Three Takeaways from Phoenix

3 Takeaways will be a weekly series, looking at three major headlines or events during the previous race weekend.

  1. Phoenix provides for great racing, but not a lot of passing. After watching Nathan Carroll and Mike Smith battle lap after lap for the lead in the Nuka-Cola Series race, it became clear that while the racing at Phoenix has been exciting the last two seasons, it’s very hard to pass at this track. Carroll worked for almost 20 laps just to take over the race lead before finally prevailing. We saw much of the same in the Cup race. Several drivers challenged Philip von Borries for the race lead, but got nowhere, with the exception of eventual winner Ben Maloch. It’ll be interesting to see how races at Phoenix play out in the future and if this passing issue is addressed (if it can be).
  2. Philip von Borries is quickly emerging as a championship favorite. He won at Atlanta, dominating that race, and on Sunday, looked to be the earliest repeat winner in a Corvega Cup Series season. Philip led 232 of the 312 laps that made up the Phoenix race on Sunday, before losing the lead with 50 laps to go to eventual winner Ben Maloch. But here’s what’s staggering: von Borries is one of two drivers (the other is John Williams) who have completed 100% of the 1104 laps ran this season, so far. Of those 1104 laps, von Borries has led 416 of those, for a whopping 37.7% of the laps he’s completed. Williams is the only one close to that, at a mere 11.6%. Von Borries is also averaging 40.3 points per start as well, with Williams weighing in at 37.3 points and TJ Howard at 37.0 points per start. With a start like that – his strongest career start to a season yet – his competitors better watch out when the playoffs start…
  3. The low caution count continues. So far this season races have remained relatively tame. Aside from Daytona, the races at Atlanta, Las Vegas, and now Phoenix have each featured just two cautions and eight laps of caution per race. Only one car failed to finish at Phoenix due to damage sustained in the only crash in the race. Zachary Maloney’s DNF was actually his first career last place finish. Considering 27 career DNF’s across six seasons, that’s pretty amazing. But where are the crashes? Only time will tell, especially with the series’ second Super Speedway race looming around the corner – Eight Bowl – surely that race will break the streak…
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