Welcome NASCAR race fans to my NASCAR blog. Sunday afternoon the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series raced in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 race at the Phoenix International Raceway. This race is a short event, 312 laps around this one mile track being 500K, not miles. Because of this, the reporters tell us the racing will be exciting with everyone running into each other to get to the front. This NASCAR fan does not base the excitement level by the amount of caution flags, but by the racing and lead changes.
55 Mark Martin, this year racing only 26 races for MWR’s Toyota, captured the pole on Saturday with a speed of 136.814 mph and 26.313 seconds around this one mile track. The track was newly reconfigured last year and Kasey Kahne, also in a Toyota won that first race last Fall.14 Tony Stewart sits next to him on the front row. Brakes will be an issue today as, if they use the brakes too much, they will overheat and melt the bead around the tire. 17 Matt Kenseth is in a back-up car after crashing in practice. Last year in this race, Kurt Busch was leading the race, but ran out of fuel. Jeff Gordon won the race instead.
So, here we go! 55 Mark Martin leads from the pole, then backs up, letting 14 Tony Stewart lead. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya scrapes the wall. 55 and 5 Kasey Kahne race side by side for seventh. 48 Jimmie Johnson drives under 78 Regan Smith for position. 48 is catching the leader 14 as we go to the commercial. During the commercial, 48 takes the lead and the first caution comes out as 15 Clint Bowyer cuts a tire.
7 Robby Gordon stays out to lead a lap before pitting, but is not credited with leading the lap. 29 Kevin Harvick leads at the restart. 5 smacks into the wall. He got loose and almost spun out after someone behind him hit him. He heads for the pits and then to the garage. 15 cuts another tire and hits the wall, but gets off the track and there is no caution.
48 drives under 11 Denny Hamlin for third. 24 Jeff Gordon drives on the apron to get by 2 Brad Keselowski. 20 Joey Logano and 16 Greg Biffle get together. The second caution comes out on lap 60 for debris on the track. 48 and 51 Kurt Busch are out of the pits first. 51 leads but 48 drives under him to lead. 18 Kyle Busch and 17 drive under 51. 11 and 29 drive under 51.
The third caution comes out during the commercial when 13 Casey Mears gets loose and backs into the wall. 36 Dave Blaney gets back onto the lead lap. 18 and 29 take two tires and come onto the track first. The fourth caution comes out when 22 A. J. Allmendinger gets loose and spins 27 Paul Menard, collecting 1 Jamie McMurray. 48 makes three pit stops to correct a vibration and restarts from the rear. 18 and 29 stay out and 29 takes the lead. 2 gets by 18 for second. 18 and 29 race for the lead and 18 finally keeps it. 55 and 11 race for sixth and 55 gets by.
18 and 29 again battle for the lead, 18 gets going too fast and has to slam on the brakes. 29 takes the lead. 55 gets by 18 for second. 18 starts Green Flag Pitting. 2 leads, 11 leads, 24 leads, 17 leads, 31 Jeff Burton leads. 56 Martin Truex, Jr. leads before pitting, as does 1. After the pitting 29 is back in the lead. (48 is up to eighth after pitting three times the last caution, with no caution to aid him.) 1 is smoking and gets Black Flagged to get off the track.
The fifth caution comes out with 84 laps to go for debris on the track. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya gets his lap back. 29 and 55 come out of the pits first, but 56 stays out as they cannot make it on fuel from here anyway. 31 dives onto the apron and gets squirrelly, but saves it. 2 and 11 race for third and 11 takes the spot. 29 is catching leader 56.
10 David Reutimann is smoking, bringing out the sixth caution. 47 Bobby Labonte gets back onto the lead lap. 14 is coasting, turns off the engine and can’t get it refired with the new fuel injection system. 11 and 29 are up front for the restart. 11 takes the lead The seventh caution comes out when 39 Ryan Newman and 99 Carl Edwards are racing side by side and 99 gets loose into 39, spinning him. 48 and 78 get by. 93 Travis Kvapil gets his lap back.
11 and 2 are out front for the restart. 2 takes the lead, but overdrives and 11 takes the lead. 29 drives under 16 for second. 48 and 2 race side by side, and 2 finally gets by. 31 is off the pace. 9 Marcos Ambrose blows up. 48 gets by 2.
29 is catching leader 11, but runs out of fuel on the Final Lap. 11 Denny Hamlin wins the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway, his eighteenth career win. 29 Kevin Harvick coasts into second, followed by 16 Greg Biffle, 48 Jimmie Johnson, 2 Brad Keselowski, 18 Kyle Busch, 56 Martin Truex, Jr., 24 Jeff Gordon, 55 Mark Martin and 20 Joey Logano for the top ten.
Denny Hamlin moves up three spots in points to sit on top. Greg Biffle moves up a spot into second. Kevin Harvick moves up four positions into third, while Matt Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. drop three positions into fourth and fifth. Martin Truex, Jr. gains six positions into sixth. Mark Martin moves up three spots into seventh. Joey Logano gains a spot to eighth, Kyle Busch gains eight spots to ninth while Carl Edwards looses two positions into tenth. There were fourteen different leaders in this race. That made the race exciting.
Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. I Love NASCAR racing.