Monday, March 3, 2014

Pros and Cons of Phoenix


Pros - Phoenix

I enjoyed seeing Kevin Harvick win a race early on with his new team at Stewart-Haas. He was almost as giddy as Dale Junior was at Daytona. When you make a momentous decision like leaving the team you've been associated with your entire Sprint Cup career, especially for one that is new and untested, it has to be a hugely gratifying relief to have that decision validated. And it wasn't a fluky win....the driver and the car were spot on through the whole race.

I liked seeing Dale Junior carry his momentum from Daytona on to Phoenix. People can always say Daytona is a one-off and doesn't mean that much in the course of a season but Phoenix is a driver's track and proves the 88 is for real this year.

I was cheering for Kyle Larson to have a solid run, the best of the rookies. Of course, he was a lap down for much of the race but first, Joey Logano and then, Kevin Harvick, kept up such a blistering pace that lots of good cars were a lap(s) down....and he got it back at the end.

Even though I don't root for them, I was pleased for Brad and Joey. My preference is for all the teams to race at the top of their game so it was good to see Brad back in championship form. I always did think last year was an aberration for him.

I thought knock-out qualifying was more interesting and exciting than single-car runs. Sure, they may have some bugs to work out but that's always the case with something new.

It seemed like there was quite a bit of passing at Phoenix. I haven't looked up the statistics to see if that was actually so but it seemed that way to me.

It's been fun to watch Junior dive into Twitter, tweeting like a pro.

Watching from a winter-weary Indiana, it was great to spend my Sunday in the Valley of the Sun.

Cons - Phoenix

Ho-hum....watching Kyle dominate the Nationwide race, I was actually happy that I didn't have to sit through the last 32 predictable laps. In fact, the top five finishers were all Sprint Cup drivers (although I'd argue that Kyle Larson didn't quite count, having run only one Cup race this year prior to Phoenix). I really, really hope NASCAR addresses this situation soon rather than later.

Oh, geez, at this point, I'd just like to see Danica get through a race without being wrecked!