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Ticket Guardian 500

Dustin Off The Next Race: TicketGuardian 500

It’s not even Sunday, where we usually have the last-minute stories of teams going to the back, final preparations, and even trying to figure out who will be the guy or guys to beat when the green flag actually waves, and we already have a lot of action.

Something about this place and run-ins seem to go hand and hand.

It appears as though all it took was one headlock and take down for drivers to take notice of the toughness of Daniel Suarez.  Michael McDowell found that out the hard way, but let’s keep one thing in mind with this situation.  Everyone was going nuts over the fact Suarez took him down, especially since McDowell never even took off his helmet.  But, watch the video again, and you’ll see a different story.

Suarez was prepared for a confrontation, however it was McDowell who made the first maneuver.  He was the one that reached out and grabbed Suarez by the throat and then took the fighting stance.  What exactly is one to do at that point, just take it?

Not in my book, it’s self defense at that exact moment, and let’s be frank, Suarez isn’t exactly the height of Michael Waltrip, nor the huskiness of Tony Stewart.  But, he took McDowell down and then had to be held back.  It’s not like he was gonna hit a guy with a helmet on, because at that point, he was done…point made.

It seems many have taken notice of Suarez not just for his on-track ability, but now his ability to defend himself when he feels wronged.

In an ironic twist of fate, it appears both he and McDowell are in the same row for the start, and the pre-race parade trucks will have two drivers in the bed.  Guess what…these two that came to fisticuffs will be partnered in the same ride.  This certainly will be an interesting.

But in the long run, this is Phoenix, and even with the new configuration that we saw last fall, it is still the place that Kevin Harvick calls home.  He’s always been good here, and despite not winning last fall, it has consistently been his playground, but heading into this weekend he’s not the Ford that has been the class of the field.  In fact, he’s behind the Penske team.

Let’s face it, two weeks with two wins certainly is hard to deny when it comes to Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano being victorious, then this week we have Ryan Blaney taking the pole.

To say that momentum is firmly in the hands of the organization that won last year’s championship is not quite an understatement, but it is undeniable.  In order to stop that momentum, it has to be taken away in some fashion.  We are at the point in the season where a year ago, one team was about to win it’s third consecutive race.  This year, we’re possibly on the way to seeing our fourth different winner in as many races.

That feeling hasn’t been seen since this playoff format was first utilized back in 2014.

However, what makes this interesting is rather than one team winning three straight races, there’s potential to see one organization win three straight races.  We’ve seen a lot of speed from Blaney the last couple weeks, including a pair of stage wins, so to think he’s on the verge of victory is not unrealistic.  To get it done, will be the challenge.

It’s the second leg of “NASCAR Goes West” and this time the hope is there’s no tumbleweeds coming through the Jewel in the Dessert.  Let’s get that green flag in the air.

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