The Cup Series will complete the “West Coast Swing” this week after they compete at Phoenix Raceway. This track is a 1-mile in length, but it really races like a short track. The drivers need to find their rhythm, because getting in the throttle and on the brakes at the right time will be important Sunday. Tires were really important at Homestead and Las Vegas. This week the drivers must save their brakes because it is easy to over-cook them in the desert.
The Instacart 500 is one of the shortest races on the schedule. It is only scheduled for 312 miles. That means there are fewer pit stops for the teams to dial in their cars throughout the race. The teams must show up with the correct setup because one crew chief told me, “You got what you got at Phoenix. There is just not enough time in the race to make significant adjustments.” This is a good race to build your lineups around the drivers who have had a lot of success in the desert.
The Cup Series will be using the 750 HP aero package this week. This means that finding pure speed (or trimming out the car) is not going to be necessary. Each car will have plenty of speed because the drivers will not run full-throttle all around the track like they were able to at Las Vegas. It will be important to have a car that can handle well will be important. Drivers will need to run the top and bottom of the track in order to pass cars.
Here are the Driver Rankings for the Instacart 500 …
* Photos from NASCAR Media
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