The NASCAR Cup Series continues on today as it visits Phoenix Raceway for the United Rentals Work United 500. Today’s race could potentially give us a glimpse of what to expect in November, as Phoenix will also play host to the championship race for the fourth straight season. Last year’s edition was won by Chase Briscoe, who led 101 laps and held off Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick to pick up his first career Cup Series victory.
Driver to Fade:
Fresh off of an 8th place finish last Sunday in Las Vegas, Justin Haley comes to Phoenix having had little past success here, earning just 1 top 20 finish in 4 previous starts. Haley showed very little pace in practice and qualified 26th for today’s race, which doesn’t set him up to have a successful race. Haley will struggle being buried so deep in the field so early on and will finish outside the top 20 today.
After spending the last 3 seasons racing full-time for Richard Childress Racing, Tyler Reddick has had a bit of an adjustment period with his new team at 23XI Racing, as his 15th place finish at Las Vegas last week has been his best finish so far this season. However, there is room for hope for Reddick today, as he finished 3rd here last spring and showed solid long run speed during practice this weekend. A win isn’t that far-fetched, but we predict that Reddick will maintain his top 12 starting spot today on the way to his first top 12 finish this season.
The King of Phoenix Raceway, Kevin Harvick has made this track his playground over the years, with 9 wins, 19 top 5’s, and 29 top 10’s in 40 starts. Harvick has finished in the top 12 in all 3 races this season and brought some speed to the track this weekend, demonstrating solid pace on both the short run and long run in practice. He may have qualified 15th for today’s race, but Harvick has had 19 straight top 10 finishes here, which is the all-time record for consecutive top 10 finishes by any driver at any track. We predict that Harvick will keep that streak alive during his farewell season and pick up his 20th straight top 10 finish at Phoenix.
The Heartbreak Kid after a late race caution relegated him to a second place finish at Las Vegas last week, Kyle Larson is coming into today’s race with guns blazing, laying down the fastest lap in practice, leading the field in speed on 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 lap runs, and qualifying on the Pole for today’s race. Larson has had past success at Phoenix, with 1 win, 6 top 5’s, and 10 top 10’s in 17 career starts, with his win capping off his first Cup Series Championship in 2021. Larson is a man on a mission after last week’s race and we predict that he will rebound in a big way with a win at Phoenix!