One of the best things about NASCAR races in Las Vegas and Phoenix is that you don’t have to worry much about the weather other than maybe the warm temperatures.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series event on Friday was great compared to the Cup Series race the next day. The track was 30 degrees warmer on Sunday, but the weather had little effect on both races.
For the first time this year, the NASCAR Xfinity Series had a repeat winner with Austin Cindric putting his number 22 Penske Mustang in the winner’s circle. This was followed by Martin Truex Jr., who became fifth different driver this year in the NASCAR Cup Series, the best Joey Logano in his issue 19 Joe Gibbs Racing Camry. It was also his first win since Martinsville Speedway last June. He is the second driver from JGR to subsequently insert the mark into the NASCAR playoffs Christopher Bell won on Daytona Road.
Also read: How Martin Truex Jr. won in Phoenix
But there were a few other events from the NASCAR weekend that needed attention and not to grab headlines. So here’s a look at the NASCAR weekend at Phoenix Raceway.
NASCAR driver going backwards?
The season started with a bang. By winning the Daytona 500, Michael McDowell secured his place in the NASCAR playoffs, leaving the rest of the season to just drive and collect as many bonus points as possible. So much for those plans after five races.
McDowell tracked his victory in the Great American Race eighth and sixth, respectively, at the Daytona Road Course and Speedway Homestead-Miami. P17 in Las Vegas was thought to be an anomaly, but it was P23 in Phoenix on Sunday.
As for collecting bonus points in the playoffs, he doesn’t have them. He did not win a stage in any NASCAR race. As for the stage points, he has exactly four. He is equated with Cole Custer and Matt DiBenedetto, with only Aric Almirola (3) and Ross Chastain (2) behind him.
It’s still early, but the trend must worry Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports. His second car, driven by Anthony Alfredo, fights with the best of the P22 season. The drop in 87 laps ended his day on Sunday. However, McDowell was getting the props for success in the early season, and there was talk of his great season. Now?
As NASCAR returns to the East Coast, the next race is on the Atlanta Motor Speedway, a track that McDowell didn’t like. In 10 starts at the Georgia location, his best P22 is twice and he has an average finish of 33.8. Maybe he can look for an earth race in Bristol to get things back on track.
Justin Allgaier saves JR Motorsports, but …
It’s hard to celebrate the top 10 of the season, but Justin Allgaier almost saw it disappear in the last two rounds of NASCAR’s Xfinity Call 800 series before you dig up the 200. Re-movements are always chaotic on the Phoenix Raceway, even though he was supposed to be in first of all, he used the rule of choice to rank behind the leader of the race.
When the green flag fluttered, a crazy scramble began, and Allgaier got help getting into the wall, ending his chance to win. He would end up disappointing the P8, but given how his season went, it’s as close as finding a winning track. He is also much better than his teammates at JR Motorsports.
As a team, JRM battled out the door with top five (Noah Gragson of Las Vegas) and top six 10 through five NASCAR Xfinity events. A dark cloud following the team hovered over Phoenix, and three of the four cars failed to reach the end of the competition.
Noah Gragson came out first after 67 laps with the engine running which marked his third DNF of the season, finishing P39. His crew didn’t know it was a problem until they saw him on the Fox Sports 1 feed. Michael Annett would also lose his engine after running among the top 20 for most of the race. He made it to lap 93 for his second DNF.
Josh Berry had a day he wanted to forget. He has four NASCAR Xfinity starts and has more top-10 (2) than any other JRM driver, but it would be a series of accidents that would end his day after he scored a P8 at the end of Phase 2.
Late in the race, he entered the service and had to return to the pits due to loose pedals. Then they gave him a bag for speeding. He restarted the P31 with slower cars and you can pretty much guess what happened next. It was his second DNF drop.
It’s hard to come without a clue when you don’t finish the race. In almost half the start for JR Motorsports (four cars, five starts), the team has had nine DNFs so far. To paraphrase a song from the long-running TV show Hee Haw, “If it weren’t for bad luck, they wouldn’t have luck, gloom, despair and agony on me at all.”
NASCAR’s (firefighter) suit and Ty, what’s next for a miracle?
His first victory in the first move of the NASCAR national series doesn’t seem to have been a coincidence. Some thought Ty Gibbs was driving on Daytona Road Course on the back of his last name. These same people have no problem with NASCAR drivers who aren’t exactly ready for prime time to get a seat because they have to have sponsors with them. It’s a weird position, but Gibbs got his chance because he earned it.
It is safe to say; Ty Gibbs is the real thing. The kid wins and wins and wins. Put it in the car and point it at the checkered flag. How are those numbers?
- NASCAR K&N Pro Series East – Six starts, one win, six top five.
- NASCAR K&N Pro Series West – One start, one win.
- ARCA Menards West – Two starts, one win, two top-fives.
- ARCA Menards East – six starts, one win, five top five.
- ARCA Menards Series – 29 starts, nine wins, 21 top-fives, 25 top-10s, including a win and fourth in two races this year.
Gibbs won Friday at the Phoenix Raceway in ARCA and started the NASCAR Xfinity Call 800 Before Dig Dig 200 on Saturday. He wasn’t in an enviable position with P27, but that didn’t stop the 18-year-old. At the end of Phase 1, Gibbs was P10. At the end of the second phase, he won one place for P9. In the final stage, he ran towards the front, but the final restart put him in a position to win again.
Supra no. 54 escaped the usual chaos of restarting Phoenix (see Justin Allgaier above) and came unharmed, with Austin Cindric in sight. Gibbs was about five cars behind the white flag and narrowed the gap to stay short in the end.
“It was a learning experience more than anything,” Gibbs said in Toyota’s edition. “I’m just learning how these things race on ovals, but I’m very grateful to be here. I can’t thank (sponsor) the auction in Pristina enough. Short only one place. “
You can bet Ty Gibbs will be at the end of many NASCAR races in the future.