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Nascar at Phoenix: Racing at the Desert Jewell from “Just A Fan’s View”


The Desert Jewell in Phoenix should prove to be an interesting race this week. I don’t know of anyone that wants to win more than Carl Edwards does, but this week could be the week that someone other than the Chasers finish out front.

There are several drivers that run well at this track and there is more than one that could take the checkered flag this weekend. The problem is figuring out which one will win, though. I’m just having a hard time choosing who I think the winner will be, but that’s okay … I’ll get to that later.

In the meantime, I guess we could take a look at how the field is lining for the start of the race. This is another week that qualifying wasn’t rained out and the field will start according to their lap times. Personally, I’m glad they aren’t having to contend with rain because it definitely makes the start more interesting and adds a little more drama to those beginning laps. It also makes talking about the way drivers qualified much more interesting than them lining up according to points.

As everyone already knows, Jimmy Johnson won the poll position and will be leading the field to the green flag. I find it fascinating that he is starting on the pole when the commentators last weekend tried to make the whole thing sound more intense than it actually is simply because Jimmy Johnson lost seventy some points to Carl Edwards. It seemed to me they were all but counting him out just because he had a marginal week last week. All of the hype aside, he now leads by only 106 points.

I suppose the thing at the top of my list for discussion is where Carl Edwards and the 99 team are starting from this week. He is starting approximately from the same location he did last week and we all know how that went for him. Don’t be lulled into complacency because this track is a strong track for Carl and he could very possibly finish out front just as he did last week. But for the present, I don’t think Jimmy will finish as far back from him as he did last week, especially if neither of them end up winning the race this weekend.

As I mentioned earlier, there are several others who could easily take the victory at Phoenix. Some of the honorable mentions this week are Jamie McMurray (starting outside pole), Kurt Bush (starting third) and Dale Earnhardt Jr (starting fifth as of this writing). David Reutimann as well as Ryan Newman are staring in the top six and, of course, there’s Jeff Gordon who you can never count out as having a chance at winning starting seventh. Of course there are others and one of them is Mark Martin who starts tenth. Kevin Harvick won the Truck race but I think he will have a tough time coming from the 19th starting spot in the cup race, (although stranger things have happened.)

I could probably mention most of the 43 drivers as potential winners of the race but I think I will quit here while I am still ahead. I would like to move on to who I think will win this weekend from this “Just A Fan’s View” perspective.

The truth is, I am having a tougher time than normal choosing which driver will finish ahead of the rest. Although I know who I would like to see win, I will try to be neutral in my choice.

Okay, this is a very tough decision, but, I do believe that Jimmy Johnson will win and that he will lead most of the laps (including the one that counts). It is possible that he could pretty much clinch the title this weekend even though I know that Carl Edwards is going to give his all to close the gap between him and Jimmy. I’m just not sure either of them will actually win.

I still think Jeff Gordon, Ryan Newman, Dale Jr or Jamie McMurray have an excellent chance of possibly taking the checkered flag and taking home the trophy, as well as Kurt or Kyle Bush and, yes, even Tony Stewart. I guess you’ve noticed I think this is one of those weeks that anything could happen.

As always, I do think pit strategy will play a very important role in who will actually take the the coveted trip to victory lane and that is precisely why this week could prove to be won by the most unexpected player in the Chase.

Oh well, all of that doesn’t matter much, because I have already made my choice and it will be Jimmy Johnson driving across the finish line first. That’s my ‘View’ of how things will pan out at Phoenix this weekend and I’m sticking to it …

See ya next time


©2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

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By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.