For the second race in a row at Phoenix International Raceway, Carl Edwards will start from the pole. Last fall, he followed up his pole-winning performance with his first career Cup victory at PIR. Making it back-to-back wins won't be a walk in the park. The Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin has some unfinished business in the desert to take care of.
Busch led the most laps at the track last April, and Hamlin did the same in the fall event. However, pit strategy and fuel mileage kept both drivers out of victory lane. Busch was arguably the most impressive car during practice Friday, and Hamlin was stout in his own right. Edwards will have the top spot when the race goes green Sunday, but there is no guarantee he will finish there.
Fantasy owners looking for a last minute sleeper should consider Regan Smith. He doesn't have a great record at PIR, but he ran well in practice and qualified fifth for Sunday's event. In the last 20 races at the track, 19 winners have started inside the top 15. Smith's efforts during qualifying Saturday could lead to a career day Sunday. For those still in need of some convincing, consider the fact that Smith currently leads the series in driver rating after his impressive showing at Daytona.
About Brian Polking
Racing has been part of Brian's life ever since he can remember, and he spent his childhood at dirt tracks throughout Ohio and Kentucky watching his father race. NASCAR naturally became his favorite sport, and he has been following the Cup, Nationwide and Truck Series for most of his life. Brian majored in journalism and economics at Ohio State University and becoming a sports writer has always been his dream. Although he has covered everything from minor league baseball to the NCAA tournament, his passion has always been NASCAR. Brian has served as a NASCAR writer for a variety of sites, eventually becoming head editor of the NASCAR section for Fanball.com. His knowledge of NASCAR comes from his life-long love of racing, and he tries to add a personal touch to every article he writes. Brian is always up for talking NASCAR with anyone that wants to. Brian joined KFFL's team in 2011.
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