Take 5: Five Things Worth Mentioning Heading Into Phoenix

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Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart need to find “it.”

2015 were supposed to mean different things for Gordon and Stewart but in the end the result was supposed to be similar. Both drivers were expected to find success early and often this season but thus far that has not been the case. Heading into Phoenix both drivers need to find “it” and begin to straighten out their seasons.

For Gordon “it” is as simple as avoiding wrecks. Gordon has been fast all season, winning two poles in three races (don’t forget that he never attempted to qualify for Atlanta). That speed has also transferred over to race day but wrecks have ruined any chance of the No. 24 car having good finishes. Gordon wrecked at Daytona and Atlanta which led to finishes outside of the top-30. This past weekend in Las Vegas he suffered damage after hitting Jeb Burton and the result was an 18th-place finish. If Gordon keeps the car in one piece this weekend he should end up with a good finish.

For Stewart “it” is a bit more complicated. Like Gordon, Stewart has been fast during qualifying however that speed seems to go away on race day. Stewart has been involved in a couple of wrecks but for the most part his problems are a bit more mysterious. This past weekend in Vegas Stewart was openly frustrated on his radio about his car setup, the new rules package and his performance. Stewart and the No. 14 team need to get a handle on the setup otherwise this might be a long year for all of them.