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Phoenix

The Final Word – All that mattered at Phoenix were six cars seeking two spots

It sucks not to matter. Forty cars took to the track at Phoenix, and only six of them mattered. Not Jimmie Johnson or Carl Edwards. Both had already locked in a final four berth at Homestead, so they mattered not. Not Kyle Larson or Trevor Bayne, who spun early.

Hot 20 – There are a lot of nice things to do in Phoenix, but winning Sunday would be the nicest

I like being nice. Sure, I can bitch with the best of them, but it is nice when one can say nice things about someone. For instance, I think NASCAR did the right thing by calling the race at Texas last week. Let me see, the race was already delayed by five hours and the skies really opened up with 40 to go. Damn right they should have wrapped things up when they did.

The Final Word – Two in the money, two more for the show at Phoenix

It was the Chase race in Texas, and the big winner...was the weather. From an afternoon event on a rubbered up track, we went to an evening contest under the lights. A rain washed surface greeted the boys and girl after a more than five-hour delay.

Hot 20 – Johnson is again California dreaming while Harvick is staying with SHR…or is he?

Best damn finishes ever. Well, for two of the four events to date, that has been the headline for NASCAR in 2016. Daytona and Phoenix were decided by gaps measurable with a ruler, and that has to be a good thing. Hell, a great thing.

The Final Word – Harvick rises like a phoenix at Phoenix from the tears of Edwards

A phoenix rises from the ashes to be reborn. In Phoenix, Kevin Harvick rose from the tears of Carl Edwards to once again become the Cactus King, the driver to beat at Phoenix.

Hot 20 – The heat is on at Phoenix after an endorsement, poor ratings, and some poorer finishes

A year ago, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won at Phoenix. Five of the six before that, Kevin Harvick claimed the prize. Now, if anyone could use a win this weekend, Danica Patrick, Chase Elliott, and Clint Bowyer would be among them. They sure are not among the Hot 20 going into Sunday’s action.

The Final Word – Earnhardt takes Phoenix unchallenged…in the end

Once Dale Earnhardt Jr. took the lead at Phoenix, no one was going to catch him. Not a single driver even challenged him. Yet, there was still one vehicle that even the race winner could not pass. The pace car.

The Final Word – Harvick Once Again the Best in Phoenix but Fontana is Johnson Country

Kevin Harvick was the star of this show, with the likes of Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray in supporting roles. Two straight this season, four straight at Phoenix, a lock on a Chase spot (you would think) and 30 career victories as he defends his Cup championship. It is good being Kevin Harvick.

The Final Word – Be it Las Vegas or Phoenix, we be groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Another Sunday, another NASCAR Cup race. I think if you loved the race, you may have been a fan to some degree of one of the top four.

Hot 20 – The Elimination Format was Good, but an Actual Five Race Post-Season Even Better

Over the course of the season, Jeff Gordon was the top driver of 2014. However, NASCAR has not determined its champion using the results of the entire campaign for more than a decade. They want excitement, drama, unpredictability. They want what the other big boy sports have, and when they waved the flag to start the season finale, four drivers had an even shot to claim the prize. Unfortunately, 39 we knew who would not, also were out there.

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