December 20, 2014

Below the Yellow Line: Phoenix Preview

Daytona is in the rearview mirror and NASCAR will be headed west to battle in the desert at Phoenix International Raceway! The truck series is off until Martinsville.

Phoenix always provides for some exciting racing and should have some exciting action! The weather forecast for this weekend looks good: All sun and no threat of rain. Here are my race previews for this weekend in Phoenix!

NASCAR Nationwide Series: Dollar General 200

Time: Saturday, 4 PM, ESPN 2

The NASCAR Nationwide Series is coming off a hectic weekend in Daytona. Following the wreck filled Daytona, many drivers look to rebound and improve their points situation with a win in the desert.

Some notable driver changes this week include: Aric Almirola filling in for injured Michael Annett in the #43 Pilot/Flying J Ford, Jimmie Johnson driving the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, Kevin Harvick in the RCR #33 Menard’s Chevrolet , and Matt Kenseth will remain in the #18 JGR Toyota.

Some big news coming out of the series is the suspension of the driver of the #51 Jeremy Clements. He has been suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR’s code of conduct in an off camera interview. NASCAR has not released what he said but many reports claim Clements let out a “racial slur” during the interview. He will not be on track this weekend.

The Nationwide Series is packed full of tremendous young talent and also proven veterans. Making a pick is always tough in this series but I think #5 Jimmie Johnson will win this race.

Any time you put a five time Sprint Cup Champion in a car, you know you have the chance to win. Plus, with him racing in the Nationwide Series, he has more experience than most of the other drivers in this race.

I believe with his driving talent and experience, he will put the #5 Great Clips Chevrolet into Victory Lane this weekend in Phoenix.

My pick for the Sprint Cup Race in Phoenix: Denny Hamlin (Photo by

My pick for the Sprint Cup Race in Phoenix: Denny Hamlin (Photo by

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series: Subway Fresh Fit 500

Time: Sunday, 2:30 PM, Fox

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is coming off a spectacular Daytona 500. Their next stop is the desert! Phoenix has been known to bring out the tempers and emotions of drivers (Clint Bowyer and Jeff Gordon fight last season). It will be fun to see if we see more of the same this weekend.

When you look at Phoenix many drivers come to mind as favorites: Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick, etc.

My pick? I’m going with last year’s winner: The driver of the #11 FedEx Toyota, Denny Hamlin. Denny is a tremendous driver that is pretty good at Phoenix. He is coming off a pretty good Daytona 500, earning Joe Gibbs Racing it’s best finish in the race after teammates #18 Kyle Busch and #20 Matt Kenseth had to leave the race with mechanical issues.

I think we will be seeing a repeat of last year’s race with Denny celebrating in victory lane.

There’s only one way to figure out if all these predictions will come true: Watch the race! The races this weekend are sure to be exciting! Phoenix always brings out the best in drivers and it will be fun to see who comes out on top.

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