The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Phoenix Driver Handicaps by Matt McLaughlin -- Wednesday April 18, 2007

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Matt McLaughlin's Phoenix Driver Handicaps

Matt McLaughlin · Wednesday April 18, 2007


2007 Phoenix “1” Driver Handicaps

Jeff Gordon: While Gordon has never won a Cup race here, he hasn't done half bad at Phoenix. He has thirteen top 10 finishes in sixteen starts and an average finish of ninth. Gordon also won a Busch race here in 1999.

Jeff Burton: Burton has back to back Cup wins here in 2000 and 2001; he also won a Busch race here in 2000. While Burton's enjoyed just one top 5 finish at Phoenix since, overall he's done pretty well. Collecting eight top 10s in fifteen Phoenix Cup starts, including Top 10 results in both of last year's races, Burton should be in perfect position to capitalize off last week’s Texas momentum.

Matt Kenseth: Kenseth won here in 2002, but that win is offset by four finishes outside the top 30 in just nine starts. However, he did finish third in this race last year and won last Fall's Busch event, so the current momentum swing is headed upward.

Jimmie Johnson: Johnson finished second in last fall's Phoenix Cup race, and has Top 10 results in five of his seven Cup starts here. As a result, he is averaging about an eighth place finish at this track.

Denny Hamlin: Hamlin struggled at Phoenix in his first two Cup starts but did manage a third place finish here last Fall.

Clint Bowyer: Bowyer made his first Cup start at Phoenix in 2005. He finished fifth in this race last year but failed to finish the Phoenix Fall race.

Kyle Busch: Busch won here in 2005, but finished 36th and 38th in last year's two Phoenix Cup events. On a brighter note, he's never been hauled to the cop station during a race weekend here.

Carl Edwards: Edwards has Top 10 finishes in his last four Phoenix Cup starts. He won a Phoenix Busch race in 2005 and has Top 10 results in all four of his starts here in both that series and in his CTS starts at this track.

Tony Stewart: Stewart won here as a rookie in 1999 and finished second in this race last year. In ten Cup starts at Phoenix, Stewart has managed six Top 10 finishes, accumulating an average finishing position of eleventh place.

Jamie McMurray: McMurray has run seven Cup races at Phoenix and has yet to post a Top 10 result. His average finish in those seven races is about 25th. McMurray did win a Phoenix Busch race back in 2004.

Mark Martin: Martin won here in 1993 and has finished second five times in Phoenix Cup races. Still, he hasn't managed a top 5 result here since 2002.

David Stremme: Stremme finished 29th and 18th here last year in his only two Phoenix Cup starts to date.

Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya finished twentieth here last fall in a Busch Series car.

Kevin Harvick: Harvick won both Cup races here last year in a bit of a surprise. Prior to that, he had just one Top 10 result in six Phoenix Cup starts. He also won the spring Busch race here last year and finished second in the fall.

Kurt Busch: Busch won here in 2005 and has posted top 10 results in five of his last six starts here. Of course he missed the
Fall race of 2005 in Phoenix after a run in with a local deputy in the days leading up to the race.

Elliott Sadler: Don’t count on seeing much of the No. 19 Saturday night; Sadler has just one Top 10 in ten Phoenix Cup starts, and his average finish here is an unremarkable 23rd.

Greg Biffle: Despite finishing second here in 2005, Biffle's average finish over six Cup starts is twentieth. He has won two Busch races and a truck series event here.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Junior won back-to-back races here in 2003-04, and has Top 10 results in a total of five of his nine Cup starts here. But he's also finished outside the Top 25 three times in those nine races.

Martin Truex, Jr.: Truex finished 22nd in this race last year and twelfth in last Fall's Phoenix race.

Ryan Newman: Newman finished second here in 2004 but has missed the Top 10 in his last four Cup starts here. In this race last year, he crashed and finished 39th.

Others to Watch

Kasey Kahne: Who? I've never heard of this guy. Oh, right. Kahne did manage Top 10 finishes in both of last year's Phoenix races.

Dale Jarrett: Jarrett is the only full-time active driver with a Phoenix Cup win (1997) who isn't in the Top 20 in points at this juncture of the season.

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