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NASCAR: Subway Fresh Fit 500 odds

This week in NASCAR: Subway Fresh Fit 500 odds

NASCAR


The “real” NASCAR Sprint Cup season begins on Sunday in Phoenix as Jimmie Johnson looks to follow his Daytona 500 victory with a second straight trip to Victory Lane, and he is the favorite on WagerWeb.com.

It’s only the second race of the year, but this could foreshadow the Chase for the Championship as Phoenix International Raceway marks the first time teams will see a 2013 Chase track. The most recent Phoenix race was crucial to last year’s championship. Brad Keselowski slipped through a final lap accident to grab sixth while Johnson earlier had pounded the wall en route to a 32nd-place finish. Sunday’s Subway Fresh Fit 500 won’t guarantee any driver this year’s title. But a victory could be pivotal. All but one Phoenix spring winner – Ryan Newman in 2010 – have qualified for the Chase.

Between 2003 and 2009, three drivers –Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick – won eight of 12 Phoenix races. Eight different drivers have graced Victory Lane since the opening race of the 2009 season. Johnson holds the record for most victories at Phoenix with four. Johnson won three straight fall races at this track from 2007-09. He won the spring event there in 2006 as well. Johnson and Mark Martin have the most top-five finishes at Phoenix with 12 each. Martin’s 21 top-10 finishes there is tops among all drivers.

Five drivers have won the first two races in a Sprint Cup Series season, although only three include the Daytona 500 — Lee Petty (Daytona Beach Course, Tri-City Speedway; 1954), Marvin Panch (Willow Springs Speedway, Concord Speedway; 1956), David Pearson (Riverside, Daytona; 1976), Jeff Gordon (Daytona, Rockingham; 1997) and Matt Kenseth (Daytona, Auto Club; 2009).

Seven drivers have won more than once at Phoenix — Johnson (four), Kevin Harvick and Davey Allison (three), Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Martin (two apiece).

Danica Patrick, off her solid eighth-place finish at Daytona, finished 17th in last fall’s race at Phoenix. She is the only female to have made a Cup start at the track. No active driver has scored his or her first Cup win at Phoenix. Denny Hamlin won the Sprint Cup race at Phoenix one year ago, and Harvick took the checkered flag for the most recent event there in November. From 2008-2012 a typical Phoenix race had 15.3 lead changes, 7.3 cautions for 38.1 laps, and an average green-flag run of 33.9 laps.

TRACK FACTS

Number of previous races: 33.

First Sprint Cup race: November 6, 1988, won by Alan Kulwicki.

Last Sprint Cup race: November 11, 2012, won by Kevin Harvick.

Won from pole: 4, most recently by Carl Edwards in 2010.

Won from top-5 starting position: 11 times in 33 races (33%).

Won from top-10 starting position: 15 times (45%).

Won from 21st or worse starting position: 3 times (9%).

Worst starting spot for race winner: 29th, by Ricky Rudd in 1995.

Most laps led: 262, by Dale Earnhardt in 1990.

Fewest laps led by a race winner: 10, by Kevin Harvick in 2006.

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