Points: 2192 (15th in points)
Dear Phoenix- it had been too long. I hadn’t been at your track since November of 2014 and I forgot why I love you so much. Last year I forsake you to attend my first race in Homestead-Miami because Jeff Gordon was retiring and since it’s so close to the Phoenix race there was no way I could attend both. This year- I thought I would miss you. I had decided in the shadow of my driver Tony Stewart retiring to attend my first and his last Brickyard 400 at IMS. I assumed that I would again forgo Phoenix. For no other reason than for me to drive the crazy trek to Phoenix is a taxing one- first to Vegas to pick up my friend which is about 500 miles door -to-door from where I live and usually takes me between 7 and 8 hours. The drive from Vegas to Phoenix is another nearly 5 hours. That’s a lot of time in a car- to then have to turn around and do the same thing in reverse order the Monday and Tuesday after the race. Especially when you consider I would likely be doing the same thing just a few weeks later for Champions Week in Vegas (minus the trip to Phoenix). But then I got a text from Misty asking if I wanted to do something a little bit crazy. See when we went to Indiana for the Brickyard we were caught up in the major meltdown Southwest suffered when it had issues with it’s reservation software in late July. Our outgoing flight to Indianapolis was cancelled with 3 hours notice (not delayed but CANCELLED completely). Despite the stress of us having to figure our own way out to Indiana (because if we stayed with Southwest they MIGHT be able to get us to Indiana on Saturday when we were suppose to be there on Thursday) on another carrier who was more than willing to get us there on Friday- Southwest gave us vouchers for flights to prove they can indeed provide us with the service we expected. Misty’s crazy idea was for me to drive to Vegas and then together we would hop a flight from Vegas to Phoenix stay just long enough to see the race and then fly back to Vegas and I could drive back to my central coast home. That flight ended up being approximately 45 minutes. And let me tell you it was worth every penny. Flying was so so much easier than the long, desolate desert drive between Vegas and Phoenix that I since have a hard time seeing myself doing that drive again. Ever.
That is besides the point. I had forgotten how awesome the racing action is and has been at Phoenix. A bit before I went to Indiana but after Tony’s win at Sonoma I was talking to my neighbor while out walking the dogs. He was telling me about going to Sonoma on his company party bus (big ag) and he asked me which of the tracks that I had been to was my favorite. I said straight out Phoenix because of the racing action at the track is bar none of the ones I have been to. I didn’t lie. I don’t know how that race looked from television but it was exciting to watch- especially at the end…and that was even considering Tony wasn’t having a great day. He didn’t have a terrible day- he did get his lap back and thankful to some ill timed pit stops at a time when a good portion of the field went a lap down because of the pitstops that put him within the top ten. While he didn’t stay there he did finish 15th on the lead lap. But that racing action…let me tell you about that racing action.
It was warm in Phoenix but not hot. Tony was doing alright but not great. Usually my attention is wandering by 100 laps to go when Tony’s not doing well but I tell you I was on the edge of my seat the whole latter part of the race. THAT is the result of good racing! I don’t know if it’s because I knew that the championship 4 was to be determined at this race but it was exciting all the way.
Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures;
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