So Kevin Harvick at 3/1 really was that simple.
Harvick’s fourth straight win at Phoenix, second straight win overall and seventh finish of second or better is the story coming out of Phoenix. Still, there are other winners and losers from Sunday’s Campingworld.com500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
Win: Martin Truex Jr.
With an underfunded team, Truex Jr. has finished 10th or better in every race this year. Currently, he sits fourth in the Sprint Cup standings. Chances are at least two teams will make the Chase on points alone. Truex Jr. is already 23 points clear of any other driver without a win.
Sure, it’s only four races. But I think many people forget Truex Jr. was consistently as Chase contender with Michael Waltrip Racing and only got shuffled out because of that debacle at Richmond. This success, and where it could take Truex Jr. next year, is starting to become quite the story.
There wasn’t a single Toyota in the top-10. There were only two cars in the top-2o. Both Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin have good history at this track, making the down day that much more of a surprise.
Bad days happen. But Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond all host races before May. If there’s a short track challenge with Toyota, it could be a rough May for Joe Gibbs and Michael Waltrip.
Draw: Tony Stewart
As an owner, Tony Stewart had a great day. Kevin Harvick continued one of the hottest streaks in Sprint Cup history. Kurt Busch is off the suspended list and well on his way to the top-30; so, if he wins a race he makes the Chase. Danica Patrick has made some progress on tracks where she used to struggle.
As a driver, Tony Stewart is in a slump. Kurt Busch amassed more points in one race than Stewart has in four. Everyone gets what Stewart has dealt with the past two years, but to see this volume of challenges so early in the Sprint Cup season is surprising.
NASCAR stays out west with a visit to California where Kevin Harvick will look to keep up this blazing pace. Enjoy March Madness, and insert a random catchphrase here.