Tony Stewart – Can anyone stop Tony Stewart? I’m guessing not this week. Tony Stewart has spent 4 days testing at Phoenix and the 14 team sounds confident. The determination level of this team can’t be matched and their willing their way to the championship. I know if I were Carl Edwards I would be scared. Stewart finished 7th and 9th at Richmond this year and he had one of the better cars at Phoenix in February. *** August Tire Test Participant
Kevin Harvick – Kevin Harvick is a quick learner and he’ll be a contender for the win in the Kobalt Tools 500. Hopefully you read my post about how I theorize Phoenix will race like Richmond. It will help you understand my fantasy perspective as we venture into the unknown. At Richmond Kevin Harvick won and led more than half the race (202 laps).
Here’s what Kevin Harvick said about the new PHOENIX TRACK CONFIGURATION
Jeff Gordon – Gordon won at the old Phoenix track configuration earlier this year but in NASCAR sometimes the more things change the more they stay the same. I expect Jeff Gordon to be strong once again when the green flag waves in the Kobalt Tools 500. Gordon has been perhaps the best driver in the series on this track type in 2011 and at Richmond he had the field covered in the regular season finale. His downfall was pit road and poor restarts. At Richmond he finished 3rd and had the 5th best driver rating 108.4.
Here’s what Jeff Gordon said about the new PHOENIX TRACK CONFIGURATION
Carl Edwards – Edwards is the defending champion and earlier this year he won the pole at the old Phoenix track configuration. What happened on the old configuration is still viable fantasy information. It may not be as important as studying Richmond but it still has its place. At Richmond in September Carl Edwards was very impressive but the 99 team utilized the wrong pit strategy. He finished second but if Paul Menard didn’t spin bringing out the last caution then he would’ve finished pretty poorly. Edwards had the second best average running position in that race (4th). *** August Tire Test Participant
Kyle Busch – Kyle Busch has tested at the newly reconfigured Phoenix multiple times. At Richmond Kyle Busch is a three-time winner and he’s only finished lower than 16th twice in fourteen races. He won in April and in the regular season finale he finished 6th despite having damage and going a lap down because of a caution during the pit cycle. The last time NASCAR visited a new track Busch emerged the victor. *** August Tire Test Participant
Here’s what Kyle Busch said about the new PHOENIX TRACK CONFIGURATION
Jimmie Johnson – The 48 team is out of the title hunt but look for a smart team to win this week. Are any teams smarter than the 48 crew? Johnson was the class of the field on the old track configuration and I think he’ll really miss it. Johnson finished 31st at Richmond this fall due to Kurt Busch wrecking him but he looked to have a top ten car. In the four preceding races he finished in the top eleven every race. *** August Tire Test Participant
Denny Hamlin – Hamlin has always excelled on tracks that are shorter in the series. I expect him also to excel in the Kobalt Tools 500. Last year he had the field covered but of course it’s a different track now. I think things will start to go Hamlin’s way as the Chase winds down. The 11 team has been working on 2012 stuff and I think they’ll start showing their hand.
Kurt Busch – Busch got off to a fast start in the Chase but since he won at Dover he’s either finished in the teens or thirties. Their due to bounce back and I think this will be the week. He participated in the August tire test in addition to the October open test. It should be assumed that they have superior notes and when you combine that with how he performed at Richmond this fall (5th) I think good things can happen. **** August Tire Test Participant