Four Things You Need To Know: Phoenix Edition

We are getting deeper in to the season and we are starting to see which teams are going to be the one’s to keep an eye on, and which teams need to make some changes.

This week, we are headed to Phoenix, the next stop on the west coast swing. So let’s take a look at four things you need to know before the green flag flies.

1: Keep an eye on Kevin Harvick.

Harvick and his team have won five of the last seven races at Phoenix so it’s a pretty safe bet to stick him on your roster for your fantasy teams this weekend. The No.4 team from Stewart-Haas Racing has been strong this season and I don’t see Phoenix being any different.

2: Also keep an eye on Ty Dillon.

The younger Dillon brother will be piloting the No.14 for Stewart-Haas Racing while Tony Stewart is still recovering from his back injury. This will the the second race this season that Dillon has stepped into the shoes of the famous “Smoke.” This will be Dillon’s tenth Sprint Cup Series start, his third this season, and his second at Phoenix. His first start came back in 2014 when he was driving for his grandfather’s team, Richard Childress Racing. Dillon started 26th and finished 27th, but it was only his second start in a Sprint Cup car…

3: Each of the three manufactures have seen victories this season.

Yep. That’s right! We are three races in and each of the three manufactures have been to Victory Lane. Toyota took the first win at the Daytona 500 with Denny Hamlin. Chevrolet followed suit at Atlanta with Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel. Then last week, Ford got their first victory of 2016 with Brad Keselowski at Las Vegas. It’s safe to say that these cars are running strong this season but the big question looms…how will Stewart-Haas Racing handle the switch to Ford next year?

4: Don’t forget about the other guy!

By the “other guy,” I am referring to the other Rookie of the Year contender, Ryan Blaney. This young gun finished 6th this last weekend at Las Vegas and shows a lot of promise as the pilot of the No.21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford. While it is still early in the season, I can see Blaney making headlines more than once by the time we reach Homestead. We may just have our toughest Rookie of the Year battle yet between Blaney and Chase Elliott. Two young drivers who come from deep racing roots. These guys are definitely going to make some noise in the coming years.

And one thing we learned at Las Vegas…WIND IS A GAME-CHANGER!!!!

Last week’s race at Las Vegas was one of the windiest races in NASCAR yet. It was clear from the start that it was going to be the biggest factor throughout the race and the teams and drivers were going to have to adjust. While it may have proven difficult for some, it left race teams with a few unique experiences that they can hopefully use later in the season. It was even windy enough to cause a dust storm in the middle of the race. Definitely something you don’t see every day!

Katie Copple

They say the best things are left unsaid. I say, the best things need to be put down on paper...or the internet in this case. I discovered NASCAR and the world of motorsports in college and it changed my life... and my career path. Now, when people ask me to describe myself, I tell them that I am a 20-something that has an obsession with racecars.

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