On The Gas, On The Brakes From Phoenix

(Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

There are dangerous things deep in the desert. When you back an upset driver and his team in to a corner, you can expect a strike that would rival any rattlesnake pit. That was the case when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series came to ISM Raceway.

Could one driver win three in a row? Furthermore, could the Camaros show some speed on a flat one mile track? A lot of questions raged prior to the green flag on what would be ISM Raceway’s final race on the current configuration. The 2017 champ, Martin Truex Jr. would lead the field to green, but would he be one of those…

On The Gas…

3: Daniel Suarez – The second year driver for Joe Gibbs Racing is enjoying a decent start in 2018. A little up and down, but quality improvements in each race. After mid-race issues in Las Vegas, Suarez would rebound with a strong run. We would see the No. 19 as high as fifth and would take the checkers in eighth.

2: Kyle Busch – After leading the most laps in the Ticket Guardian 500 and making it look like Kevin Harvick’s run would end at two, Busch came to pit road for his final stop. A failure with the jack that would cost Busch over two seconds in the pits and put the driver of the No. 18 Toyota in position to once again look at the rear bumper of the eventual winner.

1: Kevin Harvick – As Ric Flair once said, “To be the man, you have to beat the man!” Right now, Harvick is a man among boys. Ultimately, he wasn’t afraid to show up everyone inside the big black and green NASCAR hauler. Harvick would basically stick it to them in regard to the penalty for last week’s window. How?  He stood on the back of the car at the start/finish line and pounded on the back window. It may just continue to be Harvick’s playground moving forward.

Now we’ve seen those that were moving forward, who was sliding back and…

On The Brakes…

3: Team Penske – With the strength of the Fords this season and Penske’s early season runs, the expectations were high going in to Phoenix. But for Keselowski, Blaney and Logano, finishes of 15th, 16th and 19th may have the Penske boys running back to the drawing board prior to unloading in Fontana.

2: Bubba Wallace – The driver of the No. 43 Ford continues to be a fan favorite and attracting new fans to the sport. Even after a poor finish, Bubba tweeted “We win together as a team, and lose together as a team. This team needs to pull a lot together, especially on pit road if they hope to win together any time soon.”

1: Paul Menard – It has been an impressive start for the single car Wood Brothers operation. After the departure of Ryan Blaney, the team has not missed a beat early in 2018 with Menard at the wheel until this stop in Phoenix.

Menard lost a tire on lap 189, sending the No. 12 hard in to the wall and killing their first car of the season. It ended their day, but hopefully, for the team, not the momentum that Menard has built early in the season.

You have to be on the gas if you hope to end Kevin Harvick’s run.  After stops at Vegas and Phoenix, the series makes its final stop on the West Coast Swing just outside of Hollywood, where they are famous for “twists and turns.”

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competitors hope they can throw a twist in to the storyline that has featured Kevin Harvick all too often.

Two mile, worn out race track of Auto Club Speedway is up next. High speed, high drama is ahead.

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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