Five Questions Before... Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500

Heading into Phoenix this weekend, there’s lots to talk about! Jimmie Johnson won last year’s race here and all but sealed up his championship hopes. This year, he’s heading into the race coming off of a rough Texas finish and a 73 point lead. Some questions heading into Phoenix:

Is Jimmie Johnson really in any danger? … Jimmie has won three of his last five races at Phoenix International Raceway, the other two being fourth place finishes. He has an average finish of 5th place and has never finished worse than 15th. Realistically, there is no cause for concern for Jimmie Johnson.

Do these drivers know the meaning of the word “capitalize”? … No, I don’t mean what you do for a proper noun. I’m talking about these drivers “capitalizing” on a mistake made by a fellow competitor, i.e. the competitor that they’re trying to beat for the championship. Jimmie Johnson wrecked at Texas Motor Speedway, and Mark Martin is the only one who really made a big dent in Jimmie’s points lead. It’s not like the drivers didn’t want to pick on some points on Jimmie, but it really ended up being a missed opportunity. Let’s see if Mark Martin and the 5 team can “capitalize” on the slashed deficit.

How many times are we going to hear the word “triple” used over the weekend? … Both Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are attempting to do what still no other driver has done: Sweep a NASCAR race weekend in all three series at the same track. Kyle came within a lap and a half of completing that sweep last weekend, but his fuel tank didn’t cooperate. Now, we have two fully capable drivers of pulling it off. My concern, though, is how often the broadcasts over the race weekend are going to mention it. Anyone want to keep count?

Will we see another fuel mileage race? … Fuel mileage races aren’t normally very popular with fans, but saving fuel isn’t necessarily the 48’s strong area (Michigan anyone?). So as much as some of you may hate fuel mileage races, that may be the only way for there to be a close battle between the 48 and at least one other competitor. Now the bad news? Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe’s team won a fuel mileage race at Phoenix last year.

Is this season going by way too fast for anyone else? … Each week seems to go by so slowly between races, yet the weekends themselves rush by so quickly you’re not really sure whether you’re coming or going. Let’s hope the offseason goes by as quickly as a NASCAR race weekend!

Honorable mentions: How many times will we hear about Casey Mears’ wedding? … Will there be any rattlesnakes on Rattlesnake Hill? … Do these teams have jet lag yet?

The opinions expressed above are solely those of the author. Aka MINE
Five Questions Before... Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Five Questions Before... Checker O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 Reviewed by Summer Dreyer on Thursday, November 12, 2009 Rating: 5