This past weekend three of the NASCAR’s series took to the track at Phoenix: ARCA Menard Series, Xfinity Series, and Cup Series. It was a weekend of great racing and lots of cautions.
The ARCA Menard Series took to the track first on Friday night, having a total of seven cautions. The first caution happened in Turn 2 on the first lap knocking out Gracie Trotter, Zane Smith, Jack Wood, and Toni Breidinger. Trotter and Smith were racing hard and got loose next to each other and spun, catching up Wood and Breidinger in the process. Cautions would continue to fly throughout the night knocking other drivers out of the race including Bruce Haugeberg, Takuma Koga, and Nick Sanchez. The final caution came on Lap 143, setting up a one lap shootout for the win. Ty Gibbs was able to hold off Daytona winner, Corey Heim, to take the checkered flag and get his first victory in the series this year.
The Xfinity Series took to the track on Saturday. Not wanting to be outdone by the ARCA Menard Series, there were a total of 11 cautions during the race. One of the major cautions came on Lap 67 when Noah Gragson’s car experienced engine failure and caught on fire. This was Gragson’s 3rd DNF in the opening four races of the season. Bad luck for Gragson, but some other drivers set some personal best finishes. Brandon Brown finished 3rd and Bayley Currey finished 7th.
But the real excitement was the domination of Austin Cindric. Other than Daniel Hemric winning Stage 2, it was all Cindric all night. Cindric led 119 of 200 laps and held off the field for three late race restarts to take the checkered flag. Ty Gibbs, came in a close second, only .360 seconds behind Cindric.
Sunday was the Cup Series’ turn to take to the track and wanting to keep up with the other series, had a total of 7 cautions. But that was not what made the race exciting. The excitement came from three of the Hendrick drivers: Kyle Larson, William Byron, and Chase Elliot. All three drivers had to start in the back of the field, Larson and Byron for failing inspection twice and Elliot for unapproved adjustments. Larson and Elliot also had a couple of penalties for speeding on pit road and had to restart from the back. All three finished in the top ten. Teammate Alex Bowman finished 13th after spinning into the wall on Lap 46. Team Penske and Joe Gibbs Racing also had great showings at Phoenix. All three Penske drivers finished in the top ten with Ryan Blaney winning Stage 1 and finishing 10th, Joey Logano winning Stage 2 and finishing 2nd, and Brad Keselowski finishing 4th. JGR driver Christopher Bell finished 9th and Denny Hamlin finished 3rd.
But Martin Truex, Jr. got the best finish taking the checkered flag. This was Truex’s first win at Phoenix in 31 starts. This weekend the top teams will battle it out again at Atlanta.