This Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 offers several drivers the opportunity to regain momentum that abruptly vanished during the Daytona 500.
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Tony Stewart and Matt Kenseth were fast enough to win the “Great American Race” before misfortune – accident or engine failure – dictated otherwise.
Each has tasted success at Phoenix International Raceway.
Harvick, on the verge of going winless last season after two championship “near misses,” drove his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to victory in November. Harvick has won three times on the one-mile oval, posting six top-five and 10 top-10 finishes.
Busch set a one-lap qualifying record (138.766 mph, 25.943 seconds) when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series visited Phoenix last fall. Busch, whose Phoenix victory came in 2005, owns the track’s third-best Driver Rating (99.9).
Stewart also is a one-time Phoenix winner but a third-place finish in the fall of 2011 was crucial to capturing his third NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. He has a second-best average running position of 10.2 but failed to record a top-15 finish at Phoenix last season.
Kenseth led the most laps in the Daytona 500 (86) before being sidelined by engine failure. He’ll make his first Phoenix start in a Joe Gibbs Toyota as teammate to last spring’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 winner Denny Hamlin. Kenseth’s lone Phoenix victory came in 2002.