This Week in Motorsports: March 2 – 8, 2020
· NCS/NXS: Phoenix Raceway (Avondale, Arizona) – March 7-8
· ARCA: Phoenix Raceway (Avondale, Arizona) – March 6
· USAC: Southern Illinois Center (Du Quoin, Illinois) – March 7
PLANO, Texas (March 4, 2020) – NASCAR wraps up its west coast tripleheader while the ARCA Menards Series kicks of its 10-race Sioux Chief Showdown at Phoenix Raceway and USAC gets back to the dirt in Illinois this weekend.
NASCAR National Series – NCS | NXS
Championship State of Mind… This week’s visit to Phoenix Raceway is only the fourth race of the season, however, it is the first time since 2001 NASCAR has visited its championship venue more than once in a single season. Toyota drivers have three straight Phoenix NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) victories, with Kyle Busch (November 2018 and March 2019) and Denny Hamlin, who advanced himself to the Championship 4 with a win last November. Camry drivers have six total Phoenix NCS wins, including Hamlin’s 2012 victory and wins by retired drivers Kasey Kahne (2011) and Matt Kenseth (2017).
A Look at Cup Stats… Since Phoenix Raceway’s remodel three races ago, Busch, Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. rank within the top-five drivers. In that span, Busch has the highest average finish of 1.3 with two wins and a runner-up result. Hamlin has a win and a fifth-place result while Truex finished second one year ago – his career-best showing at the one-mile desert track – and sixth last fall. So far this season, Hamlin won the Daytona 500 and Busch finished runner-up last week in California.
Next Victory Makes it 500… Since entering the NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series (NXS) in 2007 and the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series (NGROTS) in 2004, Toyota drivers have won 499 NASCAR national series races and looks to achieve its 500th this weekend at Phoenix Raceway. To date, Toyota drivers have won 144 NCS, 163 NXS and 192 NGROTS races. The winningest Toyota driver is Busch, who accounts for approximately 37% of the victories, with 188 of his 209 career NASCAR national series victories coming in a Toyota.
Carrying on the Winning Tradition… Harrison Burton’s California win marked the seventh-straight year the No. 20 Toyota entry has won an NXS event, dating back to 2014. It was the 30th win in that timespan, with Burton being the sixth different winner. Burton also continues a family winning tradition as him and his father, Jeff Burton, are the eighth father-son duo to win an Xfinity Series race, something the elder Burton accomplished 27 times. So far this season, the younger Burton has three top-five Xfinity Series results and holds command of the series point standings. While this will be his first NXS Phoenix showing, Burton has a third-place and seventh-place result in the NGROTS at Phoenix.
History is on their Side… Toyota drivers have won 50% of the Xfinity Series events held at Phoenix Raceway since 2008, with 12 wins in 24 events. Busch owns 10 victories while Christopher Bell and former Toyota driver Joey Logano also have Toyota NXS wins at Phoenix. This year, Supra drivers have one win, six top-five and eight top-10 results in the first three races of the season. All three of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have each finished in the top-five at least once and Brandon Jones has finished 11th or better in his last four Phoenix visits.
Regional Stock Car Racing – ARCA
ARCA Showdown Begins… The ARCA Menards Series, which has traditionally been a mid-west and east coast racing series, heads to Arizona for its first visit to Phoenix Raceway. The 150-lap event at the one-mile track will count as double, both in the 20-race ARCA Menards Series season and in the 10-race ARCA Sioux Chief Showdown – featuring the best grassroots stock car racing venues across the nation. Last year, Ty Gibbs won the now ARCA Menards Series West event at Phoenix Raceway and looks to repeat this weekend. He’ll have his competition cut out for him with Venturini Motorsports’ drivers Drew Dollar, Chandler Smith and Michael Self. Self won the season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway while Smith won five races in 2019.
National Midget Car Racing – USAC
McIntosh Looks to Make it Two in A Row at Shamrock Classic… Last year, Cannon McIntosh earned his first USAC National Midget Series victory in the Shamrock Classic and he looks to make it two in a row at the Southern Illinois Center on Saturday night. The 17-year-old sensation has earned five consecutive top-five finishes in national midget car features, including a preliminary feature win at the Chili Bowl.
Windom Takes Point Lead to Du Quoin… Toyota-powered Chris Windom enters this weekend as the USAC National Midget Series point leader. The Tucker-Boat Motorsports driver opened the season with a victory and a runner-up finish in Ocala.
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