Our buddy, Blake Smith has his analysis ready as we wind down the season.







Weekend Preview: Advocare 500K

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will be traveling west for this weekend’s Advocare 500K at Phoenix International Raceway. Sunday’s event will mark the 33rd Sprint Cup Series race at the Avondale, AZ track which held it’s first race in 1988. This will be the 3rd race for the series on the track after it’s resurfacing was completed last fall.

All 3 of NASCAR;s top touring divisions will be making a visit to PIR this weekend. The Camping World Truck Series will compete tonight (Friday) and the NASCAR Nationwide Series will take to the track for their race on Saturday. All 3 teams will be using the same tire combination for this weekend’s event. Goodyear held a tire test with the 2013 cars at Phoenix last month. The drivers participating were Jamie McMurray, Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart, Paul Menard, Regan Smith and Carl Edwards.

A new Sprint Cup Series team will be debuting for this weekend’s race. David Reutimann will attempt to qualify the XXXtreme Motorsport #44 entry for the Advocare 500K. The #44 team will be using a past Richard Petty Motorsports Ford with a Roush/Yates power plant. The team, which is owned by John Cohen plans to attempt both this weekend’s race and next weekend’s season finale in preparation for a full 2013 season.

Brian Vickers, who has been driving the Michael Waltrip #55 Toyota in a part-time capacity, will be returning to full-time driving responsibility in 2013. Joe Gibbs Racing announced this week that Vickers will compete full-time in the Nationwide Series next year driving the #18 Dollar General Store Toyota. With the expanded partnership between Dollar General and Joe Gibbs Racing, Matt Kenseth’s #20 Toyota will also be sponsored by Dollar General in 17 Sprint Cup Series races.

In preparation for the premier of the new 2013 Sprint Cup Series cars, 2 additional post-season testing dates have been announced for Charlotte Motorspeedway. Sprint Cup Series cars will take to the North Carolina track on December 11-12 and January 17-18. Teams will also travel to Daytona for Pre-Season Thunder on January 11th and 12th in preparation for February’s Daytona 500.

With 2 races left in the Chase for the Championship, in my opinion only 2 drivers still have a chance to take home the 2012 championship. Jimmie Johnson leads Brad Keselowski by 7 points going into this weekend’s race. Clint Bowyer is 3rd, 36 points back from the leader. Bowyer will have to rely on misfortune in the camps of the top 2 teams if he wants a chance to win the championship.

Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson have elected to bring chassis #715 to this weekend’s race. Johnson last competed with this chassis at New Hampshire back in September, where he drove it to a 2nd place finish. Keselowski will be bringing a new chassis to this weekend’s race, as he has in many of the Chase races. Ryan Newman will be showing support of our nation’s veterans with his “Home of the free, because of the free” paint scheme. Newman who has 4 victories at Phoenix will be driving Chassis # 39-719 this weekend.

Tune into Sunday’s coverage of the Advocare 500K beginning at 1PM on WBKR and WBKR.com. For an in-depth wrap up of the weekend’s events, tune into NASCAR LIVE with Eli Gold beginning at 6PM.

- Blake Smith