Now on to Phoenix. I like watching all the activities of Speedweeks when it rolls around every year. It means that the NASCAR season is upon us. Preparing for the Daytona 500 is a different element. Qualifying has two parts. You have qualifying day where the front is determined. the other drivers that day are then sorted out into two dual races which sets the field for the 500. The 500 is the only race on the circuit that has this type of qualifying. Teams can’t judge where their season will end up after the 500. I mean look where Jimmie Johnson is now sitting. You can’t tell me he won’t be challenging for the championship come fall.
This week begins the real start of the season. This is wear teams begin their normal routines fo race week. The boys are in Phoenix this weekend. This will be the 2nd race on the new configuration. Phoenix has over the last couple been a place where drivers who have had a long winless streak have won. Last year it was Kasey Kahne in the fall race and Jeff Gordon in spring race. Will Phoenix have the same result this year? Will a driver who has not seen victory lane in a while win? Or will it be a driver from Hendrick Motorsports? From what I can tell HMS drivers have a pretty good record at PIR. Here is what I found regarding HMS current paddock of drivers. Jimmie has 4 wins at PIR. Jeff and Dale have 2 wins. While Kasey has one. From these numbers HMS is a strong team going into PIR.
But I wouldn’t count out the Roush drivers either. Ford has shown how strong they are already in the season. Matt Kenseth not only won his dual race, but the Dayton 500. Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle qualified for the front row last week. Greg finished 2nd and Carl finished 8th.
As we know, I will be strongly cheering for my driver Tony Stewart. He has not won at PIR since 1999. He has 8 Top 5s and 11 top 10s. I am hoping he has a good showing at PIR this week. I was unhappy with his finish at Daytona 500 after winning his dual race and starting the 500 3rd.
But what we know about NASCAR, each race is different and sometimes it can be a crap shoot on who is going to win.
One more thing from Daytona and this will be it. I was planning on writing a post about the influence of social media on the sport. The impact of social media came to the forefront on Monday night. After Juan Pablo’s car crashed into the jet dryer Brad Keselowski from his car snapped a picture with his phone and sent it out via Twitter. Now this was the first time something like this occurred. During the fire delay we saw Brad tweeting from his phone while other drivers gathered around him. During this time, the number of followers for Brad increased dramatically. I wasn’t one of the people who joined up on Monday, I had already been following him. But I found myself following all the action during this delay via Twitter. Normally during a delay I have been known to flip back and forth between the delay and another program. But Monday night I found myself glued to the television. I also found myself becoming part of the conversation. Some people think Brad should not have been doing this. I didn’t have a problem with it. He wasn’t driving his car AND tweeting. It was only after his car was stopped that he took to his phone. NASCAR even issued publicly Brad had not committed a violation with his tweeting on Monday. I loved it. Brad let us view NASCAR from an insider’s view. A view many of us never get to experience. Thank you Brad! I will hold off my post on social media until next week.
Happy Race Weekend everyone! Go Tony–bring home that win!