Phoenix Checkered and Black Flags
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on March 20, 2017 | 2:21 P.M. EST
MRN's Pete Pistone looks at who won and who lost in Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway. (Photo: Getty Images)
Who won and lost in Sunday’s Camping World 500 at Phoenix Raceway.
It’s not your imagination. Neither Newman nor Richard Childress Racing had been to Victory Lane in a while and that ended Sunday in Phoenix. Newman snapped a 127-race winless drought in the desert with a dramatic victory.
It stings for Larson to have to be this generation’s edition of Harry Gant with second-place finish after second-place finish. He did it again Sunday for the third week in a row, finishing in the runner-up spot behind Newman but in the process, taking over the lead in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series point standings.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
There is life at Roush Fenway Racing as Stenhouse scored his first top-10 finish since Talladega last fall with a fourth-place run in Phoenix. The finish was even sweeter for Stenhouse after a frustrating turn of events last weekend in Las Vegas.
The first of what will, no doubt, be many top-10 finishes in NASCAR’s top division came for the rookie on Sunday. Suarez and his Joe Gibbs Racing team had to grind things out on a challenging day to earn the well-deserved seventh-place finish.
Right behind Suarez was another freshman, Jones, who also put his first career Cup Series top 10 on the board. He’s always run well at Phoenix and that continued in NASCAR’s top tier on Sunday.
Don’t believe the smile and "everything is great" nonsense. Busch has every reason to be bitter about the turn of events that took him from a potential victory to a third-place finish thanks to the late-race caution that completely changed the complexion of the race.
The last two Phoenix outings have been forgettable for Kenseth. He was taken out of last November’s race in a late crash and was eliminated Sunday when a tire blew and sent him into the wall.
A speeding penalty on pit road and a blown tire, the one that brought out the race-changing caution flag, took Logano’s day from pole sitter to a disappointing 31st-place finish.
The Wood Brothers Racing driver started from the front row for a career-best qualifying effort, but things ended up on the other end of the spectrum. Speeding on pit road and brake issues added up to Blaney coming out of Phoenix with a less-than-stellar 23rd-place finish.
Good news, a fifth-place finish for Keselowski who had a pretty stout racecar. Bad news, that car failed post-race inspection for weights and measures - an infraction that could carry a significant points penalty, fine and suspension for crew chief Paul Wolfe.
The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Motor Racing Network.
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