NASCAR continues the western stretch of its schedule as the Monster Energy Cup Series stops in Phoenix for the TicketGuardian 500 at ISM Raceway on Sunday, March 10. The circuit will return to this one-mile flat track in early November for the second to last race of the playoffs.
Sunday's race signals the return of raw speed as the Cup series debuts its new, larger spoiler teams hope will pair effectively with their 750 horsepower engine on tracks one mile or less. It’s a switch back from what we’ve seen the past two weeks at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the engines were limited to just 550 horsepower.
Friends Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott will start up front with Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin right behind them. Early points leader and defending Cup champion Joey Logano will start 12th while Kevin Harvick, who won this race last year, is eighth.
So if you're wondering, "What NASCAR race is on TV this today?" know this: FOX is airing the TicketGuardian 500 from ISM Raceway.
TicketGuardian 500 Race Time/TV Channel
Time: 3:30 p.m. ET (Sunday) green flag drops
Track: ISM Raceway (Avondale, Ariz.)
TV: FOX, coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET
Radio: PRN, SIRIUS XM Channel 90
ISM Raceway out in Phoenix is more like a short track than a cookie-cutter oval. The sport’s old 750-horsepower package will be in effect, albeit with a taller rear spoiler and a larger splitter. The result has been faster speeds and more opportunity for driver skill to play a role.
It’s a chance for Blaney and Elliott to write a new chapter in a 2019 storybook dominated by familiar names. Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin is 38; Keselowski and Logano already own Cup titles. Kyle Busch has been stealing storylines in the sport’s feeder series, winning four of the seven support races held this year at NASCAR’s Xfinity and Truck Series level.
"We just have to clean some stuff up," Blaney said when asked what’s kept him out of Victory Lane. "Our finishes definitely don’t reflect how we’ve been running. The best thing we can do is control the things we can control and if we keep bringing fast cars to the racetrack, hopefully it will work out one of these times."
Having to lift off the throttle again puts control back in the hands of Blaney and Elliott. Now, we’ll see if they can execute and put the sport’s fresh young talent front and center one week after an uptick in NASCAR TV ratings after Las Vegas.
Could the sport be on the verge of harnessing momentum? Stay tuned.