Jeff Gordon recovered from an early incident to claim Victory and break a 66 race winless streak that dates back to early 2009.
Point leader Carl Edwards lead a mix of manufacturers in the top five in his Ford. Kurt Busch put his Penske Dodge on the outside of the front row. Toyota's swept the second row with Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch. Kegan Smith rounded out the top five in his Chevrolet.
Drop Of The Green
Kurt Busch got a great jump on the outside and took the lead in the early going until younger brother Kyle caught him on lap six. Kyle held down the top spot for ten laps before Carl Edwards' car came alive. Edwards took over on lap 16 and lead through to the first caution.
Early in the race a number of the top names fell.
Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne was the first of the big names to crash. Then, just a few laps later Carl Edwards crashed and took Jeff Gordon into the wall with him.
On the very next restart Phoenix looked a lot like Daytona when Brian Vickers got sideways in front of the field. In addition to Vickers, Jamie McMurray, Travis Kvapil, Bobby Labonte, Regan Smith, Jeff Burton, Clint Bowyer and six more drivers made up the 13 car "Big One" which brought out a red flag while NASCAR cleaned up the mess.
In all, over half the field were involved in some type of incident before the race was 1/4 over.
Chasing The Checkers
After the early cautions the drivers settled down and put together some long green flag runs.
Tony Stewart and Kyle Busch lead the field to the green with 22 laps to go. Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson lined up behind them.
Kyle Busch got the jump into turn one and Jeff Gordon worked under Tony Stewart a lap later for second to try to chase Kyle down for the win.
Kyle Busch was trying to complete a full weekend sweep after picking up victories in the Truck and Nationwide series races in Phoenix. Jeff Gordon was trying to break his 66 race winless streak. Both drivers wanted it and were willing to fight for it.
With ten laps to go Gordon caught him and the battle began.
The two drivers crossed the start finish line side-by-side with eight laps to go. Gordon overdrove the car into turn one and pushed up into Kyle's door. Kyle had to lift to avoid crashing and Gordon took the top spot.
Kyle wasn't happy about the pass but he couldn't get back to Gordon to show his displeasure. Jeff Gordon broke his losing streak and returned to Victory Lane.
- Jeff Gordon
- Kyle Busch
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kevin Harvick
- Ryan Newman
- Kasey Kahne
- Tony Stewart
- Kurt Busch
- A.J. Allmendinger
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
It's still very early in the points so drivers can make big moves in the points. Jeff Gordon jumped 21 spots into fifth in points while last week's leader Carl Edwards fell all the way to a tie for twelfth.
The Unofficial 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings:
- Kyle Busch
- Kurt Busch -3
- Tony Stewart -11
- A.J. Allmendinger -11
- Jeff Gordon -15
- Mark Martin -15
- Bobby Labonte -16
- Ryan Newman -16
- Juan Montoya -16
- David Gilliland -17
- Paul Menard -17