NASCAR Races under the lights in Phoenix
The Nationwide teams will race tonight, and a whole bunch of drivers will be trying to unseat Carl Edwards from the top of the leaderboard, after 5 races. Ironically, it is Brad Keselowski who is Carl's closest competitor, only 16 points back in the points. The "Alligator", Justin Allgaier sits in third, followed by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.
Oh, and almost all of them have multiple wins here at Phoenix.
Landon Cassill will get another opportunity to race in the JR Motorsports number 7 car, but he will likely not get the kind of attention Danica did in the same car. John Wes Townley wrecked his car completely in practice and will go to a backup.
The Nationwide race runs at 9pm ET on ESPN 2.
The Sprint Cup Series runs Saturday night and as I'm writing this, final practice is underway. Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Marcos Ambrose and Kyle Busch have all had spins, but all eyes are on Denny Hamlin. He underwent surgery right after his victory at Martinsville, to repair a torn ACL, and continues his recuperation. He was the fastest car in the first practice session, before relinquishing his ride to Casey Mears. Denny then spent some time icing his knee. In the second practice, Mark Martin has been fastest, with Denny in second.
What should we expect at Phoenix? Well, as they practice, the temperature is about 80 with a track temperature of 110. Of course, it won't be that hot at night, but it will certainly be a lot warmer than the tracks that we've visited so far this season. Phoenix is a one mile track, with 9 degrees of banking in turns 3 and 4 and 11 degrees in 1 and 2. The track is apprently very slippery as they practice, and with no rain in sight, there is little chance that is going to change.
Dale Jr was fast in the first practice, not so much in the second, but the Speed crew feel this is his best chance to score a win so far this year. Jr. didn't get the memo about his beard (kidding) and still has his, while Jimmie Johnson has shaved his off. Unfortunately, the lack of facial hair didn't give JJ any extra speed or grip on the track, leading the experts to predict a solid run, if not a win, by Greg Biffle, who topped the speed charts later in the final practice.
A number of the cars are featuring different paint jobs, including Tony Stewart, racing with a "green" car. No, the car isn't really green, but the paint scheme is meant to represent support for a greener planet. Brad Keselowski is racing with an Autism Awareness paint scheme and Matt Kenseth has a new black Crown Royal design.
As I went to post this, news broke that John Wes Townley has been fired by Richard Childress Racing and it will be Clint Bowyer who will drive the number 21 Nationwide Series car in tonight's race, without having even sat in the car. On to Qualifying for the Nationwide Series.
My pick is going to be Dale Earnhardt Jr. I just can't help it. He looks relaxed and confident, but focused on the job at hand. For the Nationwide race tonight I'm taking Kevin Harvick.
What about you? Who's YOUR driver?