Kurt Busch – This is the first real test as to what you should expect out of Kurt Busch this year. I think his results will fall between mediocre to ugly. Many speculate he’s running “good Hendrick equipment”, but I think he’s in their ” B- equipment”. Historically Phoenix is a very good track for Kurt. He has one win and ten top tens in the desert. Last fall at Phoenix Kurt led 57 laps but had late problems (finished 22nd). His Yahoo! race chart from last fall is pretty impressive (chart). Will he rise from the ashes with Phoenix Racing this week? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Aric Almirola – Last fall in the Phoenix Nationwide series race he started on the pole, led 66 laps, but crashed and finished 25th. The biggest positive for him this week is the success RPM had at Phoenix last fall. Allmendinger finished 6th and Ambrose finished 8th. The organization clearly knows something about Phoenix and for that reason he could be worth the gamble this week. I would avoid him though because of his lack of experience.
Regan Smith – Last year at Phoenix International Raceway Regan Smith crashed early in both races. His overall record at Phoenix is atrocious. His best finish is 23rd (29.6 avg finish). Richmond is the next most similar track and Smith wheeled the #78 home to finishes of 18th and 17th last year. Smith is a good qualifier at Phoenix but avoid the urge and don’t pick him.
David Ragan – Ragan didn’t have success at Phoenix in Roush Fenway cars so I’m not expecting anything different in his new ride. In fact things will only get worse because Front Row Motorsports isn’t on the same level as Roush. In ten races at PIR Ragan has one top ten finish and all of his other finishes are 19th or worse. I certainly wouldn’t recommend picking him for the Phoenix Subway Fresh Fit 500.