Replacement Driver: Ty Dillon
Finished: 15th (lead lap)
Whenever I watch a race from Phoenix at home I get wistful- and wish that I was at that race. I love PIR, I love the track and I love the racing quality the track produces and this race looked like it was an awesome one because it’s my assertion that for all the good racing you see on the National Broadcast – the actual racing at the track is at least twice as good. ” It seemed the racing at Phoenix this spring did not disappoint! They could not have had a better day for racing in the desert as it was warm but not hot and no hurricane-like winds of the Vegas race just a week ago.
By the way, I still wonder why Phoenix is one of the few races on the circuit that are in Kilometers instead of miles…it seems odd to me to say 500K (which apparnently is approximately 312 miles give or take “overtime”).
I think as far as Ty Dillon goes behind the wheel of the 14- he is steadily improving thus far and that is helping Team 14 improve. While Ty might not have had the best qualifying run he quickly worked his way up to 17th and stayed somewhere between 17th and 20th most of the race. Never giving up Ty was able to get a 15th finishing position after Kasey Kahne spun with 5 laps to go. Speaking of Kasey Kahne- he just had his difficulties at Phoenix didn’t he. Started with blowing an engine during qualifying and then he had his share of issues during the race…including the crash at the end. Anyway, Tony had nice things to say to Ty on the radio after the race:
“That’s a really good job today. I’m very proud of you bud.” — Tony Stewart radio March 13th, 2016
And Tony has a lot to be proud of since his young replacement driver did better than where he started by quite a bit.
Overall- I was sure that Kurt Busch was going to win. Then for awhile I though that Kyle would pull off the weekend sweep of the race. But in the end, Stewart-Haas’s own “Cactus King” Kevin Harvick pulled out a victory while second place Carl Edwards gave it all he had short of wrecking Harvick out. Tony even commented after the race in an interview with SiriusXM’s Claire B. Lang that Carl raced Kevin with respect and exactly how you should race someone in that situation. It was an exciting finish to say the least.
Kevin Harvick came in first, and Stewart-Haas teammate Kurt Busch came in 6th, Ty Dillon subbing for Tony Stewart came in 15th, and Danica Patrick came in 19th.
Next week we are are Auto Club Speedway, with Brian Vickers piloting a special paint scheme on the 14 that I will talk more about in the Loose Lugnuts this week.
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:
If you want to take part in Project: Smoke In My Eyes there is still time. Check out the link for more information.
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