Open Race Thread: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 | Phoenix International Raceway

Mar. 03 2011; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Mark Martin (55) after winning the pole during qualifying for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Stewart-US PRESSWIRE

For all the pomp and pageantry that it represents, the Daytona 500 will have little-to-no bearing on the rest of the season. The Sprint Cup will be won and lost starting today in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.

That means you can expect to see returning championship contenders Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart pick up where they left off in the Chase, or Kasey Kahne going back-to-back on the speedway's new track surface.

Most notably, Phoenix has been the place for drivers to break long winless droughts or jump-start successful seasons.

Phoenix is about opportunity.

Jeff Gordon snapped a 66-race winless streak here in the spring, a comeback victory that catapulted a three-win season and shades of the old Jeff Gordon. Gordon hasn't taken kindly to the new track surface, but toss three straight curveballs to Gordon and crew chief Alan Gustafson, and the last pitch is likely to end up a home run.

Kasey Kahne sent Red Bull Racing out on a high note in November when he broke an 81-race. Kahne has since moved on to Hendrick Motorsports and may have his best chance at contending for a championship. Still armed with crew chief Kenny Francis, the first to master the new track surface, the duo has to be considered the early favorites to win today's race.

And then there's Edwards and Stewart. Like much of the Chase, the two ran back-to-back here in November, finishing second and third respectively. Stewart starts today's race on the outside pole and Edwards starts 13th. Will the 2012 season be an extension of the 2011 Chase?

Tell us in the comments section.

Live television coverage will start on FOX at 2 p.m. EST and will feature the voices of Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip. For those who are away from a television or prefer the radio broadcast, www.motorracingnetwork.com will stream the race live on any supported computer or mobile device.

A complete starting lineup can be found after the jump.

Starting Line Up by Row
Phoenix International Raceway
2012 SUBWAY Fresh Fit 500
Provided by NASCAR Statistics - Sat, March 03, 2012 @ 04:05 PM Eastern
Track Race Record: Tony Stewart 11/07/99 02:38:28 118.132
Row Pos Car Driver Team Time Speed
1 1 55 Mark Martin Aaron's Toyota 26.313 136.815
2 14 Tony Stewart Office Depot / Mobil 1 Chevrolet 26.446 136.126
2 3 78 Regan Smith Furniture Row / Farm American Chevrolet 26.471 135.998
4 48 Jimmie Johnson Lowe's / Kobalt Tools Chevrolet 26.552 135.583
3 5 42 Juan Pablo Montoya Target Chevrolet 26.559 135.547
6 39 Ryan Newman WIX Filters Chevrolet 26.570 135.491
4 7 16 Greg Biffle 3MWraps.com Ford 26.652 135.074
8 29 Kevin Harvick Rheem Chevrolet 26.664 135.014
5 9 20 Joey Logano The Home Depot Toyota 26.667 134.998
10 5 Kasey Kahne Farmers Insurance Chevrolet 26.712 134.771
6 11 31 Jeff Burton Wheaties Chevrolet 26.743 134.615
12 18 Kyle Busch M&M's Brown Toyota 26.753 134.564
7 13 11 Denny Hamlin FedEx Office Toyota 26.766 134.499
14 9 Marcos Ambrose Stanley Ford 26.776 134.449
8 15 22 AJ Allmendinger Shell Pennzoil Dodge 26.810 134.278
16 15 Clint Bowyer 5-hour Energy Toyota 26.812 134.268
9 17 47 Bobby Labonte Kingsford / Scotts Toyota 26.854 134.058
18 43 Aric Almirola Smithfield / Allez Cuisine Ford 26.856 134.048
10 19 51 Kurt Busch Phoenix Construction Services Chevrolet 26.878 133.939
20 27 Paul Menard Menards / Tarkett Chevrolet 26.903 133.814
11 21 1 Jamie McMurray Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet 26.913 133.764
22 83 Landon Cassill Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota 26.933 133.665
12 23 36 Dave Blaney Ollie's Bargain Outlet Chevrolet 26.940 133.630
24 99 Carl Edwards SUBWAY Ford 26.943 133.615
13 25 56 Martin Truex Jr. NAPA Filters Toyota 26.983 133.417
26 17 Matt Kenseth Best Buy Ford 27.094 132.871
14 27 23 Scott Riggs North Texas Pipe Chevrolet 27.120 132.743
28 2 Brad Keselowski Miller Lite Dodge 27.127 132.709
15 29 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. National Guard / Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet 27.150 132.597
30 24 Jeff Gordon Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet 27.182 132.441
16 31 13 Casey Mears GEICO Ford 27.221 132.251
32 10 David Reutimann Accell Construction Chevrolet 27.225 132.231
17 33 26 Josh Wise # Morristown Drivers Service Ford 27.256 132.081
34 34 David Ragan Barrett-Jackson Ford 27.261 132.057
18 35 49 JJ Yeley America Israel Racing Toyota 27.338 131.685
36 38 David Gilliland Rick Santorum for President Ford 27.373 131.516
19 37 98 Michael McDowell Curb Records Ford 27.376 131.502
38 87 Joe Nemechek(i) AM/FM Energy Wood & Pellet Stoves Toyota 27.566 130.596
20 39 7 Robby Gordon SPEED Energy / Bashas' Dodge 27.615 130.364
40 33 Brendan Gaughan South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet 27.945 128.824
21 41 93 Travis Kvapil Burger King / Dr. Pepper Toyota Owner Points
42 32 Mike Bliss Southern Pride Trucking / U.S. Chrome Ford Owner Points
22 43 30 David Stremme Inception Motorsports Toyota 27.887 129.092

Did Not Qualify: # 37 Timmy Hill #.
Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs Manufacturer Starting Lineup DNQs
Chevrolet 17 0 Ford 11 1

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