On The Gas, On The Brakes In Phoenix

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Round four of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is in the books as we roll through the last leg of the West Coast Swing.

Before we get to spotlights in Hollywood and Southern California, drivers continue to soak into their ice baths after a steaming Sunday in the desert at Phoenix International Raceway.  Who was on the on the gas and who was dragging that break pedal watching the field pool away?  Read on with this week’s edition of “On the Gas, On the Brakes!”

On The Gas…

5) Erik Jones – The first of our two rookies that would finish in the top-10 on Sunday.  Jones would secure his first career Cup Series top-10 finish.  Honestly, it should not be too much of a surprise, as Jones has an average Xfinity finish of 4.3 along with three truck wins at the one mile desert oval.

4) Daniel Suarez – After a dismal day on Saturday in the Xfinity race, which seemed to echo the overall start of 2017 campaign for the rookie, Suarez led the way for the two rookies.  The 2016 Xfinity Series champion survived the brutal heat to bring home a solid top 10 finish.

3) Richard Childress – You knew they couldn’t keep him out of Victory Lane for long.  For some who were wondering if the newly inducted Hall of Fame member would ever return to the winner’s circle, Sunday was a nice scene for the North Carolinian.

2) Kyle Larson – Another second place finish, or two of them in the same week, as he holds down that same spot here.  He was on the gas but pit strategy bit him again.  Either Larson wins soon or we’ll just staple him right here at the number 2 position.

1) Ryan Newman – Could it really have been anyone else?  Stealing a win away while snapping a 127 race winless streak, plus bringing the No. 31 car back to victory lane.  Hello Newman…you are locked in the playoffs.


(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

On The Brakes

5)  Ryan Blaney – It almost hurts to put him here.  Another solid top-five car in the offing, but a late race speeding penalty, plus reoccurring brake issues relegated Blaney from a career best starting spot (second) back to the number of spots equal to his car number, as he would leave the desert hot, tired, and frustrated after a 23rd place finish.

4) Dale Earnhardt Jr. – With a solid third place qualifying effort and good adjustments by Greg Ives, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was on his way to what should have been a solid finish.  However, as many suffered on Sunday, late brake issues did not allow Earnhardt to race with the leaders.  Instead, he would fall back to a 14th place finish. The good news was the speed that was evident with the No. 88 car.  Unfortunately, the finish wasn’t there.

3) Brad Keselowski – You might ask, why is he on the brakes after a solid finish?  Post race inspection would be the answer.  The No. 2 Miller Lite Ford would fail post race inspection in the weights and measurement portion.  This could leave Keselowski with a lighter bank account and his crew chief sitting at home.

2) Joey Logano – He just can’t stay out of the headlines or the meme creators.  Logano blew a tire with just a handful of laps remaining on Sunday, which would relegate him to a 31st place finish.  Ultimately, it gave NASCAR nation plenty of ideas for memes.

1) Kyle Busch – Simply put, he is the reason for the recent memes.  The NASCAR fan base still hasn’t let up on Busch from the Las Vegas incident.  After Logano blew his tire, they didn’t let up.  The accident obviously wasn’t intentional to cost Busch the win, but it certainly had that effect, as pit stops, along with drivers staying out, left Busch outside of the top-five with no place to go.  “Everything is great,” according to Busch, I’m sure.

The good news for everyone is that it’s a new week.  The drivers can try to be on the gas in Southern California, something most Golden State natives who never get to say sitting on the 405 in traffic.

See you Sunday for the Auto Club 400 in Fontana, CA!

Stephen Conley

If it races, I'll write about it, talk about it or shoot it with a camera.

I began pursuing a career in motorsports journalism immediately after attending college at Kent State University. I have hosted multiple Motorsports talk shows, worked in Country Music radio, and now i spend every day on the air in the morning with 1300 and 100.9 WMVO and in the afternoons watching the roadways around Central Ohio for 93.7 WQIO.

The excitement and the fans make everything I put out there worth while, it's been an exciting 15 years having covered everything from the Daytona 500 to the Rolex 24 and you can find me at pretty much any event run at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

What I like to bring is a look behind the scenes, a look at what and who makes the sport grow. From the guy that welds pieces back at the shop to the host in the tv booth.

Everyone has a story and I like to tell it. My main focus here at TPF is looking at the men and women behind the microphone and cameras.

My life long goal is to become a member of MRN or PRN Radio and bring the races to you. I hope that what I share now is enjoyable and gives you a unique look in to the world of motorsports.

See you at a track soon

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