Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sprint Cup 2013: Race 2 - Phoenix Rising: Let the Real Show Begin

(DISCLAIMER: The writer of this piece blew up in his fantasy race effort having both Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick on his team.)

For Sprint Cup racing about the only thing Phoenix has in common with Daytona is that both races are held in states where baseball’s spring training is up and rolling. Many say Phoenix is where the real racing season begins, and aside from earning points at Daytona, what begins tomorrow is where the hard realities of the long Sprint Cup season begin for real.

Hours of preparation go into Daytona, which with the whole winter as build up, and the Dual 125’s as the gateway to a decent starting position, stands alone as its own phenomenon. That it is one of only four restrictor plate races also makes it impossible to project on how a team’s car will perform in the rest of the races. Phoenix, by contrast, and even more so, Las Vegas next week, presents a much more realistic look at which teams are poised to be contenders and which ones are struggling to where by the time they return to Daytona in early July, the story of the 2012 season will be in keen focus. Tomorrow begins the long haul – the season’s longest stretch – and fans first look at the regular setup for the Generation 6 race car.

Qualifying could indicate Ford is a little behind the curve as the “Blue Ovals” are shut out of the top ten with defending champ, Brad Keselowski, posting the 11th spot paired up with rookie contender, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in 12th.  The aged wonder, Mark Martin, captured the poll for Michael Waltrip Racing. The balance of the top 10 are all either Hendricks or Hendricks powered Stewart Haas cars and the Joe Gibbs boys. The sports’ two media sensations, both running Hendricks power, were not invited to the party, Dale Earnhardt Jr. starts 21st while Danica Patrick is down in the dregs at 40th

155Mark MartinToyotaAaron's Dream Machine 138.074
25Kasey KahneChevroletQuaker State 137.862
348Jimmie JohnsonChevroletLowe's 137.804
418Kyle BuschToyotaM&M's 137.673
524Jeff GordonChevroletPepsi MAX 137.164
614Tony StewartChevroletBass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 137.143
729Kevin HarvickChevroletJimmy John's 137.075
811Denny HamlinToyotaFedEx Ground 136.924
920Matt KensethToyotaHusky 136.882
1039Ryan NewmanChevroletQuicken Loans 136.861
112Brad KeselowskiFordMiller Lite 136.835
1217Ricky Stenhouse Jr. #FordBest Buy 136.731
1315Clint BowyerToyota5-hour Energy 136.654
1456Martin Truex Jr.ToyotaNAPA Filters 136.602
1599Carl EdwardsFordSubway 136.483
1627Paul MenardChevroletMenards/Serta 136.364
1716Greg BiffleFord3M/Novec 136.291
1843Aric AlmirolaFordFarmland 136.266
191Jamie McMurrayChevroletMcDonald's 135.936
2031Jeff BurtonChevroletCheerios 135.890
2188Dale Earnhardt Jr.ChevroletNational Guard 135.870
229Marcos AmbroseFordDeWalt 135.440
2351AJ AllmendingerChevroletGuy Roofing 135.440
2434David RaganFord(unsponsored)135.267
2578Kurt BuschChevroletFurniture Row/Beautyrest 135.247
267Dave BlaneyChevroletSany 135.100
2736JJ YeleyChevroletAccell Construction 135.064
2895Scott SpeedFordSurrender the Sponsor 134.917
2942Juan MontoyaChevroletTarget 134.821
3093Travis KvapilToyotaBurger King/Dr.Pepper 134.705
3138David GillilandFordLong John Silver's 134.695
3222Joey LoganoFordShell Pennzoil 134.373
3347Bobby LabonteToyotaGlad 134.343
3483David ReutimannToyotaBurger King/Dr.Pepper 133.814
3519Mike Bliss(i)ToyotaPlinker Tactical/Value Place 133.774
3635Josh Wise(i) 133.591
3730David StremmeToyotaSwan Racing 133.571
3833Landon CassillChevroletLittle Joe's Autos 133.383
3944Scott Riggs(i)FordNo Label Watches 132.920
4010Danica Patrick 132.890
4187Joe Nemechek(i) 132.023
4232Ken SchraderFordSafe Skies Locks 131.747
4313Casey MearsFordGEICO 131.286

Starting positions 37-43 are provisional starts; however, only 43 cars entered for competition so no cars failed to make the race.

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