This year, the spring race at Phoenix brought many changes and a lot of excitement. For starters, NASCAR introduced huge changes to the 2020 aeropackage to be used at Phoenix and other short tracks, the most notable of which is a reduction in size to the spoiler and splitter. The usual 8-inch spoiler has been reduced to just 2.75 inches and the 11-inch splitter shrinks to a mere 2. Secondly, drivers got a feel for this new package knowing it is what they will face for the final race of the season seeing as NASCAR has moved the championship event from Homestead-Miami to Phoenix Raceway.
All we can say is, if this race was a preview of the championship event, it’s going to be one helluva season finale.
LAP 1: Pole sitter, Chase Elliott in the #9 led the field to green with the #4 of Kevin Harvick also on the front row. Elliott pulled slightly ahead to a 0.6 second lead with Harvick in hot pursuit.
LAP 35: Harvick began to close on Elliott as the lead cars reached lapped traffic. The two swapped first position several times before Elliott changed his line and kept Harvick at bay.
CAUTION – LAP 57: Ricky Stenhouse Jr in the #47 slid into the side of the #53 of Joey Gase in Turn 2. Stenhouse bounced off the #53 and spun, causing the first yellow flag of the day. Mostly all lead cars pitted during the caution and Kevin Harvick took the lead coming off pit road.
CAUTION – LAP 64: On the restart in Turn 1, the #11 of Denny Hamlin drifted up the track and tagged the left rear of Brad Keselowski and the left front of Ryan Blaney. All three cars slammed into the outside wall. Blaney suffered significant damage and retired from the race, Hamlin also incurred damage and lost a lap for repairs, and Keselowski’s #2 was repaired and continued racing in the top 5.
STAGE 1 CONCLUSION – LAP 75: Kevin Harvick held onto the first spot during the 5-lap shootout to claim his first stage win of 2020 and his first-ever at Phoenix. Elliott finished close behind in 2nd while Joey Logano, Matt DiBenedetto, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top 5.
LAP 81: Harvick remained in the lead at the start of the second stage. The battle for 1st started again with Elliott making up ground. The #9 lurked for several laps before he completed the pass and retook the lead.
LAP 103: Elliott’s reign was short-lived as he was challenged once again by the #4 of Harvick. The #4 made slight contact with the #9 and passed on the inside to take the top spot.
CAUTION – LAP 130: Austin Dillon blew the right front tire on his #3 Chevrolet Camaro and veered into the outside wall in Turn 3. Coming off pit road, Chase Elliott claimed the lead from Harvick after a slow stop for the #4.
LAP 155: The #9 of Chase Elliott had to pit for a loose wheel, which put him a lap down. As Elliott went to the pits, Brad Keselowski in the #2 passed Kevin Harvick for the lead and drove away to 2.3 second lead.
CAUTION – LAP 188: Garrett Smithley blew the motor in his #51 Chevrolet Camaro and dropped a significant amount of oil on the track. This brought out the yellow just before the end of the stage.
STAGE 2 CONCLUSION – LAP 190: The stage ended under caution with Brad Keselowski taking the segment win. Following him was Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, Tyler Reddick, and Kyle Busch in the top 5. Chase Elliott finished the stage in the ‘lucky dog’ position and took the wave around to return to the lead lap for the final segment.
CAUTION – LAP 213: The #00 of Quin Houff spun in Turn 2 after his engine expired. Brad Keselowski remained in the lead for the restart, with his teammate Joey Logano behind him in 3rd.
LAP 225: Joey Logano made contact with the left rear of the #2 of Keselowski and passed on the inside for the lead. The two battled, making slight contact several more times before Logano was able to pull away.
CAUTION – LAP 251: The #20 of Erik Jones had been battling a loose handling car for the majority of the race and finally fell victim when he spun and hit the wall in Turn 2.
CAUTION – LAP 264: Rookie of The Year contender, Tyler Reddick, was having an incredible run in the top 5 and top 10 all race… until his #8 Chevrolet Camaro blew the right front tire and pounded the wall in Turn 2. Reddick was out of the race due to the irrepairable damage on the nose of his car.
CAUTION – LAP 276: With 36 laps to go, Chris Buescher in the #17 brought out the caution when the right front tire blew on his Ford Mustand, causing him to veer to the right and hit the SAFER barrier in Turn 1. Keselowski retook the lead on pit road and held onto the top spot on the restart.
CAUTION – LAP 282: On the restart, the #19 of Martin Truex Jr got a push down the frontstretch by the #10 of Aric Almirola. Truex’s Toyota Camry wiggled from the push and snapped to the right into the Turn 1 wall. Truex retired early, his second DNF of only 4 races so far this season.
LAP 293: Joey Logano claimed the lead once again when Keselowski pitted for four new tires.
CAUTION – LAP 309: The #47 of Ricky Stenhouse Jr made contact with the #38 of Michael McDowell on the front stretch and brought out the final caution of the day. The yellow made the race go into ‘overtime’ – a two-lap shootout to the checked flag.
CHECKERED FLAG – LAP 316: Joey Logano held onto the lead for the final two laps and won the FanShield 500. This makes Logano’s second win in just 4 races and continues a strange phenomenon of repeated-double-digit cars winning races thus far this year – Denny Hamlin’s #11 won Daytona, Logano’s #22 won Las Vegas, Alex Bowman’s #88 won Auto Club, and at Phoenix the #22 of Logano wins again.
- Joey Logano
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
- Kyle Larson
- Clint Bowyer
- Kurt Busch
- Chase Elliott
- Aric Almirola
- Cole Custer
- William Byron
- Brad Keselowski
- Jimmie Johnson
- Matt DiBenedetto
- Alex Bowman
- Ty Dillon
- Michael McDowell
- Chris Buescher
- Ryan Preece
- Bubba Wallace
- Denny Hamlin
- Daniel Surez
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr
- Ross Chastain
- Christopher Bell
- John H. Nemechek
- JJ Yeley
- Corey LaJoie
- Erik Jones
- Joey Gase
- Reed Sorenson
- Brennan Poole
- Martin Truex Jr
- Tyler Reddick
- Quin Houff
- Garrett Smithley
- Austin Dillon
- Ryan Blaney
- Timmy Hill