Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fan Insight: Jeff Gordon “We just beat Kyle Busch” wins the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix

(Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Welcome readers, earlier today in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, in a race that saw one red flag for around 18 minutes after a multi-car wreck on the back straightaway that was caused by Kyle Busch sending Carl Edwards a little airborn off the rumble strip. Jeff Gordon (#24-Drive to end hunger - AARP) muscled his way by Kyle Busch with 5 laps to go to snap a 66-race winless streak.

Notebook:


1. Jeff Gordon wins at Phoenix: On Sunday, the second race for Jeff Gordon with his new crew chief Alan Gustafson was strong all day long despite a good hit with the wall before the red flag with Carl Edwards. Gordon got behind Busch on the final restart, but chased down Kyle Busch and with 5 laps to go muscled his way by Busch off turn 4, down the front stretch and into turn 1 to go on and capture his first victory since April 2009.

It was interesting hearing Gordon in victory lane, I believe that he was still taking in his first victory since April 2009 and very grateful for it. When you come so close as Gordon has in the past 2 years (9+ runner-up finishes), winning is memorable for sure and in Jeff Gordon’s own words “We just beat Kyle Busch”.

2. Trevor Bayne has rough weekend to say the least: On Friday, Bayne crashed his primary #21 Cup Series car in practice after having what looked to be a brake problem heading into turn 3. But on Saturday, Bayne would once again find the outside wall as he blow a tire late in the Nationwide race. And then of course on Sunday, lap 50 saw Bayne cutting it too close with Travis Kvapil and Bayne would back into the outside wall in turn 1.

Not a good weekend at all for the 2011 Daytona 500 winner at Phoenix. But I do expect good things in 2011 for Trevor Bayne in both the Nationwide Series and the Cup Series. And there’s always next weekend in Las Vegas to turn things around.

3. Dale Earnhardt Jr. rally’s back in Phoenix: Dale Earnhardt Jr. has already had an eventful 2011, in Daytona, Dale Jr. lead laps, ran mid-pack and up front, but would get caught up in a late-race wreck and finished 24th. But at Phoenix, it looked to be the same fate when Dale Jr. would have to pit for a tire issued, however Dale Jr. would rally to finish 10th at Phoenix. Now Dale Jr. finds himself 17th in points, -25 points behind.

4. Busch Brothers 1-2 in Cup Series point’s standings: After just two races, the new point’s standings are changing things up in the Cup Series. Kyle Busch finds himself leading by -3 points over Kurt Busch.

Notables:
* Tony Stewart is 3rd, -11 behind
* Jeff Gordon is 5th, -15 behind
* Carl Edwards is 12th, -21 behind
* Jimmie Johnson is 13th, -21 behind
* Denny Hamlin is 14th, -22 behind
* Kevin Harvick is 22nd, -36 behind (he gained 15 spots this weekend)
* Jeff Burton is 32nd, -53 behind
* Brian Vickers is 33rd, -53 behind

I’m already optimistic about the new 1 point per position points system in NASCAR and it has already separated several of the top drivers. Some drivers like Jeff Burton are going to be digging out of this hole for a while. But the top 35 rule doesn’t look it will come into play for him at least.

5. Phoenix grandstands sold out for Cup race: According the PIR, Sunday’s race was sold out and in this economy that is a good thing to see. Hopefully in 2011, NASCAR sees more tracks on the verge of selling out for each Cup Series race.

6. The monkey (Kyle Busch) leads every lap and wins again at Phoenix in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race - Yeah that's two hours of my life I wouldn't get back. (Read more)

Picks for Las Vegas Cup Series race:
* Jeff Gordon
* Jimmie Johnson
* Kurt Busch

Next is Las Vegas.