How the eight remaining NASCAR playoff drivers fare at Phoenix

Yahoo Sports

Welcome to the first race at the reconfigured ISM (formerly Phoenix) Raceway. The track itself hasn’t been redone but the start/finish line is now off of what used to be turns 1 and 2. 

Clint Bowyer

Points: 4,052
26 starts
2 top 5s, 7 top 10s
Average finish: 18.4

Not exactly great to be heading to a track where you need a win as the eighth-best driver of eight playoff drivers at said track. But that’s Bowyer’s situation. The upshot is that he’s finished 13th, 13th and sixth with Stewart-Haas Racing at Phoenix. But he needs more than that.

Martin Truex Jr.

Points: 4,125
25 starts
3 top 5s, 9 top 10s
Average finish: 16.5

Truex crashed in the fall race at Phoenix in 2016 and finished 40th after starting 40th. He’s been better since then, finishing 11th, third and fifth in the last three races. He started first in the spring but only led three laps.

Aric Almirola

Points: 4,068
15 starts
3 top 10s
Average finish: 16.3
Like Bowyer, SHR has been very good for Almirola. But he wasn’t bad at the track in his time with Richard Petty Motorsports. He finished between 10th and 19th in nine-straight races from 2012-16 and only broke that streak with a 22nd-place finish. He was seventh in the spring, his best finish ever at the track.

Joey Logano

Points: 4,119 [won at Martinsville]
19 starts
1 win, 4 top 5s, 9 top 10s
Average finish: 14.4

Logano won at ISM in the fall two years ago to clinch a spot in the 2016 final four. His results just before that race and then after the win aren’t too great. He was 18th in the spring in 2016 and has finished 31st, 12th and 19th since then. Luckily for Logano, this race really doesn’t mean anything for his title hopes because of the Martinsville win.

Kurt Busch

Points: 4,100
31 starts
1 win, 7 top 5s, 18 top 10s
Average finish: 13.6

Busch’s stats have trended like Logano’s. He went seventh, fifth, seventh, sixth and fifth in five straight races from 2014-16. In the three races since he’s finished 25th, 21st and 10th. His lone Phoenix win came in 2005. He didn’t drive in the fall race in 2005 after an incident with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.

Kyle Busch

Points: 4,128
26 starts
1 win, 8 top 5s, 18 top 10s
Average finish: 11.8

Busch won in his second start at Phoenix. That was all the way back in the fall race in 2005 — the one his brother missed. He’s come close to winning a lot recently. Busch hasn’t finished outside the top seven since the fall race in 2014 and has run exceptionally well in the last two spring races at ISM. He led 114 laps and finished third in 2017 and 128 laps while finishing second in 2018.

Kevin Harvick

Points: 4,103 [won at Texas but penalized and win doesn’t count for final four]
31 starts
9 wins, 15 top 5s, 20 top 10s
Average finish: 9.5

Yeah, Harvick’s team is reeling after a big penalty following its Texas win. But there’s no better track to come to after a penalty like that. Harvick has won seven of the last 12 races at Phoenix. Outside of a 13th-place finish in the spring of 2013 he hasn’t finished any lower than sixth. His win in the spring broke a three-race streak of no laps led.

Chase Elliott

Points: 4,086
5 Starts
2 top 5s, 4 top 10s
Average finish: 6.8

Small sample sizes work to Elliott’s advantage again. He’s finished second and third in the last two Phoenix races and hasn’t finished any lower than 12th in any of his five starts.


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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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