Everything you need to know about NASCAR’S The Profit on CNBC 500 Sunday at Phoenix

Leave a comment
If you’re a die-hard NASCAR fan, you can never get enough statistics.
Thanks to NASCAR’s crack stats crew, here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race begins at 3 pm ET:
 
PHOENIX-SPECIFIC STATISTICS
                                                                               
Driver highlights:
Greg Biffle (No. 16 3M Ford)
·        Five top fives, seven top 10s
·        Average finish of 13.9
·        Average Running Position of 14.8, ninth-best
·        Driver Rating of 91.6, ninth-best
·        286 Fastest Laps Run, fifth-most
·        793 Green Flag Passes, fifth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.243 mph, 10th-fastest
·        3,242 Laps in the Top 15 (56.9%), 11th-most
·        392 Quality Passes (passes of cars in the top 15 under green), ninth-most
Kurt Busch (No. 41 Haas Automation Chevrolet)
·        One win, five top fives, 12 top 10s
·        Average finish of 13.5
·        Average Running Position of 10.6, fourth-best
·        Driver Rating of 98.0, seventh-best
·        287 Fastest Laps Run, fourth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.351 mph, seventh-fastest
·        3,953 Laps in the Top 15 (73.4%), sixth-most
·        386 Quality Passes, 10th-most
Kyle Busch (No. 18 Skittles Toyota)
·        One win, three top fives, 11 top 10s; two poles
·        Average finish of 13.5
·        Average Running Position of 12.0, seventh-best
·        Driver Rating of 97.4, eighth-best
·        248 Fastest Laps Run, sixth-most
·        794 Green Flag Passes, third-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.364 mph, sixth-fastest
·        4,505 Laps in the Top 15 (79.1%), third-most
·        Series-high 527 Quality Passes
Carl Edwards (No. 99 Subway Ford)
·        Two wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s; three poles
·        Average finish of 12.3
·        Average Running Position of 12.7, eighth-best
·        Driver Rating of 100.0, third-best
·        354 Fastest Laps Run, second-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.439 mph, fourth-fastest
·        3,865 Laps in the Top 15 (67.9%), eighth-most
·        399 Quality Passes, eighth-most
Jeff Gordon (No. 24 PEPSI MAX Chevrolet)
·        Two wins, 10 top fives, 20 top 10s; three poles
·        Average finish of 11.5
·        Average Running Position of 10.5, third-best
·        Driver Rating of 99.4, fourth-best
·        222 Fastest Laps Run, eighth-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.337 mph, eighth-fastest
·        4,563 Laps in the Top 15 (80.1%), second-most
·        410 Quality Passes, sixth-most
Denny Hamlin (No. 11 FedEx Office Toyota)
·        One win, eight top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
·        Average finish of 10.9
·        Average Running Position of 11.7, sixth-best
·        Driver Rating of 98.2, sixth-best
·        237 Fastest Laps Run, seventh-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.400 mph, fifth-fastest
·        3,894 Laps in the Top 15 (72.4%), seventh-most
·        382 Quality Passes, 11th-most
Kevin Harvick (No. 4 Jimmy John’s Chevrolet)
·        Four wins, seven top fives, 11 top 10s
·        Average finish of 12.3
·        Average Running Position of 10.7, fifth-best
·        Driver Rating of 101.3, second-best
·        308 Fastest Laps Run, third-most
·        743 Green Flag Passes, 10th-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.482 mph, third-fastest
·        4,334 Laps in the Top 15 (76.1%), fourth-most
·        418 Quality Passes, fifth-most
Jimmie Johnson (No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet)
·        Four wins, 14 top fives, 17 top 10s; two poles
·        Average finish of 6.3
·        Series-best Average Running Position of 6.9
·        Series-best Driver Rating of 116.7
·        Series-high 574 Fastest Laps Run
·        722 Green Flag Passes, 11th-most
·        Series-best Average Green Flag Speed of 125.835 mph
·        Series-high 5,009 Laps in the Top 15 (88.0%)
·        498 Quality Passes, second-most
Matt Kenseth (No. 20 Home Depot Husky Toyota)
·        One win, five top fives, nine top 10s; one pole
·        Average finish of 17.4
·        Average Running Position of 16.1, 12th-best
·        Driver Rating of 86.1, 11th-best
·        172 Fastest Laps Run, 10th-most
·        789 Green Flag Passes, seventh-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.166 mph, 11th-fastest
·        3,344 Laps in the Top 15 (58.7%), 10th-most
·        409 Quality Passes, seventh-most
Brad Keselowski (No. 2 Alliance Truck Parts Ford)
·        Two top fives, three top 10s
·        Average finish of 17.1
·        Driver Rating of 85.9, 12th-best
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.280 mph, ninth-fastest
Ryan Newman (No. 31 Quicken Loans Chevrolet)
·        One win, eight top fives, nine top 10s; four poles
·        Average finish of 18.7
·        Average Running Position of 15.3, 10th-best
·        Driver Rating of 87.1, 10th-best
·        768 Green Flag Passes, eighth-most
·        3,723 Laps in the Top 15 (65.4%), ninth-most
·        487 Quality Passes, third-most
Tony Stewart (No. 14 Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevrolet)
·        One win, eight top fives, 12 top 10s
·        Average finish of 12.0
·        Average Running Position of 10.2, second-best
·        Driver Rating of 99.2, fifth-best
·        220 Fastest Laps Run, ninth-most
·        716 Green Flag Passes, 12th-most
·        Average Green Flag Speed of 125.493 mph, second-fastest
·        4,146 Laps in the Top 15 (77.0%), fifth-most
·        440 Quality Passes, fourth-most
                                                                               
Chase Contenders
The Top 16
Following Race 1 of 36
                                                                               
Driver Points Wins Poles Week Rating
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr. 48 1 0 0 133.1
2. Denny Hamlin 43 0 0 0 113.8
3. Brad Keselowski 42 0 0 0 117.1
4. Jeff Gordon 40 0 0 0 102.7
5. Jimmie Johnson 40 0 0 0 101.2
6. Matt Kenseth 38 0 0 0 98.2
7. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 37 0 0 0 72.0
8. Greg Biffle 37 0 0 0 94.1
9. Austin Dillon 36 0 1 0 83.4
10. Casey Mears 34 0 0 0 80.8
11. Joey Logano 34 0 0 0 104.1
12. Kevin Harvick 31 0 0 0 85.1
13. Jamie McMurray 30 0 0 0 73.8
14. Bobby Labonte 29 0 0 0 46.2
15. Reed Sorenson 28 0 0 0 69.3
16. Carl Edwards 28 0 0 0 87.0

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Winners List:
Winner                                                     Track_________ ________________     
1. Dale Earnhardt Jr.                 Daytona International Speedway
                                                                               
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 2014 Top 10 at Phoenix International Raceway

Rank Driver Races Poles Wins Top Fives Top 10s DNFs Average Finish Driver Rating
1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 23 0 2 6 10 3 17 84
2 Denny Hamlin 17 1 1 8 9 0 10.9 98.2
3 Brad Keselowski 9 0 0 2 3 1 17.1 85.9
4 Jeff Gordon 30 3 2 10 20 3 11.5 99.4
5 Jimmie Johnson 21 2 4 14 17 0 6.3 116.7
6 Matt Kenseth 23 1 1 5 9 3 17.4 86.1
7 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 2 0 0 0 0 0 14 72.9
8 Greg Biffle 20 0 0 5 7 1 13.9 91.6
9 Austin Dillon 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Casey Mears 19 0 0 0 0 4 26.2 61.1
* – Based on last 18 races at Phoenix International Raceway (2005 – 2013).
                                                                               
Phoenix International Raceway:
History
·        Construction was completed in January 1964. The facility consisted of a one-mile oval and a 2.5-mile road course.
·        Alan Kulwicki won the first NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix on Nov. 6, 1988.
·        The first spring race was held on April 23, 2005 and also the first night race, which was won by Kurt Busch.
·        The track underwent its first repave in 2011. The construction began in March and concluded in September of that year.
·        The following changes were made during the construction period (March – Sept. 2011):
o   Widened the frontstretch from 52 to 62 feet
o   Reconfigured pit road with the installation of concrete pit stalls
o   Pushed the dog-leg curve between Turn 2 and Turn 3 out 95 feet
o   Tightened the turn radius of the dog-leg from 800 to 500 feet
o   Implemented variable banking to ensure the immediate use of two racing grooves, including 10-11 degree banking between Turn 1 and Turn 2; 10-11 degree banking in the apex of the dog-leg; and 8-9 degree banking in Turn 4
                                                                               
Notebook
·        There have been 35 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix International Raceway, one per season from 1988-2004 and two each season since.
·        186 drivers have competed in at least one NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix; 138 in more than one.
·        Mark Martin leads series in starts at Phoenix with 34; followed by Jeff Gordon and Bobby Labonte with 30 each.
·        Geoffrey Bodine won the first pole in 1988 at a speed of 123.203 mph (29.220 sec.).
·        There have been 19 different Coors Light pole winners, led by Ryan Newman with four.
·        Youngest Phoenix pole winner: Kyle Busch (4/22/06 – 20 years, 11 months, 20 days).
·        Oldest Phoenix pole winner: Mark Martin (03/03/13 – 54 years, 1 month, 22 days).
·        Ryan Newman, Jeff Gordon and Carl Edwards are the only drivers to win consecutive poles. Newman won three straight (2002-04), while Gordon won the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007. Edwards won the fall of 2010 and spring of 2011.
·        Denny Hamlin (November, 2005) and AJ Allmendinger (April, 2010) won their first career Coors Light poles at Phoenix International Raceway.
·        There have been 23 different NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winners at Phoenix, eight have won more than once, led by Jimmie Johnson, with four – (’07 Chase race, ’08 spring race and Chase race, ’09 Chase race).
·        The eight drivers who have won more than once at Phoenix: Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick lead the series in wins(four each), Davey Allison (two), Jeff Burton (two), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (two), Jeff Gordon (two)Carl Edwards (two) and Mark Martin (two).
·        Of the eight drivers with multiple wins at Phoenix International Raceway, Mark Martin is the only driver to win in two different manufacturers: Ford (1993) and Chevrolet (2009).
·        Four of the 35 (11.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Phoenix have been won from the Coors Light pole:Jeff Gordon (spring 2007), Jimmie Johnson (fall 2008), Mark Martin (spring 2009) and Carl Edwards (fall 2010).
·        Seven of the 35 (20%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from the front row: four from the pole and three from second-place.
·        17 of the 35 (48.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position inside the top 10.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads the series in average finishes at Phoenix with a 6.3; he is the only active driver with an average finish inside the top 10.
·        Ricky Rudd won the 1995 race from the 29th-place starting position, the furthest back a race winner has started.
·        Matt Kenseth won the 2002 race from the 28th-place starting position, the furthest back an active race winner has started.
·        18 of the 35 (51.4%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 10.
·        3 of the 35 (8.5%) NASCAR Sprint Cup races at Phoenix have been won from a starting position outside the top 20.
·        Five drivers have won consecutive races at Phoenix: Davey Allison (1991,1992); Jeff Burton (2000, 2001); Dale Earnhardt Jr. (2003, 2004); Kevin Harvick (swept 2006); Jimmie Johnson is the only one of the five to win three consecutive races (fall 2007, swept 2008).
·        Hendrick Motorsports leads the series in wins at Phoenix with nine, followed by Roush Fenway Racing with seven.
·        Two perfect Driver Ratings of 150.0 have been recorded at Phoenix, Kurt Busch in April of 2005 and Kevin Harvick in November of 2006.
·        Youngest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix International Raceway winner: Kyle Busch (11/13/2005 – 20 years, 6 months, 11 days).
·        Oldest NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Phoenix International Raceway winner: Mark Martin (4/18/2009 – 50 years, 3months, 9 days).
·        Mark Martin leads the series in runner-up finishes at Phoenix with five; followed by Jimmie Johnson and Tony Stewart with three each.
·        Jimmie Johnson leads the series in top-five finishes at Phoenix with 14.
·        Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Bobby Hamilton (10/27/1996) are the only two drivers to post their first NASCAR Sprint Cup career win at Phoenix International Raceway.
·        21 of the 23 NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers who have won at Phoenix participated in at least two or more races before visiting Victory Lane. Alan Kulwicki (11/6/1988) and Tony Stewart (11/7/1999) are the only two drivers to win at Phoenix in their first appearance.
·        Jeff Gordon competed at Phoenix International Raceway 16 times before winning (4/21/2007); the longest span of any the 23 winners.
·        Six drivers have made 10 or more attempts before their first win at Phoenix: Jeff Gordon (16), Ryan Newman(15), Kasey Kahne (14), Denny Hamlin (13), Carl Edwards (12) and Rusty Wallace (11).
·        Bobby Labonte leads the series (active drivers) with the most NASCAR Sprint Cup Series starts at Phoenix without visiting Victory Lane with 30.
·        Since the advent of electronic scoring the closest margin of victory in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at Phoenix was the April 10, 2010 race won by Ryan Newman with a MOV of 0.13 seconds.
·        Two drivers have won at Phoenix and the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship in the same season:Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009); Dale Earnhardt (1990).
·        Danica Patrick is the only female driver that has made a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series start at Phoenix International Raceway.
Driver
Starting Position
Finishing Position
Date
Danica Patrick
37
17
11/11/2012
Danica Patrick
40
39
3/3/2013
Danica Patrick
32
33
11/10/2013
·        Car numbers that have produced three or more Phoenix wins:

Car Number – Drivers – (Years)
o   No. 48  – Jimmie Johnson (2007, 2008 sweep and 2009)
o   No. 99 – Carl Edwards (2010 and 2013) and Jeff Burton (2000, 2001)
o   No. 29 – Kevin Harvick (2006 sweep, 2012 and 2013)
o   No. 5 – Mark Martin (2009), Kyle Busch (2005) and Terry Labonte (1994)

Phoenix International Raceway Data
Season Race #: 2 of 36 (3-2-14)
Track Size: 1-mile
Banking/Turn 1 & 2: 10-11 degrees
Banking/Turn 3 & 4: 8-9 degrees
Banking/Frontstretch: 3 degrees
Banking/Backstretch: 8-9 degrees
Frontstretch Length: 1,179 feet
Backstretch Length: 1,551 feet
Race Length: 312 laps / 500 Kilometers

Top 10 Driver Ratings at Phoenix
Jimmie Johnson………………….. 116.7
Kevin Harvick……………………… 101.3
Carl Edwards……………………… 100.0
Jeff Gordon………………………….. 99.4
Tony Stewart………………………… 99.2
Denny Hamlin………………………. 98.2
Kurt Busch…………………………… 98.0
Kyle Busch………………………….. 97.4
Greg Biffle…………………………… 91.6
Ryan Newman…………………….. 87.1
Note: Driver Ratings compiled from 2005-2013 races (18 total) among active drivers at Phoenix International Raceway.

Qualifying/Race Data
2013 pole winner: Mark Martin, Toyota, 138.074 mph, 26.073 secs. 3-1-13
2013 race winner: Carl Edwards, Ford, 105.187 mph, (03:00:15), 3-3-13
Track qualifying record: Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, 139.222 mph, 25.858 secs. 11-8-13
Track race record: Tony Stewart, Pontiac, 118.132 mph, (2:38:28), 11-7-99

NASCAR in Arizona
·        There have been 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup races among three tracks in Arizona.
Track Name
City
NSCS
Phoenix International Raceway
Avondale
35
Arizona State Fairgrounds
Phoenix
4
Tucson Rodeo Grounds
Tucson
1
·        32 drivers in NASCAR national series history have their home state recorded as Arizona.
·        None of the drivers from Arizona have won a race in NASCAR’s three national series.
                                                                               
Follow me @JerryBonkowski
                                                                               

IndyCar: Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama Recap

Photo: IndyCar
Leave a comment

After two days, with both featuring a lot of rain, the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama is finally in the books for the Verizon IndyCar Series.

With Mother Nature intervening with rain and fury over both days, it’s understandable if there’s a sense of relief that the weekend at Barber Motorsports Park is behind us.

Still, as is usually the case, Barber produced plenty of thrills, and a few spills, across the weekend of racing.

A recap of big stories to emerge from the weekend is below.

Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Head…

Mother Nature was ever present on Sunday and Monday, dropping a lot of rain on Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

Rain races can be very fun and entertaining…if they’re able to run. Sadly, that just wasn’t the case on Sunday.

The undulating and picturesque Barber Motorsports Park is one of the most striking road courses in the country, and often produces some of the best racing anywhere. But, the nature of the track and its dramatic elevation changes can make it susceptible to standing water in heavy rains.

And that’s the exact scenario that played out on Sunday, with heavy and persistent rain hitting the track late in the morning, and hanging around the entire day.

While INDYCAR officials and Barber track crews worked tirelessly on Sunday to disperse the standing water, the rainfall was simply too heavy for them to make any impact.

While very unfortunate, postponing the finish of the race to Monday was the right decision, as several drivers explained.

“It’s tough because we have so many people that come out here to watch us,” said eventual race winner Josef Newgarden following the Sunday postponement. “We want to put on a good race. We want to put on a show. So calling the race, running around behind the pace car not running, it’s tough, it’s tough to do that. But I think it was the right thing in the end. When we started the race, the conditions were OK. You could run at that level of rain. Then, it intensified right before that first caution. I think when the caution came out, it got to a point where it was just too much.”

Graham Rahal echoed Newgarden’s sentiments, also emphasizing poor visibility as a big factor in making the conditions too treacherous.

“It was a tough beginning, but when we kind of got going it was OK and kind of fun to challenge for a while, but visibility was a major issue (on Sunday), no doubt. I’m glad that the series postponed it. I would have like to get it in (on Sunday), but that’s life,” he explained.

Rest assured, Firestone makes a strong rain tire, and IndyCar teams, drivers, and track crews are more than equipped to handle a rain shower from Mother Nature. But, Sunday’s weather was simply too extreme.

Newgarden Shines in the Rain and the Sun

Josef Newgarden in Victory Lane at Barber Motorsports Park. Photo: IndyCar

About the only thing as powerful as Mother Nature during the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama was Team Penske’s Josef Newgarden.

Last year’s IndyCar champion was quickest at the end of Friday’s practices, scored the pole on Saturday, and led all but nine laps across Sunday and Monday.

And his leads were always decisive. He quickly gapped the field when racing started on Sunday, holding down a gap of as much seven seconds over teammate Will Power in the early laps. And on Monday, he gapped the field by as much as 27 seconds during the second half of the race.

Only outside circumstances could have prevented Newgarden from getting to Victory Lane…and that nearly happened. A late rain shower in the final minutes created split strategies across the field, with Newgarden among those opting for rain tires, while Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay and Dale Coyne Racing’s Sebastien Bourdais gambled by staying out on slicks.

Hunter-Reay, however, jumped into the pits soon after for rain tires, a move that helped him eventually finish second, while Coyne and Bourdais gambled that the track would not get wet enough to force them to pit.

Alas, with only a few minutes remaining and the rain getting heavier, conditions became too slick and Bourdais was forced to pit, handing the lead back to Newgarden and dropping Bourdais to fifth.

“More hectic than you would want at the end,” Newgarden quipped when asked about conditions at the end of the race. “It seemed like it was pretty straightforward all day. We weren’t having yellows. It was dry. Then that rain made it very nerve-racking.

Newgarden added that pitting for rain tires, and doing so early, was their best option, even though it opened the door for others to jump ahead.

“I think for us we did the only thing we could,” he said of their strategy. “We went to rains as soon as it intensified. We had to. I think it was the right thing to do, just because we’re in the lead, we have the most to lose by not putting on rains early.”

The victory, Newgarden’s second of 2018, moves him back into the championship lead with 158 points, 13 ahead of Andretti Autosport’s Alexander Rossi.

Misc.

  • Ryan Hunter-Reay enjoyed a solid weekend following a troublesome day at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The Andretti Autosport driver ranked in the Top 10 through practice, qualified a strong fourth, and ran a very clean race to finish second, his best finish of 2018, and he now sits only three points out of third place in the championship – he is currently sixth, with 113 points.
  • While teammate Robert Wickens has made more headlines, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe is having one of the best early-season efforts of his IndyCar career. With finishes of fourth, sixth, ninth, and second to his name through four races, Hinch sits fifth in the standings on 118 points, and is keeping himself well within reach of the championship lead. A race win would do wonders for his championship standing, but the consistent start puts him in a good position heading into the month of May.
  • Conversely, four-time champion Scott Dixon has yet to finish on the podium in 2018 – his best finish is fourth at ISM Raceway. Still, at seventh in the standings with 107 points, Dixon is within striking distance despite the quiet start.
  • Elsewhere, Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have had comparatively disastrous starts to their seasons. Power has hit the wall in three of the first four races, while Pagenaud only has a best finish of ninth, coincidentally at Barber this weekend, through four races. Power sits tenth in the championship on 81 points, while Pagenaud languishes down in 15th on 66.
  • He made not have made many friends out there, but Zachary Claman De Melo gave viewers some thrills after the Monday restart, pushing his way through the field despite being two laps down. It also created one of the highlights of the race, with he and Spencer Pigot going for a slide through Turns 7 and 8 (video below). For his efforts, Claman De Melo recorded the fastest lap of the race on his way to finishing 19th.

The Verizon IndyCar Series now has two weeks before their next race, the INDYCAR Grand Prix on May 11-12. However, the series will be plenty busy, with testing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway kicking off next week.

Follow@KyleMLavigne