By Taylor Long
This week the Monster Energy Cup Series travels to the desert for the running of the Ticket Guardian 500 at ISM Raceway.
Typically, one cannot mention a race in Phoenix NASCAR race without mentioning 2 drivers. Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch should be watched closely this week, as not only are they the common-sense picks to win, but they are also the drivers Vegas has pegged as favorites.
Both enter this week with 7-2 odds to win the race. Kevin Harvick is the proclaimed “Cactus King” and has all dominated at this track. Winning 9 races at ISM, including 4 in a row, no driver on the circuit now can even come close to Harvick. In addition to Harvick, the rest of the Ford Lineup has been strong, winning 2 of 3 races this season.
The Penske Fords are close behind Harvick as favorites to watch this week. After getting 2 drivers into Victory Lane, and by extension the Chase For The Cup, they look to be more aggressive in pursuit of winning this year. If there is some reprieve from Ford dominance, it comes in the form of Kyle Busch.
Busch enters this week within 3 NASCAR wins of tying all time great and 7-time Cup Champion Richard Petty in total NASCAR wins. Busch is a polarizing driver, but no fan of the sport can deny that Busch has the skill behind the wheel to win almost anywhere. Hendrick Motorsports looks for some redemption this week, as the season has been uncharacteristically slow for the proud organization.
Jimmie Johnson and other drivers held meetings this week at Hendrick HQ, to right the ship. We will see this week, as racing looks to be a step up from recent years. The new short track package will be on full display this week, as speeds are much higher than years past.
Tire manufacturer Goodyear has even issued a warning to teams looking to gamble and run lower air pressure in the tires. Given the speed and new downforce, tire failures could be an issue. New packages and new tires look to provide great action all day, this one wont be the one to miss.