Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday November 7, 2007
Driver Handicaps – Phoenix “2” Edition
Jimmie Johnson – Johnson came home second in this race last year, and has four straight Top 10 finishes at Phoenix. He also finished second here in 2003.
Jeff Gordon – Gordon won this Spring's Phoenix race from the pole to finally score his first Cup victory here. He's run very well at the track, collecting 14 Top 10 finishes in 17 Cup starts for an average finish of eighth. He also won a Busch Series race here in 1999.
Clint Bowyer – Bowyer finished fifth here in the Spring race last year, but his other three Phoenix starts have yielded finishes outside the Top 20. This track is where Bowyer made his Nextel Cup debut back in 2005, finishing 22nd.
Kyle Busch – Busch won here in 2005, ironically enough on the same weekend his brother was busted for a suspected DUI. After a disastrous 2006 in the Arizona desert, Busch rebounded with a seventh place finish here in the Spring.
Carl Edwards – Edwards has finished eleventh or better five races in a row here, but he’s never been able to lead a lap in Cup competition. Edwards did win a Busch race at Phoenix in 2005, and has Top 10 finishes in all seven of his Busch and Truck Series starts at the track.
Tony Stewart – Stewart won here in 1999 – his Phoenix Cup debut – and finished second here this Spring. Along the way, he's posted Top 10 finishes in seven of his eleven career Cup starts, averaging a tenth place finish at the track.
Jeff Burton – Burton won back-to-back races in the desert in 2000 and 2001 – back when I thought Phoenix was still part of Mexico, and the Cup series visited just once a year. He's averaging a twelfth place finish at the track for his career; but he hasn't led a lap here since that ’01 win.
Kevin Harvick – Harvick swept both Cup races at Phoenix in 2006. Last year, he dominated the Fall event, leading 252 of 312 laps; he's also won two CTS events and a Busch race here.
Kurt Busch – Busch won the Spring Phoenix race in 2005, but wasn't around to defend his title that Fall after a little Falling out with the Phoenix Sheriff's department. He has Top 10 finishes in five of his nine Cup starts at the track overall.
Matt Kenseth – Kenseth won here in 2002, and has five Top 10 finishes in ten Phoenix Cup starts. Those good runs have been offset by three DNFs, however.
Denny Hamlin – Hamlin has finished third in his last two Cup races at Phoenix, and won his first career pole in the series here in the Fall of 2005.
Martin Truex, Jr. – This hasn’t been one of Truex’s better tracks. After three Phoenix Cup starts, he’s averaging an 18th place finish with no laps led on the one-mile oval.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Junior won back-to-back races at Phoenix in 2003-04, but hasn’t led a lap here since. After ten career Cup starts in the desert, he's averaging just a 17th place finish with two DNF’s.
Ryan Newman – Newman has run both second and third here, but those were his only two Top 10s in ten career Phoenix Cup starts. He's averaging a miserable 22nd place finish overall at the track.
Casey Mears – Never running better than 20th at Phoenix, Mears isn’t setting the world on fire here; he’s got just a 31st place average finish after seven career starts at the track. That's not going to get your mug on a trading card anytime soon…
Greg Biffle – Biffle finished 2nd here in 2005, but his other six Phoenix finishes were outside the Top 10 … most of them decidedly so. His average finish here is a mediocre 20th place.
Kasey Kahne – It’s feast or famine for Kahne at Phoenix. The driver's three Top 10s here are offset by three lackluster runs of 17th or worse.
Jamie McMurray – After eight Phoenix Cup starts, McMurray is still looking for a Top 10 result. His average finish in those eight races? A dismal 25th.
Bobby Labonte – Labonte is batting slightly better than .500 at Phoenix as far as Top 10 finishes go (Nine for 17). Even better, he’s got five Top 10s in his last six Cup starts at the track.
J.J. Yeley – Yeley is averaging a 23rd place finish after three career starts at this track; the sophomore’s never been higher than 20th.
Juan Pablo Montoya – Montoya's entry in two Busch and one Cup race at Phoenix hasn't yielded the sudden influx of Hispanic fans to the grandstands some folks envisioned. Maybe that's because he hasn't finished better than 20th in any of those races?
Editor’s Note : For additional stats and analysis to help out your fantasy team, check out Cami Starr and Mike Neff’s Picks ‘N’ Pans by clicking “here”:/article/13391/.
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