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Y! picks: AdvoCare 500

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Track Facts

Venue: Phoenix International Raceway
Race length: 312 miles
No. of laps: 312
Qualifying: Fri., 6 p.m. ET
Race: Sun., 3:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
STAT OF THE WEEK
Head-to-head: Jimmie Johnson's average finish at Phoenix: 4.7; Brad Keselowski's: 22.2.
FEBRUARY RACE
Top 5
1. Denny Hamlin
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Greg Biffle
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Jeff Gordon
RECENT FALL WINNERS
2004:2004:
2011: Kasey Kahne
2010: Carl Edwards
2009: Jimmie Johnson
2008: Jimmie Johnson
2007: Jimmie Johnson
2006: Kevin Harvick
2005: Kyle Busch
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2003: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2002: Matt Kenseth

ALSO THIS WEEKEND:
Nationwide Series
Great Clips 250, Phoenix International Raceway, Sat., 4:15 p.m.

Camping World Series
Lucas Oil 150, Phoenix International Raceway, Fri., 8:18 p.m.

EXPERT STANDINGS
NOTE: Jay Hart ended the regular season with 816 points, followed by Jay Busbee with 775 and Nick Bromberg with 755.
Busbee:  2,270 points (4 wins)
Bromberg:  2,268 points (1 win)
Hart:  2,263 points (5 wins)
YAHOO! SPORTS FANTASY AUTO RACING
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Phoenix preview (PDF)

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for Sunday's AdvoCare 500.

Kasey Kahne is the defending race winner.

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Who Will Win?

Jimmie Johnson: I want to pick someone other than Jimmie, but I need to go with the prohibitive favorite here. Johnson is money at Phoenix, and I don't see him or anyone on his crew doing anything that would keep him out of the lead for large chunks of this race, including the last lap. You won't make a whole lot of money betting on Johnson at Phoenix, but you won't go broke, either. – Jay Busbee

Jimmie Johnson: It's hammer time as no one can touch Jimmie Johnson at Phoenix. It's his best career track, and he'll grab a fifth Phoenix win and first on the new layout when he essentially clinches the Chase on Sunday. Yeah, it's better for the sport if Brad Keselowski gains points on Johnson and the two head to Homestead in a virtual dead heat. But this is Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus on the heels of two straight pole-to-win performances. Is anyone really doubting a third? – Nick Bromberg

Denny Hamlin: If there's anyone who can take down Jimmie Johnson at Phoenix, it's Hamlin, who won there earlier this year and is just as good on flat tracks as Five (soon to be Six) Time. Hamlin has nothing left to race for but wins, and he'll get it Sunday. – Jay Hart

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Top Storyline

Last year at Phoenix, Kasey Kahne crashed the Chasers party by taking the win. Will someone do that this year? If it's going to be anyone, it'll be Kyle Busch, who is long overdue for a win in the final 10 races of the season. There's no guarantee that Shrub's performance would be the same over these first eight Chase races if he had gotten a few more points at Richmond. But even out of the Chase, this is a confidence-building stretch for that No. 18 team that could culminate in a victory on Sunday. – Nick Bromberg

Interesting how the top two drivers in the Chase seem to start finishing 1-2 as the weeks wind down. Is it a matter of respect from the rest of the field, or has everyone else just flat-out given up? It will be interesting to see if anyone (our money's on Kyle Busch) steps up to challenge Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski – and just how hard they'll push the top two while doing so. – Jay Busbee

When it comes to Jimmie Johnson vs. Brad Keselowski, the battle behind the battle is who will finish the season with more wins. Remember, that's how last year's title was decided, and with just seven points separating them, the championship could be determined by the tiebreak: wins. Right now, they're knotted at five apiece. Who will break the tie? – Jay Hart

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FROM THE SOURCE

"It's a small amount of control, but we're definitely in control. We don’t have to catch any or make up any points. Seven points is nothing to feel comfortable about and to relax on. We're still going to go into Phoenix and act as if we're behind and go in there to try to sit on the pole and win the race again." – Jimmie Johnson

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