Well, that was fun! It's pretty hard to beat Kevin Harvick at Phoenix but Carl Edwards came closer than anyone else ever has. Harvick won his 8th Phoenix race by all of .01 seconds in overtime as both cars bumped their way to the finish line.
There has been talk about Harvick possibly wanting to leave Stewart-Haas but I never put much stock in it. Kevin finally seems to have found a team that is the perfect fit for him. He has a crew chief for whom he has total respect. He has a fast car virtually every week and his pit crew delivers excellent pit stops. He moving toward the end of his career. I can't see him wanting to start over.
Of course, I was rather surprised when I heard Stewart-Haas was switching to Ford too....for the same reason....why mess with success? But I think Gene Haas needs to be the alpha male and doesn't like giving part of his own glory to Hendrick for supplying his engines and bodies. And I expect Ford gave him a hell of a deal to get another powerhouse team to compete with Penske since Roush has been a disappointment for the last few years. And while RPM is making progress, they aren't there yet.
I love that 2016 is setting up to be such a great rookie year. Both Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney finished in the top 10. Chase had the most quality passes of anyone on the track. They both drove like veterans. I have to root for both these kids - Chase, because I'm a Hendrick fan, and Ryan because, gosh, wouldn't it be great for the Wood Brothers to win Rookie of the Year in their first year in ages as a full-time team? Both of them are sons of NASCAR families and either would be a heartwarming story.
There was lots of passing in this race so, at least at some tracks, NASCAR's new downforce package seems to be getting the job done.
I hate it when my guy, Jimmie Johnson, ends up at the back of the pack to start because he screwed up and wrecked his car in qualifying but he made it exciting to watch him dispatch car after car and work his way to the front in record time. Same with Junior though he didn't have to come from so far behind.
What is up with Kasey Kahne? We know Hendrick builds great cars, as the other three HMS cars show week after week. We know Kasey is a good driver. We know he has a good crew chief and yet the Five car just never seems to be able to put it all together. If it wasn't for bad luck, Kasey wouldn't have any luck at all. And I have a feeling this may be a crucial year for him.
I would love to see Brian Vickers win a race during his stint as Tony's replacement.
Have to give a shout out to Austen Dillon. He seems to be finding his mojo this year. Meanwhile, Kyle Larson languishes although I think that is due more to Chip Ganassi Racing than Kyle himself. They seem to be a step behind so far in 2016.
All in all, I think this year is starting out to be a good one - four races, four winners - and off we go to Californ-i-a.