Race: Subway Fresh Fit 500
Date: Saturday April 18, 2009
Track: Phoenix International Raceway
Time: 8 pm ET
This weekend is just another excuse for Jimmie Johnson to celebrate his favorite number. In case you don’t know what that is and you’ve been hidden in a cave for quite some time, that number is four. First and foremost, Johnson is on a quest for a fourth championship this year. He has won the last three consecutive years, which is an elite club in and of itself. The second reason Johnson loves the number four is because he’s on a quest for his fourth win in a row this weekend at Phoenix. He’s already mastered that task at Lowe’s Motor Speedway, and would love to be part of history again by winning this weekend.
Phoenix is undoubtedly one of Johnson’s favorite. The blue walls set it apart from the rest of the tracks as it stands bright and visible in the middle of the sweltering desert. As we swing on in to this intermediate track, you can’t help but feel the shift from the short tracks to the bigger tracks with Phoenix this weekend and Talladega right around the corner.
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Phoenix boasts a 1 mile tri-oval with a variation of banking throughout the track. The frontstretch is 1179 feet with 3 degree banking while the backstretch is 1551 feet with 9 degree banking. Turns three and four also share that same banking as the backstretch, while turns one and two yield 11 degree banking.
Picking a winner for this race is almost as easy as picking the most hated driver. That being said, Jimmie Johnson is sure going to give everyone a run for their money. Not only does he want that fourth win in a row, he’s just that good and there’s a high probability that he will do it. Other contenders that I am expecting to see at the front are the Roush group along with Jeff Burton and Kevin Harvick. Both Harvick and Burton have previous wins here and have been showing some strength in trying to get back to the front. The Roush guys are just awesome on these types of tracks. Intermediate tracks are where you’ll see Jack taking his drivers.
All in all, you’d be a fool to count out Johnson, but based on current
running status, I’m going to have to throw Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick
at the front of the pack. I think Harvick is hungry for
that win this year and I’m going to throw him in there as my pick for the
week. Gordon is just so darn consistent this season, so there’s never counting
him out, but I think Gordon’s focus is remaining on the top prize of that
Here’s a recap of you current top 12 in points:
1. Jeff Gordon
2. Jimmie Johnson
3. Kurt Busch
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Tony Stewart
6. Denny Hamlin
7. Kyle Busch
8. Carl Edwards
9. Matt Kenseth
10. Kasey Kahne
11. David Reutimann
12. Jeff Burton
Now make sure to remember that this race is under the lights! Phoenix brings the bright blue walls and the excitement under the night sky! This is sure to be a thriller and definitely a race to watch. Stay tuned Saturday night!