

The second race of the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season — the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway — served as a weekend of redemption for Denny Hamlin.

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<p> Denny Hamlin and new crew chief Darian Grubb win the Subway Fresh Fit 500 from Phoenix International Raceway.</p>

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Pennell’s Picks: Fantasy NASCAR Trends for Phoenix

Jay Pennell looks at favorites and darkhorses for Sunday's race in Phoenix.

by Jay Pennell

Few could have predicted the 2012 season would open with such historic and unforeseen events taking place at Daytona. Rain delays, prime-time racing on a Monday, jet dryer explosions … I‘m surprised the Mayan calendar didn’t signal the end of civilization when the checkered flag fell.

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<p> Fantasy NASCAR predictions for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.</p>
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