Header image

Kyle Busch takes the checkered flag at ISM Speedway in Phoenix (Photo source: Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)

Kyle Busch may not have gotten the sweep he was hoping for at his home track in Las Vegas, but he put on a clinic in Phoenix. I miss going to the Phoenix race- I love it, but it is just too much vacation time for me to take enough to get through the Vegas race and the Phoenix race since they moved to a “west coast swing” schedule several years ago.  I love the Phoenix area, and even when I am not at the track, I end up having fun in Scottsdale.

Ryan Blaney captured the pole with Chase Elliott hot on his heels and completing the second row.

However, Kyle Busch stole the show at ISM speedway, leading a good chunk of the race in the middle, and then again at the end when it counted most.

One thing about this configuration of ISM is the weird way the drivers cut corners through what use to be the infield. I will be honest; I don’t like it as much as I did the previous configuration of the one-mile track.

I was impressed to see Jimmie Johnson in the top ten- a solid run for a team that seems to have been struggling so far this year.  It is a new crew chief for Johnson so I wonder if part of that isn’t the issue. The team is still learning to gel together.  I hope for him that the team gets a win soon. Of course, I love the Ally bank paint scheme- mostly because purple is my favorite color and I think there needs to be more purple cars. Ha!

Also impressive was Clint Bowyer’s run. He was solidly in the top 5 most of the race.

What I find ironic is that the two drivers who scuffled during qualifying, Daniel Suarez and Michael McDowell, both did kind of poorly during the race itself. It almost made the scuffle inconsequential.

Next week we are off to Fontana.

(photo source: Zimbio.com/Sarah Crabill/Getty Images North America)

Start: 25th

Finish: 15th

Points: 2192 (15th in points)

(photo source: zimbio.com/Sean Gardner/Getty Images North America)

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. (more…)

Tony and team in the garage

Tony and team in the garage at Phoenix Raceway 2015. (Photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page/Rusty Jarrett)

Tony Qualified: 17th

Tony Finished: 39th

Points: 32 points, currently 36th in the standings

What is that saying? If it wasn’t for bad luck I wouldn’t have any luck at all or something like that? I feel that could definitely be used in the case of Tony Stewart’s season. He has yet to finish a race on the lead lap. That ugly stat makes this Smoke fan sad. (more…)

Tony Stewart in the garage area at Las Vegas Motor Speedway (photo credit: Tony Stewart Official Store facebook/ Rusty Jarrett)

 

“I think just learning the way the car is going to respond every week with the rules in place and finding the combination that works the best. We’re basically starting from scratch. There are some things that you take away from what we did last year, but anytime you have significant rules changes like the ones we have this year, that’s the No. 1 obstacle – trying to figure out what our Bass Pro Shops/Mobil 1 Chevy likes and dislikes so it gives you a direction in which to work.” –Tony Stewart, Pre-Phoneix Team Release

 

_____

*TQMS= The Quotable Mr. Stewart

Read other TQTS posts.