Subway Fresh Fit 500: Surprising, Not Surprising
This past weekend, the boys visited The Desert Mile known as Phoenix International Speedway for the Cup Series' third short track event of the season.
It was an exciting race that saw one of NASCAR's oldest—and well-liked—superstars visit Victory Lane for the first time since 2005.
Looking back at Saturday night's Subway Fresh Fit 500, here are some thing Surprising, and Not Surpising.
Surprising: Mark Martin wins
While it's hardly surprising to list the 50-year-old as a winner, nobody was paying attention to Martin and the No. 5 team heading into PIR.
In fact, all the attention was on Martin's much younger teammate Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe's No. 48 Chevy team that was hoping to break their own record with four consecutive wins at The Desert Mile.
Martin, however, stormed into the desert and collected the pole on Friday. He backed up his fast lap Saturday night leading the greatest majority of the daylight race, and rallying back to secure the win as the sun set in Phoenix.
The win was Martin's first since 2005, when he still drove the No. 6 Roush Fenway Ford. The win catapulted Martin in the points to 13th, only nine points behind 12th place Roush Fenway teammate Matt Kenseth.
Remember, just a few weeks ago, the No. 5 team was tweetering on the edge of the top 35.
Not Surprising: Hendrick Motorsports wins in the desert
The win gave team owner Rick Hendrick five consecutive wins at the one-mile track in sunny Arizona.
Johnson entered looking for his fourth win at the track, and teammate Jeff Gordon had won the previous race before Johnson's tear.
Hendrick cars were solid all day long, and had Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. not suffered pit road problems, HMS could have easily landed all four cars in the top 10.
Surprising: Kevin Harvick was a non factor all day
Harvick has fared exceptionally well at the one-mile track in Phoenix, but Saturday, he never was a competitor for the win.
Harvick struggled from the drop of the green flag and was mired back in the pack most of the day. He eventually brought home a 30th place finish—his worst finish since a 34th in 2003.
Not Surprising: The No. 88 is in the pits
Let's face it, this is becoming routine for the No. 88 AMP Energy team and driver Earnhardt Jr.
A late pit road problem again cost this team a chance at a win, a top-five or even a top-10 finish on Saturday night.
I'm not sure what's going on with this team, but they have issues they need to address or else they will be sitting outside the top 12 in points come Richmond.
Junior Nation—of course—will plead their case about how it's this or that, but the bottom line is that this entire team is not clicking right now and changes need to be made.
(Sorry for the short list this week, it's a busy time at the "real" job I have to do! On to Talladega!)
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