Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 35 - Brand New Phoenix Rising

Four drivers compete for the Sprint Cup with two races remaining in the 2011 Chase. Points leader, Carl Edwards starts 9th with second place driver, Tony Stewart, three points behind starts in 8th. Kevin Harvick in 3rd 33 points back did not help his prospects to leap into the thick of competition with a distant 27th starting position. Matt Kenseth, in 4th in the standings, 33 points back, the only other driver within reach of the title improved his prospects winning the pole for tomorrow’s Kobalt Tools 500.

Other drivers of note include both Richard Petty entries with A.J. Allmendinger in the #43 Ford starting 2nd and Marcos Ambrose starting 3rd in the #9 Ford. Michael Waltrip racing, an enterprise that has struggled in 2011finds Martin Truex starting his #56 Toyota in 5th while discarded driver, David Reutimann starts the 00 Toyota in 7th hoping to catch the attention of an owner with an open seat for a driver for 2012. Disgraced driver, Kyle Busch returns to the track stripped of his M&M sponsorship for the last two races lining u a distant 34th place after his shameful conduct destroying Ron Hornaday’s KHI Chevrolet during caution last week in Texas.

Looking at past success might not be a good indicator for who will drive well tomorrow since the Phoenix track is not only repaved but also redesigned with new banking and reengineered curves. Some Nationwide series drivers suggested similarities to Iowa, a track where Sprint Cup does not run. The Nationwide race proved the track to be most race worthy providing competitive conditions for great competition.

While a strong case could be made for either Edwards or Stewart to win the championship most fans and pundits agree that their positions should remain very close at the end of competition tomorrow leading for a tight margin going into the series grand finale.

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