Skip to content

Phoenix Update: Split strategies shuffle order at halfway

Nov 10, 2013, 4:49 PM EDT

AdvoCare 500 Getty Images

A series of yellow-flag stops near the halfway point of the Advocare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway has jumbled up the order, with Jeff Gordon now leading the way after choosing not to pit and staying out on track.

The opening lap of the race was a chaotic one for pole sitter Jimmie Johnson, who found himself fighting three-wide for the lead going down the backstretch and then lost more spots after contact with Joey Logano briefly got him sideways. Johnson kept it going, but fell all the way back to sixth by the end of Lap 1.

With Johnson out of the way for the time being, Hamlin settled into the lead for a brief period before Jeff Gordon came up to challenge him for the lead at Lap 12. The two battled for multiple laps before Hamlin cleared Gordon to retain the lead at Lap 16. But four laps later, Gordon finally assumed the point, beating Hamlin down the backstretch into Turn 3.

Gordon would lead the way for the rest of that green flag stint, while Hamlin proceeded to tumble all the way into the 20th-25th place range before spinning in Turn 2 at Lap 50 to bring out the yellow.

On the subsequent pit stops, the Top 10 all took two tires and Gordon was able to keep his lead by winning the race off pit road. But off the restart at Lap 56, Harvick powered past Gordon on the outside to take P1. Meanwhile, Johnson continued to recover from his Lap 1 scare as he rose up to second behind Harvick during the second green run of the day.

However, Matt Kenseth (who trails Johnson by seven points for first in the championship) had yet to make an impact thanks to an ill-handling car. He started 14th, but had only been able to move up a few positions to 12th before the caution came out at Lap 100.

Harvick opted for four tires during pit stops under that yellow, causing him to fall from the lead to seventh. The top four off pit road – Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Carl Edwards, and Paul Menard – all took two tires. Johnson and Gordon wound up fifth and sixth after the stops, because they, like Harvick, also took four.

Kahne was able to keep Keselowski behind him after the restart at Lap 106, while Johnson once again had a poor restart and lost a couple of positions.

The yellow came back on Lap 116 for an incident involving Timmy Hill, and Kenseth took advantage of it to come to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment to try and cure his handling woes. However, he fell all the way back to 28th after doing so.

Keselowski leaped ahead of Kahne to grab the lead off the restart at Lap 121, while Kenseth set about trying to climb through the field. Ten laps later, at Lap 131, Travis Kvapil appeared to have a motor let go and Dave Blaney spun out behind him to bring out another yellow flag.

With some drivers choosing to pit, Kenseth stayed out and rose up to 15th during the caution. But on the restart at Lap 137, he promptly lost multiple spots and then fell out of the Top 20 at Lap 140.

A four-car pileup at Lap 145 triggered the caution, with Cole Whitt taking the most severe damage in the melee. Also involved were Danica Patrick, Justin Allgaier and David Reutimann.

Keselowski, Harvick and Johnson were among the front-runners that opted to pit in this yellow, while Gordon chose to stay out and take over the lead. Kenseth also stayed out, enabling him to move back up to 10th.

However, Johnson has been told that he can make the finish on just one more stop, which could prove critical later on.

Latest Posts
  1. NASCAR Minute: Marcos Ambrose happy with 2014 start (VIDEO)

    Apr 23, 2014, 7:00 PM EDT

    Cheez-It 355 - Practice Getty Images

    RPM’s Marcos Ambrose on his start to the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season.

  2. NHRA drag racing superstar John Force goes on vacation — at a dragstrip, of course

    Apr 23, 2014, 6:53 PM EDT

    AP Photo/John Force Racing, Elon Werner AP Photo/John Force Racing, Elon Werner

    John Force is your classic workaholic.

    Even when he’s on vacation and supposed to be resting and relaxing and taking things slow, the record-setting 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ never stops working. Force was on vacation with his family last weekend in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, a prelude to his upcoming 65th birthday on May 4.

  3. Swan Racing restructures, splits up two-car Sprint Cup operation

    Apr 23, 2014, 6:00 PM EDT

    Food City 250 - Qualifying Getty Images

    Swan Racing has restructured its two-car Sprint Cup team, the organization announced Wednesday afternoon. Minority owner Anthony Marlowe has merged his ownership stake in the No. 26 Toyota driven by Sprint Cup rookie Cole Whitt with BK Racing, which now expands to a three-car operation. Meanwhile, the No. 30 team has been sold to John Cohen, owner of XxxTreme Motorsports.

  4. Three-year extension for IndyCar at Long Beach approved by City Council

    Apr 23, 2014, 5:51 PM EDT

    Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Getty Images

    IndyCars confirmed to “roar by the shore” through 2018 after Long Beach City Council meeting.

  5. Healed from heart surgery, 4-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson back in the saddle this weekend in Houston

    Apr 23, 2014, 5:11 PM EDT

    Four-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson makes his 2014 season debut this weekend in Houston after undergoing off-season heart surgery. (Photo courtesy NHRA) Four-time NHRA Pro Stock champ Greg Anderson makes his 2014 season debut this weekend in Houston after undergoing off-season heart surgery. (Photo courtesy NHRA)

    The vacation of sorts is over for drivers in the Pro Stock class of the NHRA. Things are going to get a lot rougher from here on out. The reason? Former Pro Stock world champ Greg Anderson will make his return from off-season surgery at this weekend’s O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Spring Nationals at Houston’s Royal Purple Raceway.

  6. Trevor Bayne spends off-weekend racing and winning in a different way

    Apr 23, 2014, 4:10 PM EDT

    Dupont Pioneer 250 Getty Images

    The next time someone says they doubt that NASCAR drivers are athletes, show them this story. NASCAR Nationwide Series driver and 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne spent the Easter off-weekend competing in a different type of race – and he wound up winning. In just his second career sprint triathlon (also known as a short-distance triathlon that features a 750-meter swim, 20k-bike ride and a 5k-run), Bayne captured the TryCharleston sprint triathlon in South Carolina.

  7. It’s official: Redskins QB RG III to drive pace car at Richmond for Saturday’s Sprint Cup race

    Apr 23, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT

    RGIII_Richmond Getty Images

    Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III is used to beatin’ and bangin’ on a football field. There certainly will be a lot of that in Saturday night’s Toyota Owners 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Richmond International Raceway. And RG III will have a front row seat to all the action as the track announced Wednesday that the ‘Skins’ QB will serve as honorary pace car driver for the race.

  8. Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama highlights motorsports coverage on NBCSN this week

    Apr 23, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

    Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama - Day 3 Getty Images

    NBCSN’s coverage of the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series continues this week with the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET, highlighting more than 15 hours of motorsports coverage this week, which includes Mecum Auctions coverage from Kansas City. NBC Sports Live Extra – NBC Sports Group’s live streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, and tablets – will stream coverage of the Indy Grand Prix of Alabama and Mecum Auctions via “TV Everywhere.”

  9. WATCH LIVE: NASCAR AMERICA at 5 pm ET – Hamlin, recap first 8 races, Richmond nuances, Virginia racing history

    Apr 23, 2014, 1:44 PM EDT

    140423-NASCAR-AMERICA

    As the NASCAR world returns from its Easter break, Wednesday on NASCAR AMERICA we start our in-depth focus on this Saturday’s race at Richmond International Raceway. Leigh Diffey and Wally Dallenbach will host from our Stamford, Conn., studios. Remember to tune in at at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra for online or mobile device.

  10. FIA WEC: Ram Racing withdraws from Spa

    Apr 23, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    RAM Racing AP

    Privateer GTE team forced to pull out of next FIA WEC over financial issues.

  11. Dollar General signs onto Jacques Villeneuve’s Indianapolis 500 effort

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:45 AM EDT

    Matt Kenseth Getty Images

    Jacques Villeneuve has a sponsor confirmed for his Indianapolis 500 return.

  12. Newgarden, Pagenaud went drifting at Long Beach

    Apr 23, 2014, 11:21 AM EDT

    Photo: Formula Drift Photo: Formula Drift

    Josef Newgarden, Simon Pagenaud enjoy drifting rides with 2013 FD champion Michael Essa.

  13. IndyCar: Andretti adds fifth car for GP of Indy for Franck Montagny

    Apr 23, 2014, 10:18 AM EDT

    Andretti Autosport driver Carlos Munoz of Colombia drives practice laps on the second day of qualifications in Indianapolis Reuters

    Andretti Autosport brings in a talented road-course ringer, Franck Montagny, for the inaugural GP of Indianapolis.

  14. Raikkonen: Yes, he’s still motivated, otherwise he wouldn’t be here

    Apr 23, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT

    KimiChina Getty Images

    Kimi Raikkonen owns critics who are questioning his motivation in typical Kimi style.

  15. Compass360 adds CTF “Art Car” to PWC

    Apr 23, 2014, 9:41 AM EDT

    Photo: CTF Photo: CTF

    Compass360′s cars will have “Art Car” design as created by an NF hero.

  16. Mike Conway ready to double up on Long Beach IndyCar win this Sunday in Alabama

    Apr 22, 2014, 9:19 PM EDT

    ConwayLB2 AP

    Mike Conway’s come-from-behind IndyCar win at Long Beach nearly two weeks ago may have been a surprise to some. But it wasn’t a surprise to team owner Ed Carpenter or Conway himself. They both had confidence in each other for a strong run and a high finish – and the win was just an added bonus.

  17. After Shanghai letdown, McLaren’s Boullier tells team ‘don’t panic’

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:40 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain - Previews Getty Images

    With McLaren’s podium-less 2013 in mind, the team’s racing director is doing all he can to keep the troops calm after a poor Chinese Grand Prix.

  18. ‘Rookie’ Kurt Busch, 1995 champ Jacques Villeneuve, three more to undergo Indy 500 orientation/refresher

    Apr 22, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT

    Jacques Villeneuve will be making his first return trip to Indianapolis since winning there in 1995 -- and only his third race ever there -- for this year's Indy 500. AP

    It’s been 14 years since Kurt Busch was last called a rookie. And even though Busch has a Sprint Cup championship trophy at home, he’s still a rookie open-wheel driver as far as the Indianapolis 500 is concerned.

  19. Red Bull tweaks Mercedes over attempt to increase ‘Fuelgate’ punishment

    Apr 22, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of China Getty Images

    Red Bull’s anonymous “Spy” says that their main rivals are getting “rattled and sweating a bit.”

  20. NASCAR AMERICA: Scan All 43 – Kurt Busch breaks winless streak, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon still without wins

    Apr 22, 2014, 6:46 PM EDT

    NASCAR America

    On Tuesday’s edition of NASCAR AMERICA, Leigh Diffey and Wally Dallenbach took a look back at the March 30th STP 500 at Martinsville Raceway and Kurt Busch’s win, which snapped an 83-race winless streak. We also look back at the rain-postponed Duck Commander 500 at Texas on April 7, as well as how Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, who have 10 Sprint Cup championships between them, but neither driver has visited victory lane yet in 2014.

Today on NASCAR AMERICA

More from NASCAR America

Ambrose happy with start of season
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. P. Kligerman (1356)
  2. B. Jones (1328)
  3. C. Whitt (1258)
  4. J. Boston (1183)
  5. B. Myers (1163)
  1. T. Hessert (1143)
  2. A. Seuss (1069)
  3. J. Myers (1046)
  4. B. Loftin (1033)
  5. L. Fleming (962)

Featured video

Lewis Hamilton thanks his 'angels'