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NASCAR Goes Dancing in the Desert

Logan Riely / Getty Images

After a dominant run by William Byron in Las Vegas, NASCAR is set to wrap up their West Coast swing with a visit to Phoenix Raceway.

However, the biggest storyline from last week at Vegas did not come from the race track. It was announced that 2020 Cup Series Champ Chase Elliott will miss time after suffering an injury in a snowboarding accident.

Chase Elliott has won NASCAR’s Most Popular Driver Award for five consecutive season so his presence will surely be missed while Josh Berry and Jordan Taylor serve as substitute drivers.

With the driver change in mind – let’s look at the entry list for Sunday’s race.

1Ross ChastainTrackhouse Racing TeamChevrolet
2Austin CindricTeam PenskeFord
3Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
4Kevin HarvickStewart Haas RacingFord
5Kyle LarsonHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
6Brad KeselowskiRFK RacingFord
7Corey LajoieSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
8Kyle BuschRichard Childress RacingChevrolet
9Josh BerryHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
10Aric AlmirolaStewart Haas RacingFord
11Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
12Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFord
14Chase BriscoeStewart Haas RacingFord
15Todd GillilandRick Ware RacingFord
16AJ AllmendingerKaulig RacingChevrolet
17Chris BuescherRFK RacingFord
19Martin Truex Jr.Joe Gibbs RacingToyota
20Christopher BellJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
21Harrison BurtonWood Brothers RacingFord
22Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFord
23Bubba Wallace23XI RacingToyota
24William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
31Justin HaleyKaulig RacingChevrolet
34Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFord
38Zane SmithFront Row MotorsportsFord
41Ryan PreeceStewart Haas RacingFord
42Noah GragsonPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
43Erik JonesPetty GMS MotorsportsChevrolet
45Tyler Reddick23XI RacingToyota
47Ricky Stenhouse Jr.JTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet
48Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet
51Cody WareRick Ware RacingFord
54Ty GibbsJoe Gibbs RacingToyota
77Ty DillonSpire MotorsportsChevrolet
78BJ McLeodLive Fast MotorsportsFord
99Daniel SuarezTrackhouse Racing Team

The Spring race at Phoenix takes on a bit of added significance given the fact that NASCAR’s championship race is run here come November.

In addition to those stakes, this is also NASCAR’s first race with a new lower downforce package that the series will use on short tracks and road courses – meaning this weekend’s results could have major lasting on the rest of the season. Check out the below thread from Bozi Tatarevic (an absolute must follow for racing fans) for more about how this package change could impact the drivers:

With that change in mind, it’s tough to predict who will run well in the desert. The one constant in the past ten years at Phoenix raceway has been the performance of Kevin Harvick. Harvick has not finished outside of the top ten at the track since 2013 and boasts nine victories. If I absolutely have to pick a winner for Sunday’s race, it has to be “Happy” Harvick.

Check out the schedule below to make sure you don’t miss any action from race week.

Friday 03/10

General Tire 150 (ARCA Menards Series) – 7:00 p.m CT on FS2

Saturday 03/11

NASCAR Xfinity Series Qualifying – 12:05 p.m. CT on FS1

NASCAR Cup Series Qualifying – 1:05 p.m. CT on FS1

United Rentals 200 (NASCAR Xfinity Series) – 3:30 p.m. CT on FS1

Sunday 03/12

United Rentals Work United 500 (NASCAR Cup Series) – 2:30 p.m. CT on Fox

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