We’ve made our way to Week 4 on the season, and the end of our West Coast Swing. So far, we’ve had three different winners this year, and the last two weeks were won by Hendrick Motorsports drivers. With Kyle Larson a favorite and William Byron starting towards the front, could HMS complete the sweep of the Swing? We find out soon.
Here’s what to look for:
–Ryan Blaney was fastest on Saturday, following up last week’s extremely disappointing finish with the absolute best he could’ve done following that. This isn’t his best track, sporting a 14.3 average finish, and just three Top 5s in twelve attempts.
-Last year’s winner at this race was Martin Truex Jr. With Phoenix now being the Season Finale in the Fall, it no doubt gives race teams a boost when they’re able to capture the flag in the Spring. Truex followed up his Win in March with a heart-breaking 2nd after leading 72 laps in November. He, like Blaney, is down the list a bit in terms of average, but his last two races have proven that he knows how to get around this place.
–Kyle Larson — the most dominating driver of 2021 and the eventual champion — was our victor last year. He led 107 laps in that one which was actually a pretty intense race. Each of the four drivers who were eligible for the Cup spent time out front and looked like they could have things in hand. Ultimately, it was Larson and his #5 team rising above all others. Now, for Kyle and Phoenix? Pretty good; in his last six races the worst he’s finished is 7th — last year at this very race. He’ll have his work cut out for him today, starting from the rear after unapproved adjustments.
–Kevin Harvick has been the guy to watch in Avondale for years now. Would you believe that he has nine (9) Wins at this track? In 38 attempts. 27 Top 10s. Those are videogame numbers. And — I’m not making this is up — he is riding a laughable seventeen (17) race Top 10 streak! Like, what the heck is that? That is..wow. The last time he finished outside of the Top 10 was a 13th in 2013, and that broke up a would-be five straight Wins. Wow!
–Kyle Busch doesn’t quite have Harvick numbers at this place, but still has a pile of streaks and is our next most prolific driver at Phoenix. He’s got three Wins to his credit, including one for the 2018 Championship. Last year he laid an egg at this place, but still boasts a healthy average (10.8) through his career here. He’ll roll off 11th when the green flag drops.
Last week we had some fancy Chateaubriand for lunch, and this week we’re eating an Arizona state tradition.
Going with some Navajo tacos, a certified challenge for the uninitiated! Plenty of stages to preparing this thing; fry up some dough, mix some meat with beans, melt cheese on the bread, and pile it on. It sounds a lot easier than it is. And I’m even eating some beans in mine today, too, because I love my fiancé and she busts her hump each week preparing these things. Great job, Leese!
Coverage of the race starts on FOX at 3:30pm, green flag scheduled for 3:47pm.