New name, same game. NASCAR heads to the newly renamed ISM Raceway (formerly known as Phoenix International Speedway) with it’s two top series’, Xfinity and Monster Energy. With the name of the new speedway is also a new title sponsor, as TicketGuardian takes the place of Camping World.
A Preview of the TicketGuardian 500 – Your Guess Is As Good As Mine
The three most notable names from last year’s race was Ryan Newman, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano. All three of them shared significant stats, reflecting their success at that speedway. Newman won the race, being his second win there in his career. Kyle Busch lead 114 laps, more than anyone else during that race. And finally, the least important of the three stats, is Joey Logano winning pole position. He finished the race in fourth.
Out of the three names highlighted, the most successful one in present time is Kyle Busch. He was able to get a second place finish last week in Las Vegas, trailing behind Kevin Harvick. Harvick held a comfortable lead, but it didn’t come without controversy. Later in the week, questions arose online with photos of Harvick’s rear window looking somewhat disturbed. The window was dented inwards. Because of this alleged manipulation (or not, I don’t know), Harvick was penalized by 20 points.
But when we put drama aside, Harvick is still a threat. He’s won the past two races, three if you include an Xfinity win. He’s showing all the signs that Martin Truex Jr. did last year, when he dominantly won the MENCS Championship.
Now let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Every driver has their most successful track length. Both of Harvick’s wins were at 1.5 mile tracks. This weekend, we head to our smallest track so far this season – 1 mile. In two weeks, that will be topped (or lackthereof) by Martinsville Speedway, which is just above half a mile in length. But my point is, Harvick might not have such a dominant performance at a smaller track. While Harvick is a name to watch, I expect a different name in victory lane.
If I can make a bold prediction for this race, it’s that Jimmie Johnson will break his slump and have a great race. Jimmie Johnson, no, the whole Hendrick Motorsport team has had a rough start to the season so far, and it’s time that they put on a good performance. Johnson has won at Phoenix many times, and is overall a reliable name on shorter tracks. That’s my bold prediction for the week.
We are still early in the season, and there is so much that we don’t know, but after this week I think we will have a full feeling for how the season will pan out. Because after this weekend, we have witnessed a Superspeedway race, a 1.5 track, and a 1 mile track.
Tune in Sunday at 3:30PM EST to witness the race.
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