NASCAR Rolls into Phoenix for Subway 500

NASCAR Subway 500, Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, AZ
Sunday, February 27, 2011, 3:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
One Mile Oval Track
Defending Champion: Ryan Newman

Jimmy Johnson Brickyard 400
Johnson is our pick to win the 2011 NASCAR Subway 500 from Phoenix.

After last week’s exciting Daytona 500 won by 20 year old rookie Trevor Bayne, NASCAR comes to Phoenix. Recently, the second race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule has been at California. However, They took away one of California’s two dates. The first Phoenix race was moved from April to February and shortened from 600 miles to 500. Weather could be a factor as it will be in the mid 40’s at race time, much cooler than normal for the desert. One thing you won’t see is the two car drafts that were the norm at Daytona. That was simply a by-product of the new faster surface at Daytona and the restrictor  plate. The big story so far this weekend has been Kyle Busch, who won the truck race Friday night and the Nationwide race last night. He led the Nationwide race wire to wire, becoming the first driver to lead a NASCAR national race wire-to-wire since 2003. Busch is going for his second career 3 race sweep in the same weekend. He accomplished the feat last year at Bristol. Here is a look at some of the  contenders and their odds to win  courtesy of bodog.

Carl Edwards (9/2) Edwards finished 2nd last week at Daytona, and qualified for the pole here at Phoenix. He would love to get a win for new car sponsor Subway in this race that Subway is also sponsoring. He won the fall race at Phoenix last year and has numerous other top tens in his career at Phoenix. He won the last two races of the year last year to break a long winless streak on the Sprint Cup Series. Edwards is certainly worth a play. You can also get him head-to-head against Kyle Busch at -135. Busch is  +105 in the match-up.

Kyle Busch (5/1) Busch qualified 4th here as he goes for the sweep. He finished in the top ten last week at Daytona. Busch has also had success at Phoenix. He has one win and several top 10’s in his career. Busch held off a late challenge by Edwards yesterday in the Nationwide race. I think Edwarrds could return the favor today, though Busch should never be counted out of any race.

Kurt Busch (13/2) Older Brother Kurt also finished in the top 10 last week at Daytona. He qualified 2nd here, and has finished in the top 10 at this track 4 of the last 5 times he has raced here. He has won win here in 2005. I do like Kurt Busch -115 head to head against Denny Hamlin, but I don’t like him to win the race.

Denny Hamlin (7/1) Hamlin qualified 12th for this race. He finished a disappointing 21st at Daytona last week. Hamlin has never won at this track but does have several top 10’s here. i don’t really like Hamlin to win this race.

Jimmie Johnson (10/1) Johnson qualified 28th here. An early wreck took him out of Daytona and he finished 28th. Johnson has 4 wins at this track in his career, the last in 2009. He has 11 straight top 10’s as this track and has never finished lower than 15th at this track. He is certainly worth a play due to his success at the track. I do like Johnson at -130 to beat Kevin Harvick head-to-head.

Kevin Harvick (15/1) Harvick qualified 17th for this race. He finished 42nd last week at Daytona. He won both Phoenix races in 2006, and has several other top ten’s at this track. He certainly has the talent to win here, but I just don’t think this is his week.

Tony Stewart (18/1) Stewart qualified 18th for this race. He finished 13th last week. Stewart has never won in Phoenix before, but does have several top 10’s. I don’t like Stewart to win the race, but you can get good value on him at +105 head-to-head against Greg Biffle.

Greg Biffle (20/1) Biffle qualified 10th for this race. He finished 35th last week at Daytona. Biffle finished 4th in the fall race at Phoenix last year. He has never won here but does have a couple of runner-up finishes here.

Jeff Gordon (20/1) Gordon was invloved in the same wreck that took out team mate Jimmie Johnson and finished 28th last week. He qualified 20th at Phoenix. Gordon has one win at this track but multiple top 10’s. Gordon hasn’t won a race since April of 2009 at Texas, and would love to end that streak. I don’t see it happening thsi week, but Gordon is -115 head-to head against Mark Martin. I like Gordon in that match-up.

Joey Logano (20/1) Logano finished 23rd last week at Daytona. He qualified 6th for this race. The young Logano doesn’t have a win here, but did finish third in the fall race at this track. He is -115 head-to-head against Kasey Kahne and I like Kahne in that match-up.

Here are some of the other contenders and their odds. Kasey Kahne (22/1), Jamie McMurray (25/1), Mark Martin (25/1), Clint Bowyer (25/1), Ryan Newman (25/1), Jeff Burton (30/1), Juan Pablo Montoya (30/1), Matt  Kenseth (30/1), Martin Truex, Jr. (35/1), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (40/1), Brad Keselowski (40/1), David Ragan (50/1), Ragan Smith (60/1), and Trevor Bayne  (150/1). I like Johnson to win the race, due to his success at this track.

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