March 3rd, 2013
“SUBWAY FRESH FIT 500”
AVONDALE, ARIZONA- The Sprint Cup Series visited the desert race track for their second round of racing for the season. Another female is making history in NASCAR at this time as well. Christmas Abbott is the first female to be on a pit crew. She is the front tire changer on one of Michael Waltrip Racing teams. She is doing everything she needs, to be valuable member on Sunday. Patrick had a tough qualifying, as she started 40th. Mark Martin (55), at age 54 won the pole for this race, with Kasey Kahne (5) starting second. Martin won his very first pole at Phoenix twenty years ago. The first race run at Phoenix was held in 1988, and Alan Kulwicki won that inaugural race.
Both Teammates Denny Hamlin (11) and Kyle Busch (18) had engine failures that forced them to start from the rear of the field. David Stremme (30) had a transmission change that sent him to the back. Kurt Busch (78) also had to start in back for changes made to the cooling system.
They scheduled 312 laps to complete the 312 miles race. One change made for this race, there are no roof cameras. I have not heard the reason for the removal.
In opening ceremonies: Ken Bowers provided the Invocation. Adam Gontier sang the “National Anthem”, and Brian Baumgartner (Modern Family actor) was the Grand Marshal. A B-17 did a fly over of the raceway. Carl Edwards (99) was the In-race reporter for the Subway Fresh Fit 500.
In related news: Two of the injured people from last weekend’s race are still in the hospital at this time. It would be expected that their injuries were pretty nasty for them to still be in the hospital a week after the accident.
On the first lap, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (17) tagged the wall with the front and rear of his car. No caution was thrown. On lap 21, the first caution came out for Scott Riggs (44) tire blowing out just before he smacked the outside wall.
On lap 49, Caution came out for Kyle Busch, who spun out and tagged the wall with the front end of his race car, while running in the fifteenth position. Busch had put on two tires on the first pit stop. He was attempting to get as far forward as he could, and when he tried to go around the outside of Carl Edwards (99) he spun out. Martin Truex Jr. (56) had a rear axle break, just as the field was ready to go back to green.
On lap 66, Caution three came out for Dave Blaney (7) hitting the wall hard. He was run into by David Stremme. Mark Martin received the “Aarons Lucky Dog” to get back on the lead lap, after making a pit stop under green on lap 64 for a two tire change. He thought he may have had a loose wheel on his Aaron’s Toyota Camry.
The fourth caution flew on lap 99, when Ryan Newman (39) ran up and into the wall. They found that a tire bead failed causing the tire to blow out.
On lap 141, Ryan Newman hit the wall again very hard. He threw his window net down, showing that he was done racing for the day. At the mid-race point Mark Martin had led the most laps with 74. Carl Edwards had the lead, and Kurt Busch has moved up from 41st into the top ten.
On lap 186, the sixth caution came out for Danica Patrick (10) having a tire blow out, and as she came off the wall, she hit David Ragan (34). Ragan’s car slammed into Patrick’s just behind the driver’s seat. It ripped the entire side off of Patrick’s race car. His car looked like it ran up and over her front tire as it tore her car apart. Both cars were still on the lead lap when the accident happened.
On lap 193, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the leader when the green flag flew. On lap 237, David Gilliland (38) had a tire fail that sent him into the wall, for the seventh caution of the race. After being a lap down since lap 49 for his own spin, Kyle Busch was able to get back on the lead lap with the Lucky Dog.
Carl Edwards took over leading the most laps in the race with about forty to go. He has had a winless streak of 70 races that he was attempting to break, with a win for his sponsor, who was also the sponsor of the race.
With 20 laps left in the race, Edwards was leading Johnson and Keselowski by about 1.3 seconds. With only 3 laps left, the eighth caution came out when Ken Schrader (32) hammered the wall after a tire failure.
The race went into overtime due to the late caution. Cars began running out of fuel due to not making a pit stop. Carl Edwards (99) was able to hold the field off for the win. The rest of the top ten were: Jimmie Johnson (48), Denny Hamlin (11), Brad Keselowski (2), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (88), Clint Bowyer (15), Matt Kenseth (20), Tony Stewart (14), Jeff Gordon (24) and Jeff Burton (31).
The next race is the Kobalt Tools 400, and it will be on Sunday at the Las Vegas Track, on FOX at 2:30 PM.