Ticket Guardian 500 (Phoenix) | Bonehead Picks

Ticket Guardian 500 (Phoenix)

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It is race two of the three race West Coast swing which is officially entitled NASCAR Goes West, and after leaving Las Vegas, they now head to the Arizona desert in Phoenix for the Ticket Guardian 500 at the newly renamed ISM Raceway. The current setting you currently see will be the last time as the whole track will be reconfigured by the time the Monster Energy Series returns in the Fall during the playoffs including the Start/Finish line, so you better enjoy it while you can.

Martin Truex Jr won the pole on Friday with a time of 26.288 seconds and a speed of 136.945 MPH. The pole is his first of the season along with his second consecutive top five start. It is also the second pole of his career at ISM Raceway and looks for his first win at the track and also his first of 2018. During the Fall race last season, Truex finished a career best third after going the last four races overall finishing 11th or worst.

The most wins at Phoenix belong to Kevin Harvick (tenth) who has won eight and at one point won four in a row overall. Even with two wins on the season, his Las Vegas win along with all seven playoff points were forfeited after his rear window and rocker panels failed R&D inspections. He is without car chief Robert Smith for this race and Fontana but Rodney Childers was only fined. There has been no word as to whether Stewart-Haas Racing will appeal the penalty.

Jimmie Johnson (seventeenth) has four Phoenix wins and is in need to break his latest winless streak which is now at 26. Johnson has yet to lead a lap or even score a top ten finish. Ryan Newman (thirteenth) snapped both of his losing streaks at Phoenix, including last season where his latest one lasted 127 consecutive races. ISM Raceway is a track that has become well known in recent years for snapping long winless streaks.

Phoenix could not come at a better time for points leader Joey Logano (fifth) who had a meltdown after losing his Richmond win last season which kept him out of the playoffs. Logano is currently on a roll finishing in the top ten in all three 2018 races including leading a combined 29 laps. Logano took over the points lead after Harvick was also penalized 20 driver points and was dropped to third.

Other single time winners Kyle Busch (seventh) and Denny Hamlin (sixth) are starting in the top ten. Kurt Busch (twenty-third) and Kasey Kahne (twenty-sixth) are starting outside the top 20.

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