AVONDALE. A.Z.— Joey Logano will start from the pole in Sunday’s Camping World 500 from Phoenix International Raceway. This is Logano’s first pole of the season, and his 18th career pole.
“I thought I had a pretty good (Turns) 1 and 2, I was able to hook the bottom. (Turns) 3 and 4 is where nothing went right. I didn’t think it was going to be quite good enough,” Logano said. “I pushed as hard as I could. Sometimes you overdrive it a little bit and you can still make some speed. Proud of this team and proud of the all-Ford front row. That’s a pretty special deal.
Logano sees this as a potential momentum builder for his team.
“This has been a good track for us and we were finally able to break through and win here last fall. I feel like we had a good car in race trim today. Our car was very fast,” said Logano.
The first round of qualifying started out silently. However, many drivers were still in inspection after the green flag flew. Jamie McMurray was the first driver to hit the track. All cars passed through tech at the halfway point of the opening round. Many drivers took two laps. All drivers made a lap in the first round. Kyle Larson was fastest at 136.695 mph, McMurray was second fastest at 136.467 mph, Ryan Blaney was third at 135.731 mph, Logano was fourth fastest at 135.583 mph, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five at 135.542 mph. No drivers will be heading home. Notable drivers who did not move on to the next round include Daniel Suarez, who will start 27th, and Aric Almirola, who will start 28th.
The middle round saw drivers hit the track quickly with Kyle Busch being the first one out. However, the caution flew in the round for debris. The team of Earnhardt Jr. believed the tire chalk was on the track, but it was still on the car. Logano was the fastest in this round at 137.065 mph, Blaney was tsecond fastest at 136.731 mph, Chase Elliott was third fastest at 136.565 mph, McMurray was fourth fastest at 136.297 mph, and Earnhardt Jr. rounded out the top-five at 136.199 mph. Notable drivers who did not advance to the third round included Clint Bowyer, who will start 13th, Jimmie Johnson, who will start 14th, Martin Truex Jr., who will start 16th, and Kevin Harvick, who will start 23rd.
The final round saw nobody hop onto the track very quickly. Earnhardt Jr. was the first onto the track. Many drivers began to hit the track with one minute remaining. Logano posted the fastest time at 137.321 mph, Blaney posted the second fastest time at 136.877 mph, Earnhardt Jr. posted the third fastest time at 136.783 mph, Larson posted the fourth fastest time at 136.654 mph, and McMurray posted the fifth fastest time at 136.302 mph.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series teams will have two practice sessions on Friday on Motor Racing Network and Fox Sports 2 at 12:00 p.m. EST and 2:30 p.m. EST.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) rolls out of Las Vegas and heads to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for the Camping World 500. The first two stages will be 75 laps while the final stage will be a 162 lap shootout.
39 drivers are scheduled to compete on Sunday. No drivers will be sent home after qualifying on Friday.
This will be the 42nd race from PIR. 22 drivers have won the pole, while 24 drivers have won a race. Five races have been won from the pole position. Tony Stewart set the race record at 118.132 mph in 1999. Jimmie Johnson holds the qualifying record set back in 2015 at 143.158 mph.
MENCS drivers are excited to return to Phoenix for the fourth race of the season.
“We’ve started off on a really positive note with this AdvoCare team so far in 2017 and I’m confident that we can continue that this weekend in Phoenix. Phoenix is a challenging track that races a lot like a short track. I’m ready to get there this weekend and hopefully we can have another solid run on Sunday,” says Trevor Bayne.
"We don’t go to any other place like it.So, that is what makes it sort of unique. There are certain racetracks that you can kind of judge off of and say ‘Oh we run well here’ and it’s going to be like ‘this’ place, so that is the kind of set-up we are going to go to. At Phoenix, you don’t go to a lot of places like it and then on top of it, you kind of start the season there and you basically end the season there. Everything that you’ve done in a nine-month span changes so much. Even if you run well at the first race you don’t guarantee yourself that you are going to run well the second race. There's a lot that goes on during the season and it’s just unique because the races are so split apart and we just don’t go to really any racetracks like it,” said AJ Allmendinger.
“Sometimes you just go to tracks where things click right away and Phoenix is definitely one of those tracks for me,” said Erik Jones. “I felt really comfortable right off the bat and I’ve always had great cars and trucks there. Some of the tendencies of the track relate back to what I was used to racing short tracks and Late Models. It has a short track feel to it even as fast as it is.”
MENCS will have one practice session on Friday at 2:00 p.m. EST on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Fox Sports 1 (FS1). Qualifying will also be on FS1 and MRN beginning at 7:30 p.m. EST. There will be two practice sessions at 12:00 p.m. EST and 2:30 p.m. EST on MRN and Fox Sports 2. The Camping World 500 will air on FOX and MRN beginning at 3:30 p.m. EST.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) rolls out of Las Vegas and heads to Phoenix International Raceway (PIR) for the DC Solar 200, the first Dash4Cash event this season. The first two stages will be 45 laps with a 110 lap shootout to the finish.
41 drivers are scheduled to compete for 40 spots this weekend at Phoenix. Only five Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) drivers are scheduled to compete in this weekend due to the rules set last season in the Dash4Cash events. MENCS drivers with less than five full years in the series can compete on Saturday.
The top-four NXS regulars who have declared points will race for the Dash4Cash. Those for regulars are determined by the top-two in the first stage and then the top-two in the second stage. Those four drivers will race against each other in hopes to win the Dash4Cash prize.
PIR has hosted 30 NXS races. There have been a total of 15 different pole winners and race winners. Only 10 races have been won from the pole position. Elliott Sadler set the race record in 2012 at 116.317 mph. Kyle Busch set the qualifying record in 2015 at 138.504 mph.
NXS drivers are excited to return to the “Valley of the Sun” for the DC Solar 200.
“Phoenix is a great market for NASCAR and one of my favorite places to visit on the schedule. I’ve had some success here and hope we can build on some things we learned there last year. Our lower downforce package is going to make it interesting for us in terms of how we adapt, but I’m confident Kevin (Meendering, crew chief) and the guys will get a handle on it quickly. We’re in a great position to be leading the points but this weekend we’re going to be focused on the Dash 4 Cash as well. It’s a great program Xfinity does for the drivers, teams and fans. It’s going to be awesome,” says Sadler.
"Phoenix is becoming one of my favorite tracks. It historically has been a difficult track to get your car to handle on and with this new package we are running that will be even a more difficult task. It will be important to utilize our practice sessions on Friday and develop a good platform for our No. 28 Toyota,” said Dakoda Armstrong.
NXS will have all of their practice sessions on Friday at 1:00 p.m, 4:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m. (All times Eastern) on Fox Sports 1. Qualifying will be held on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 2. The DC Solar 200 will air on Motor Racing Network and FOX at 4:00 p.m. EST on Saturday.
Kevin Harvick continued his dominance at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday afternoon. Harvick wins the Good Sam 500 by edging out Carl Edwards by .010 seconds in NASCAR overtime. This became the closest race in Phoenix International Raceway’s history, edging out the 2010 margin of .013 seconds. The race went 313 laps for 313 miles.
Harvick explains the final lap of the race “I felt like coming off of Turn 4 I had some momentum but I needed to do everything I could to try to scrub some momentum off of his car, and it just worked out timing, and I needed to get away, and by the time he realized that I had that momentum and he tried to do the same thing, scrub the momentum off my car, we were too far towards the start-finish line. It all worked out. Sometimes I can tell you that you plan it all that way, but sometimes you're just lucky as hell.”
Harvick continued to praise the low downforce package. “I think as drivers and as a sport, that's really the benefit -- one of the benefits of the low downforce package and the tire situation. The tire situation being the biggest thing is so you have those different strategies with the late cautions to where you have two tires, you have no tires, you probably have four tires, I'm sure, to have the comers and goers and the exciting finishes.”
Edwards, finished second, was impressed by the efforts of his team. “Well, I'm really proud of my guys for giving me a shot to win the race. We were a third-place car there at the end. Dale and Kevin were both really fast. Caution came out, Dave rolled the dice, and we got a shot at it. We made him work for it. That's more than we've been able to do here the last few times. Just a lot of fun. I really wish it would have worked out a little bit differently, but it's a good race. I ran into him about as hard as I thought I could without wrecking him, and it ended up being a drag race. It was kind of fun coming to the line because I thought, man, I got him, and then he doored me real hard and then he got a little run and then I tried to door him and slow him down, but it just didn't work.”
The caution waved five times for 30 laps during the race because of tire issues. Kasey Kahne, Ryan Newman, Paul Menard, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., all experienced tire issues. Goodyear states that tire problems were because of melted beads due to brake heat.
The Sunoco Rookie of the year battle is shaping up to be between Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney. Elliott and Blaney both finished in the top-10 of the Good Sam 500. Elliott, in his first start at Phoenix, was excited about his finish today. “First off, my guys have been bringing such fast race cars to the racetrack every week since Daytona, and I haven't been doing a very good job of getting the finishes that they deserve. I'm just happy today that we could finally finish one of these things and get a solid top-10 finish. I felt like we made gains throughout the day. The guys did a great job on pit road picking up spot there. Alan made good adjustments and gave up a couple spots on that last restart, but I was proud of the effort and hopefully we can take it and try to get a little better in Fontana.”
The race went on for 2 hours 45 minutes and 43 seconds. The average speed of the race was 113.212 mph. There were no issues in post-race inspection, but the cars of Harvick and Edwards will be taken back to the R&D Center. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch unofficially lead the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points followed by Jimmie Johnson, who is 14 points behind.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California for the final race of the West Coast Swing. The first practice will begin on Friday March 18 at 1:30 pm Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
Kyle Busch wins the pole for the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. He wins the pole with a speed of 138.287 mph. This would be Busch’s first pole of the 2016 season after the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway was taken away. With the pole being taken away at Atlanta, Kyle was more hesitant about celebrating in post-qualifying interviews, waiting for the car to go through the “room of doom”.
Joe Gibbs Racing continues to show dominance in qualifying. All four Joe Gibbs Racing teams made the final round of qualifying. Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin will start in the next two positions.
In his media availability, Carl Edwards mentioned, “The race is so different from qualifying. After about eight laps long in final practice, we will know who is fast.”
Kyle Busch had an itch of confidence coming into qualifying today. “I wasn’t going out there strutting my stuff like I was going to sit on the pole. I was trying to get a good lap in, get a good effort in, and get a good pit selection. It all transpired into being a really good day though.”
Qualifying went south for Hendrick Motorsports as two of their teams will be switching to backup cars after qualifying. Kasey Kahne posted a blazing lap in the first round of qualifying, but as he was heading back to pit road, the engine was engulfed in smoke. Kahne told Motor Racing Network’s Kim Coon, “Something happened after I shut it off. Something inside the engine. We will have to change engines,” moments after the accident occurred. Jimmie Johnson hit the wall in turn one during the final round of qualifying. He will also go to a backup car. He is not sure what happened going into the first turn. “Not so sure. Definitely a hard hit. We have a very fast racecar, I know my team will bring me a fast race car, at least we have tomorrow to work on it.”
Many notable drivers did not make the final round of qualifying. In the first round, Bowyer (35), Dale Jr. (26), Casey Mears (25), and Danica Patrick (36) failed to make the top 24 to enter the second round. In the second round, Chase Elliott (17), Kevin Harvick (18), and Brad Keselowski (19) failed to make it into the final round
A strong performance was shown from Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates in qualifying. Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray made it into the final round of qualifying. Both drivers will be starting inside the top 12 on Sunday.
On-track activities resume for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the first of two practices on Fox Sports 1 at 10:30 am.
1. Kyle Busch
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Kurt Busch
5. Jimmie Johnson
6. Matt Kenseth
7. Kyle Larson
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Joey Logano
10. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
11. Jamie McMurray
12. Ryan Blaney
13. Greg Biffle
14. Aric Almirola
15. Austin Dillon
16. Paul Menard
17. Chase Elliott
18. Kevin Harvick
19. Brad Keselowski
20. Ryan Newman
21. Trevor Bayne
22. AJ Allmendinger
23. Matt DiBenedetto
24. Kasey Kahne
25. Casey Mears
26. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
27. Landon Cassill
28. Ty Dillon
29. David Ragan
30. Brian Scott
31. Regan Smith
32. Chris Buescher
33. Michael McDowell
34. Cole Whitt
35. Clint Bowyer
36. Danica Patrick
37. Josh Wise
38. Michael Annett
39. Joey Gase