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Phoenix Race Wrap Up
Category: Racing

Whoa, hey and howdy there Gabbers and others. Welcome welcome welcome to another race wrap up. It would be the 9th in the 10 race Chase. Where we are now down to just 2 drivers for our final race at Homestead. Everyone else is mathematically eliminated. Jimmie Johnsons 5 time reign as Sprint Cup Champion is now over. Jeff Gordon won't get #5 either. It's just melt down city for everyone else in the Chase as well. Kenseth is still getting into it with Vickers over Martinsville. Kyle Busch is still reaping all the ugliness of his bad decision at the Texas truck race. But Dale Jr is still himself.

STARTING POSITIONS - Kenseth Pole Position - Stewart 8th - Edwards 9th - Keselowski 12th - Johnson 16th - Ku Busch 17th - Earnhart Jr 22nd - Gordon 23rd - Harvick 27th - Newman 30th - Hamlin 33rd - Ky Busch 34th

KYLE BUSCH - We'll start with Kyle. Due to blowing up his motor in practice NASCAR's one engine rule comes into effect. He had to change it so that meant he had to start in 43rd. BUT this is Kyle we're talking about here so no worries yet. By lap 15 he's 28th. By lap 50 he's in 17th. Holds steady there till cautions land him in 5th around the half way mark. He gets as high as 3rd and his motor starts to let go. Now it's time to worry. He backs off to try and save the motor but by lap 195 he goes to the garage and he's done for the day. He falls to the 12th spot in the Chase.

Besides the $50,000 fine, M&M Mars has asked not to be on his car for the last 2 races in Cup so Interstate Batteries has stepped up. They don't condone what Kyle did at Texas but are supporting Joe Gibbs. Z Line has asked that Hamlin drive Kyle's car in NNW and get someone else in the truck. The sponsors have spoken. They aren't happy but they aren't leaving and Joe Gibbs is standing firmly by Kyle's side through this mess. What an awesome boss to have. Kyle has written his apology letter and in a press conference with Joe Gibbs by his side he has vowed to become a new man. He knows that this is his last chance and that he really wants to drive in Cup, NNW and trucks. Good luck Kyle.

RYAN NEWMAN - Ryan started out in 30th but by lap 15 he's in 23rd. By lap 100 he's in 15th. With each pit stop his car gets better. By lap 175 he's 8th and is in 5th by lap 245. He finishes 4th right behind his boss Stewart. He jumps 3 spots in the Chase to 9th.

DENNY HAMLIN - Denny's day starts out in 33rd and he breaks the 20's and stays there for the first 100 laps adjusting on his car in the pits during cautions. Lap 165 he's in 12th. Breaks the top 10 for a while but ends his day in 11th. Sigh of relief. No engine issues for Hamlin. He stays 10th in the points.

KURT BUSCH - Kurt is his usual grumbly self on the radio. He's in the top 10 by lap 15 and griping the whole time about his car. By lap 135 he's angry about how his team mate Keselowski's car can be 2% different on paper but be so different on the track from his. Why he's griping I don't know because he's having a way better and much more consistent day than Keselowski. By lap 165 he's 4th. Robby Gordon brings out a caution on lap 220 when he rides the wall and Kurt comes out of the pits in the lead. He keeps that lead all through green flag pit stops but stays out one lap too many and on lap 279 he runs out of fuel at the entrance to pit road on his way in. To add insult to injury he speeds coming into the pits because his cars not running so the tach isn't working to tell him how fast he's going and has to do a drive thru penalty. He ends his day in 22nd and 1 lap down. Ouch. He actually moves up one spot in the standings to 8th. 

JEFF GORDON - His day was just one big bummer. He's complaining of brake issues. They're heating up and the pedal sinks to the floor when they're too hot. He's in the pits under the caution laps multiple times to have holes cut into the front valance to get more air to the brakes. It doesn't help and he starts falling back. By half way he's 1 lap down in 30th. By lap 200 he's 2 laps down in 28th. With 70 laps to go he's 3 laps down. He ends his day 6 laps down in 32nd. He drops 3 spots to 11th in the standings.

DALE EARNHARDT JR - Jr starts falling back immediately. Handling issues just can't be resolved. He has a 25th place average all race long going down a lap around lap 200. He finishes 24th and 1 lap down. He maintains 7th in the standings.

JIMMIE JOHNSON - He's sporting a new paint scheme. Black Kobalt Tools. Nice one too. Would love to see more of that. Has handling issues all race long. Air pressure and track bar adjustments can't bring the car under control. Jimmie describes his car as scary scary loose. Around lap 175 he scuffs the wall but he's hanging on to 23rd on lap 185. By lap 200 he's in the top 20 with 17th. He does goes down a lap with 7 to go and comes in 14th. Only 12 cars on the lead lap. Bumps up one spot to 5th in the standings.

BRAD KESELOWSKI - The Kes is his usual resourceful self. Trying new things to see if he can make some thing of it. He's having a decent day riding in and around 12th for the first 75 laps. Then he back and forth between 6th and 9th till with 85 laps to go he and Biffle have a side to side bump and smoke rolls off his tires. He drops back to 19th. With 15 to go he's in 1st to get that lead a lap bonus point then it's off to the pits 2 laps later for fuel. He ends up 18th and 1 lap down. He and his crew chief are trying things every week that are just out of sequence of the other drivers. Some times it works to their advantage and sometimes not. He's got a good thing going with his crew chief. He bumps up one spot to 4th in the standings.

MATT KENSETH - He's got the pole and keeps the lead for the first 50 laps till Stewart takes it from him on the restart. No biggie. His car is handling good and he stays in the top 4 fighting, slicing and dicing with Stewart and Edwards till lap 168 when Edwards takes the lead from him and he starts falling back because his brakes are heating up. Lap 175 he's in 12th and Brian Vickers comes up on Kenseth's bumper and drivers him forward which smokes the brakes and pushes his front end into the track. Heavy damage on Kenseth's car sends him to the garage with a smoking radiator among other things. Vickers said Kenseth just stopped on the back stretch. He does make it back onto the track for some laps but finishes his day 34th and 74 laps down. Ouch. Kenseth asks why they park a guy who retaliates under a caution but lets this guy retaliate 2 races later and don't call him to the hauler. He's got a point on this one. We'll see what NASCAR does this week if anything. He falls 2 spots to 6th in the standings.

KEVIN HARVICK - Has handling issues all race long. Pits under green giving up 12th for a vibration on lap 144. Which is his best showing. For much of the race he's between 13th and 18th. He finishes in 19th and 1 lap down. He maintains 3rd place in the standings.

TONY STEWART - By lap 15 he goes from 8th to 3rd. He's on a mission. By lap 20 he's 2nd. Kenseth is still leading but on lap 36 Stewart goes to the outside with Geoff Bodine in between him and Kenseth. He's now leading. He keeps the lead till lap 158 when Kenseth takes it. On lap 178 there's a caution for Vickers hitting Kenseth and Stewart takes back the lead on the restart. Lap 220 there's a caution for Robby Gordon riding the wall. Stewart comes out of the pits in 3rd but an air pressure adjustment turns out to be too much. He's now struggling to keep his position. He pits with 19 laps to go for a splash of fuel only and falls back to 5th with 15 laps to go. Keselowski hasn't pitted yet so when he finally does Stewart is in 4th. He passes Jeff Burton to end his day in 3rd and 3 points behind Edwards to remain 2nd in the point standings. He lead the most laps for the bonus.

CARL EDWARDS  - Edwards hung out in the top 3 all day even with a loose race car. He stayed out of trouble and didn't lead the most laps but came in 2nd to Kasey Kahne to remain in first place in the point standings.

POINT STANDINGS - Edwards 2359 - Stewart 2356 - Harvick 2308 - Keselowski 2294 - Johnson 2291 - Kenseth 2298 - Earnhardt Jr 2257 - Ku Busch 2252 - Newman 2252 - Hamlin 2249 - Gordon 2247 - Ky Busch 2224

All are eliminated but Stewart and Edwards. Only 3 points separate the 2 drivers. Stewart has 4 Chase wins. Edwards has no Chase wins. If Stewart wins the race next week or if they are tied due to where they place at the end of the race Stewart wins the championship with the 4 wins as the tie breaker. My money is still on my dark knight of the Mobile One. Edwards favors the Homestead track with the win there last year at this time. Stewart says he's ready to go now. He don't want to wait till Friday. Homestead is in Florida and is a 1.5 mile oval track with low banking. I'm excited. So it's 3pm Sunday November 20th for the Ford 400. Be there or be square......

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