The penultimate race of the 2017 NASCAR Cup playoffs takes place this Sunday with the Can-Am 500 at Phoenix Raceway.
This is the final elimination race of the playoffs, with five drivers still eligible for the one remaining position to advance to next week’s season-ending and championship-deciding Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Or, as NBCSN’s Kyle Petty so succinctly put it, “party of five, table of one.”
Thanks to Racing Insights, here’s all you need to know about Sunday’s race and racetrack:
NASCAR Cup 2017 Season Breakdown
- Different Winners: 14
- Most Wins: 7- Martin Truex Jr.
- Most Poles: 8- Kyle Busch
- Most Runner Ups: 8 – Kyle Larson
- Most Top-fives: 17 – Martin Truex Jr.
- Most Top-10s: 24 – Marin Truex Jr.
- Most Laps Led: 2175– Martin Truex Jr.
- Stage Wins: 19 – Martin Truex Jr.
- Stage Top-5s: 46 – Martin Truex Jr.
- Stage Top-10s: 53 – Kyle Larson
- Playoff Points: 69 – Martin Truex Jr.
Phoenix recent race history:
- The last seven Phoenix races had seven different pole winners, Alex Bowman got his first career MENCS pole driving the No. 88 in November 2016.
- Ryan Newman won at Phoenix in March ending a 127 race winless streak and a 112 race winless streak for Richard Childress Racing.
- Ryan Newman stayed out from seventh on the final lap 308 stop and kept the lead during the final two lap overtime finish, he went the final 56 laps on the same set of tires.
- Ryan Newman led only six laps in his Phoenix win in March, all six came after lap 308. It was the second fewest laps led by a Phoenix winner, the fewest was four laps by Ryan Newman in April of 2010.
- Chevrolet won seven of the last eight Phoenix races, Joey Logano’s win in a Ford in the fall of 2016 is the only non-Chevrolet win in the last eight Phoenix races.
- Kevin Harvick has eight Phoenix wins the most of all drivers by four wins.
- Kevin Harvick won six of the last 10 Phoenix races but failed to lead a single lap in the last two races.
- Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick are the only active drivers who have reached eight wins at a track, Johnson (11 wins Dover, 9 wins Martinsville, 8 wins Charlotte), Harvick (8 wins Phoenix).
- 22 of the last 28 Phoenix races were won by drivers who currently compete for four organizations: Stewart-Haas Racing active drivers have 9 wins, Hendrick Motorsports active drivers have 8 wins, Joe Gibbs Racing active drivers have three wins and Richard Childress Racing active drivers have 2 wins. Five of those 28 races were won by drivers that no longer compete in the Cup series (Jeff Gordon 2 wins, Carl Edwards 2 wins and Mark Martin 1 win).
- Neither stage winner finished in the top-10 in the March race at Phoenix.
- Kyle Busch was passed for the win at Phoenix in March, it was the third straight race that a Joe Gibbs Racing driver was passed for the win at Phoenix and the second straight that a JGR driver was passed in the final eight laps there.
- There have been zero DNFs for engine failure in the last six Phoenix races.
- Six DNFs for accident in the race last March is tied for the most in the last nine Phoenix races.
- 15 Lead changes in March at Phoenix, the most in the last seven races.
- Kevin Harvick led the most laps in six of the last eight Phoenix races but failed to lead a single lap in the last two.
- Kevin Harvick currently has an eight race streak of top-10 finishes at Phoenix, it is the third longest streak at the track and the longest active streak.
- The last 14 Phoenix races were completed in less than 3 hours and nine minutes.
- November 12th will be the 43rd race held at Phoenix Raceway.
- Phoenix has hosted a Cup race every year since 1988 and two races a year every year since 2005.
- Phoenix has been the penultimate race of the season since 2005.
- Phoenix has hosted a race in every year of the playoffs and has been the final cut race before Miami in every season of the elimination style format.
- 238 days between the Spring and Fall Phoenix races is the longest time between two events at one track in the same season.
- 119 days between the November 2017 and March 2018 races at Phoenix.
- Stage lengths at Phoenix: Lap 75 (75 laps), Lap 150 (75 laps), Lap 312 (162 laps).
- Seven of the last 13 Phoenix winners started outside the top-10, Ryan Newman started 22nd in March.
- There were seven or more cautions in 11 of the last 12 Phoenix races that were not rain shortened.
- Eight Phoenix races had an overtime finish, including the last three.
- The final green flag stretch was two laps or less in the last four races and 12 laps or less in the last seven r The driver leading the most laps failed to win in thee of the last four races at Phoenix.
- Joey Logano, who won this race in 2016, is the only driver to win at Phoenix in the last 10 races who had not won there prior.
Phoenix Playoff Highlights:
- 10 of 13 Phoenix playoff races were won by playoff eligible drivers.
- 10 Phoenix playoff races were won by Chevrolet drivers.
- Hendrick Motorsports leads all organizations with five Phoenix Playoff race wins.
- Joe Gibbs Racing has won twice at Phoenix but neither win came in the Playoffs.
- 10 of 13 Phoenix race winners started inside the top-10, including 10 of the last 11.
- Four Phoenix playoff races had an overtime finish, the race in 2016 went to 324 laps (12 over the scheduled 312).
- Phoenix was the penultimate race in 12 of 13 years of the playoffs (since 2005).
- Hendrick Motorsports (3 poles) and Joe Gibbs Racing (2 poles) have won the last five poles in Phoenix playoff races.
- Kevin Harvick in 2014 and Joey Logano 2016 clinched a birth in the final four at Miami with a Phoenix playoff race win.
2017 NASCAR Cup Season Highlights:
- Joe Gibbs Racing (7), Furniture Row (5) and Chip Ganassi Racing (2) won 14 of the last 17 races.
- The pole winner won six times in 2017: Kyle Larson ACS, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Talladega-1, Kyle Larson MIS-1, Kyle Busch POC-2, Kyle Busch NH-2, Martin Truex Jr. KS-2.
- The final lead change came in the last 10 laps in 19 of 34 races in 2017, the final three laps in 13 races and on the last lap in four races.
- Either Martin Truex Jr. or Kyle Busch won a stage in 23 of 34 races in 2017.
- Martin Truex Jr. has won at least one stage in 14 of 34 races in 2017 but has not won a stage in the last six races which is his longest stretch of races without a stage win in 2017.
- Martin Truex Jr. is the only driver to win both Stage 1 & 2 and go on to win the race (Las Vegas, Kentucky).
- Five drivers won a race but have not won a stage in 2017.
- Four drivers have won a stage but have not won a race in 2017.
- Atlanta, Pocono-1, Michigan-2 and Chicagoland are the only races without a caution before the end of Stage 1.
- Atlanta, Michigan-2 and Chicagoland are the only races to not have a caution other than stage breaks in the first two stages of the race.
- Three Cautions at Watkins Glen the fewest in a race in 2017.
- 15 cautions at Kansas-1 and Dover-1 are the most in a race in 2017.
- Three times a driver has won after going to the rear: Jimmie Johnson Texas-1 (unapproved tire change), Joey Logano Richmond-1 (transmission change), Jimmie Johnson Dover-1 (rear gear change).
- Denny Hamlin won in New Hampshire-1 after going to a backup car prior to qualifying.
- Three times in 2017 a driver has gone on to win after a speeding penalty: Kurt Busch Daytona-1, Brad Keselowski Martinsville-1 and Martin Truex Jr. Chicagoland.
- Martin Truex Jr. won at Kansas after a restart violation on lap 36, it was the fourth time in 2017 a driver has recovered from a in race infraction to win and the second time by Martin Truex Jr.
- Three drivers got their first career win in 2017: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Talladega-1, Austin Dillon Charlotte- 1, Ryan Blaney Pocono-1, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the first first-time winner to get his second win in 2017.
- There have been two track records set in 2017: Kyle Busch (Kentucky), Kurt Busch (Texas-2).
- Eight times driver has swept all three rounds of qualifying: Kevin Harvick- IMS 2014, MIS 6/14 and TX 4/17, DAR 2017; Joey Logano MART 4/16 10/17; Brad Keselowski TX 11/15; Kyle Busch CHI 2017.
- Kurt Busch’s pole at Texas was the fastest ever on a 1.5 mile track at 200.915 mph.
- Qualifying was cancelled twice in 2017: Martinsville-1, Bristol-1.
- 11 races had an overtime finish in 2017: PHX-1, ACS, TAL-1, Dover-1, Daytona-2, KY, Indy, MIS-2, RICH-2, CLT-2, MART-2.
- Four races were won with a last lap pass: Daytona-1 Kurt Busch passed Kyle Larson, Talladega-1 Ricky Stenhouse Jr. passed Kyle Busch, Talladega-2 Brad Keselowski passed Ryan Newman, Martinsville-2 Kyle Busch passed Denny Hamlin.
- Three races were affected by rain in 2017: Bristol-1 (postponed until Monday), Charlotte-1 (delayed 90 minutes lap 145), Indianapolis (Delayed on Lap 12 for 2 hours).
- Three drivers ended the longest winless streaks of their career in 2017: Ryan Newman 127 races, Kasey Kahne 102 races, Kyle Busch 36 races.
Phoenix Raceway Track History
- The track was built in 1964 with the goal of becoming the western location of open wheel racing. The first race at PR was on the road course. AJ Foyt won the first oval track race in March 1964.
- Richard Petty won the first NASCAR race, a 1978 Winston West Series event. Over the years the track has hosted most professional classes of racecars.
- In 1985 Buddy Jobe purchased the then 10,000 seat track from Dennis Wood. Jobe soon initiated a massive improvement program with the goal of landing a NASCAR Cup race.
- The first Cup race, held on November 6th, 1988, was won by Alan Kulwicki in his No. 7 ZEREX Ford Kulwicki celebrated by performing the first ever “Polish Victory Lap.”