NASCAR: Statistical Breakdown of Phoenix (Fall of 2015)


Note: all stats in this article were complied using Racing Reference since the start of 2013 (Past five races), AKA the dawn of the “Gen Six”

The big winner in this week’s Phoenix race? Probably NASCAR- the top five drivers points-wise in the last five races at Phoenix are all in the Chase. We’re going to probably see a lot of drama and close racing as it comes down to the wire on Sunday.

Leading the pack far and away is Kevin Harvick. It would be incredibly hard to bet against the driver of the no. 4 Chevrolet. He has won the last four straight races at Phoenix and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be up front for most of the day come Sunday. Hopefully “Happy” doesn’t push his equipment too far- he can still clinch a spot in the championship round without winning by

-Finishing second regardless of laps led.

-Finishing third with a lap led.

-Finishing fourth with the most laps led.

Brad Keselowski is off the cut-off line by 19 points and so is going to have to win without having to rely on competitor’s misfortune. The good news for Keselowski is that he has three top fives and four top tens in the Gen Six car here, good enough to have a 5.6 average finish. The bad news is that he still needs to compete with Harvick if he wants to control his own destiny.

Jeff Gordon comes into this race with no real pressure- and with a 7.8 average finish, he’s probably going to continue to build momentum heading into his final race at Homestead next week. Phoenix is giving Gordon quite a huge honor- a one day track name change to the Jeff Gordon International Raceway.

On the flip-side, Joey Logano needs to win this race. If he doesn’t, his championship hopes will be over after a near perfect Chase up to this round. Logano is riding off a top ten streak at Phoenix at four but with only one top five he has been far off pace from Harvick. That just doesn’t bide well for the 25 year old’s chances at moving on to Homestead.

Carl Edwards is the only driver to win a race at Phoenix in the Gen Six outside of Kevin Harvick, winning the spring race here in 2013. Edwards only has one other top ten in the Gen Six however, and is going to need to rise beyond his thirteenth earlier this year if he wants to go forward to Homestead.

It’s going to be all or nothing for Kurt Busch this weekend- he was fast in the spring but was behind teammate Harvick all day long. He’s just inconsistent- two fifths and a seventh look good, but a 27th and a 39th hurt his otherwise great Phoenix stats. But being 26 points out going into Phoenix means the 41 is going to need to win, not just get another fifth.

Brother Kyle also has a similar problem at Phoenix- he has done well with a seventh and ninth, but a 23rd and 34th hurt his stat line. However, Kyle comes into the weekend with the second best chance of going to Homestead, needing only one of the following to clinch a spot in the final four-

-Finishing third regardless of laps led.

-Finishing fourth with a lap led.

-Finishing fifth with the most laps led.

Although Martin Truex Jr. ranks a distant 16th in driver points earned at Phoenix, the New Jersey driver comes into the race a solid seven points to the good to Homestead. His main competition will probably be Carl Edwards throughout the race.

My Prediction

So, after considering the stats, I believe the final four heading into Homestead will be….

Jeff Gordon (Won Martinsville)

Kevin Harvick (Will win Phoenix)

Kyle Busch (Points)

Carl Edwards (Points)