NASCAR winners and losers from Phoenix

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at the winners and losers from the recently completed NASCAR race at Phoenix International Raceway.


Jimmy Fennig

Often overlooked by the likes of Chad Knaus, Darian Grubb and Paul Wolfe among others Jimmy Fennig has quietly been building a résumé worthy of the Hall of Fame since the mid-80s. In that span Fennig has won 37 Cup races with a host of drivers including Bobby Allison, Mark Martin, Kurt Busch and Matt Kenseth.

Fennig's latest task was revitalizing the sagging fortunes of Carl Edwards, who was in the midst of a winless streak dating back nearly two years. And in a short amount of time Fennig has done just that, as Edwards is back in Victory Lane and looks very much like the driver who nearly won the title in 2011.

Denny Hamlin

After a spirited final lap that saw him dive-bomb Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin said his team "overachieved" and weren't worthy of finishing third. This is untrue. Not only because Hamlin was forced to start in the rear after an engine change Saturday, but also because he climbed his way through the field on a day when passing was limited. And that he did all this with an engine that resembled a ticking time bomb makes it all the more impressive.

Phoenix Racing

In two races with two different drivers the single-car team operating on miniscule budget has finished no worse than 11th. The strong start to the year has the James Finch-owned team sixth in owner points ahead of a host of big-name drivers and organizations. And of course, there will be yet another driver behind the wheel of the No. 51 in Las Vegas with Austin Dillon taking the reins.


Kyle Busch

Sunday morning Kyle Busch was considered the favorite, and a few hours later his team was replacing the engine in his Toyota just hours before the race. It was the second failure in as many weeks for the No. 18 team and dropped their driver from fourth on the starting grid to the rear.

Consequently, in an effort to recoup the lost track position, Busch spun out as he was charging through the field, smacked the wall and finished 23rd. Sitting 33rd in points, the sour start to the season is Busch's worse since his 2005 rookie year.

Kasey Kahne

Another year, yet another slow start for Kasey Kahne. Last season he started the year out by finishing 29th at Daytona and 34th at Phoenix. This season is only slightly better due to a crash at Daytona and an ill-handling car at Phoenix which has him 29th in points. It's early, but another so-so run at Las Vegas and Kahne will once again be in scramble mode to make the Chase.

David Ragan

Speaking of bad starts, Kahne has nothing on what's happened to David Ragan, who has twice now been swept up in wrecks not of his own doing. The latest occurred Sunday when Danica Patrick popped a tire and after careening off the wall came down the track and into the path of Ragan, who had nowhere to go.

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