|Who can beat Kevin Harvick this week at Phoenix?|
Next Race: Camping World 500
The Place: Phoenix Raceway
The Date: Sunday, March 19
The Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV: FOX, 3:30 p.m. ET
Radio: MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio
Distance: 312 miles (312 laps); Stage 1 (Ends on lap 75),
Stage 2 (Ends on lap 150), Final Stage (Ends on lap 312)
Sweep’n Row: Furniture Row Racing’s Truex First To Win All 3 Stages
Martin Truex Jr. became the first driver to win all three stages under NASCAR’s race enhancements when he took the checkered flag in last Sunday’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The No. 78 Toyota driver, who won a career-high four races last seasons, led 150 total laps on his way to his first victory of 2017. Through three races, Truex sits fourth in the points standings (five points below leader Brad Keselowski, but leads the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series with seven playoff points.
Truex will attempt to notch another win in Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) – a track where he’s logged only one top-five finish (fifth in 2009) in 22 starts.
Young & Happy: 4 Drivers In Top 10 Are 26 Or Younger
The kids have showed up early in the 2017 Monster Energy NASAR Cup Series season. Four drivers age 26 and younger rank in the top six of the standings: 2. Kyle Larson (24 years old, one point behind Brad Keselowski for the series lead), 3. Chase Elliott (21, -3), 5. Joey Logano (26, -13) 6. Ryan Blaney (23, -26).
Dating back to Phoenix last fall, Larson has recorded four top-three finishes in his last five races, including two runner-ups.
Elliott claims finishes of 14th (Daytona), fifth (Atlanta) and third (Las Vegas) this year. Dating back to last season, he claims more top-10 showings than any driver on the Hendrick Motorsports roster – a team that includes seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson.
The “elder statesman” of the group, Logano has finished no worse than sixth this season. He is currently on a streak of nine top-10 finishes. He won last year’s fall race at Phoenix to make the Championship 4 round of NASCAR’s playoffs.
Blaney has followed up a promising Sunoco Rookie season with finishes of second (Daytona), 18th (Atlanta) and seventh (Las Vegas) this year.
Heart Of The Phoenix: Harvick Typically Rises To The Occasion At Arizona Track
Everyone in NASCAR circles knows what a trip to Phoenix means… look out for Kevin Harvick.
The Stewart-Haas Racing driver has won six of the last nine races at the one-mile track and boasts a track-record eight victories there. He also claims 13 top-five finishes, 17 top-10 showings, 1,484 laps led and an average finish of 10.0 at Phoenix.
Last fall’s Phoenix race marked the first time in his last seven contests there that he failed to lead a lap. In those earlier six races his lowest laps led mark was 70.
Keselowski Reigns Atop The Points Standings
After finishing a disappointing 27th in the DAYTONA 500, Brad Keselowski has stormed to the top of the standings with a win at Atlanta and a fifth-place finish at Las Vegas. Keselowski looked well on his way to winning his second consecutive race in Sin City last week before a mechanical error ended his bid for victory on the penultimate lap.
Keselowski leads the standings by one point over Kyle Larson. Larson is followed by Chase Elliott (-3), Martin Truex Jr. (-5) and Joey Logano (-13). Ryan Blaney (-26), Kurt Busch (-39), Kevin Harvick (-41), Kasey Kahne (-44) and Jamie McMurray (-46) round out the top 10.
The No. 2 Ford driver has led 112 laps this season.
Remember, the first-place points standings finisher at the end of the regular season gets 15 playoff points.