The XFINITY Series At Phoenix: The Best Car And Driver Won The Race
I suppose there’s a variety of descriptions that would apply to the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Phoenix International Raceway. If you wanted to sum up the race in one word, then “tame” would work just fine with “lame” being a viable second option. If you wanted to elaborate further, you could say “the race was a genuine snooze festival” or, in the case of yours truly, “I had to pinch myself on the leg to stay awake.” It’s very likely that the Director, of the Fox Sports broadcast, was probably yelling something about “stinking up my show.”
According to NASCAR stats, the official recorded time of the race was 1 hour, 49 minutes, 57 seconds. It seemed like it was 1 day and 49 minutes.
However, the one statement that best describes this race is: “the best car and driver won the Axalta Faster, Tougher, Brighter 200″, (trying saying that fast three times).
The first series of hints that indicated driver Joey Logano was going to be formidable in this race came during the practice sessions. The real eye opener came during the three stage knock out qualifying when Logano set a new track record two times on the way to winning the pole position.
In his last four Xfinity Series starts, Logano started on the pole position in three of those races and finished second in all four. He took care of those statistics by completely dominating this race and collected his 22nd series win in 137 starts . That dominance was comprised of a very fast, and well prepared, Penske Racing Ford Mustang that allowed Logano to lead 176 of the race’s scheduled 200 laps. He took the lead for good on lap 144. That was fortified by a series of restarts that was nothing short of outstanding.
With the win came a series of bonus scenarios that included a visit to the pay window to collect a check for $81,000 plus. Also on the plus side was the fact that the headquarters for Discount Tires, a long time primary sponsor of Penske Racing’s Xfinity Series, is located in nearby Scottsdale-Arizona meaning corporate executives and employees were there in full force to watch their car dominate this race.
It’s also very likely that team owner Roger Penske plans to sell some new automobiles during the aftermath of this race. The multi billionaire businessman owns over 300 retail auto dealerships with 26 of them being located in Arizona.
We need to extend some credit to race runner up Matt Kenseth for seriously trying to make this race interesting during the final laps of the event. Kenseth’s hard charging Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota made quick work of eradicating Logano’s race lead. However, Logano counteracted the effort by quickly working his was around lapped traffic to secure the win. The margin of victory, between first and second, was a mere .293 seconds.
Kevin Harvick and Austin Dillon came across the stripe to take third and fourth. Young Erik Jones, subbing for the injured Kyle Busch, drove his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota to an impressive fifth place finish and garnered a lot of high praise during this race from the Fox Broadcasting team.