by Garrett Horton
It took Denny Hamlin just two races to match his win total from all of last year, when his one victory came at Michigan last June.
Greg Biffle has finished third in the first two races this year. His best finish all of last season was a third-place result, but it took him 28 races to get that finish. Additionally, he had just three top-5 runs in 2011, just one more than his total already two weeks into the season.
With Hamlin’s victory at Phoenix, new crew chief Darian Grubb has now won races with four different drivers. He was atop the pit box for Jimmie Johnson in 2006 when Chad Knaus was suspended for four races, winning two races, including the Daytona 500. He made the race winning call a year later for Casey Mears in the Coke 600, gambling on fuel mileage which was Mears first, and only, victory in his career. Of course, we all know the run he had with Tony Stewart, winning five times in the Chase last year. Grubb’s total win count as a crew chief now stands at 15.
Hamlins margin of victory of second place finisher Kevin Harvick. Harvick had been gaining on Hamlin in the concluding laps, getting within one second of the lead before running out of fuel with a lap and a half to go.
Joey Logano currently sits eighth in the Sprint Cup standings, matching the highest he has ever been. The last time he was this far up in points was in 2010, when he was eighth after three races.
There were 15 different leaders on Sunday, breaking the track record.
Thanks to a rough week a Daytona, which saw him finish 42nd and a 25 point penalty handed down from NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson is tied with J.J. Yeley for 37th in the standings. Without the penalty, he would currently be sitting 27th overall.
The No. 11 has now visited victory circle 198 times, and is now tied with the 43 for most trips to the winners circle by a car number.
Jimmie Johnson has led 931 laps at Phoenix for his career, a track record. He padded his stats Sunday by leading for 55 circuits.
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