Subway Fresh Fit 500 2012 Results: Reaction, Leaders and Post-Race Analysis

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2012

AVONDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 27:  Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, drives on pit road during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on February 27, 2011 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Phoenix International Speedway is one of the coolest tracks on the entire circuit because of its unique shape and the wild racing it produces year after year.

The intermediate track takes a special blend of adjustments to these NASCARs to make sure they handle the different turns and the traffic they will encounter.

Update: Sunday, March 4th at 6:10 p.m.

Denny Hamlin is the Subway Fresh Fit 500 champion. He cruised to an easy victory on the final lap, as his closest competitor, Kevin Harvick, ran out of gas. 

And fuel was the big story at the close of this race. Drivers were working with their teams to conserve as much fuel as possible, and for several racers, like Harvick, they did not conserve enough. 

NASCAR analyst Tom Bowels tweeted out why this finish will be especially satisfying for Hamlin.

Denny Hamlin now wins, on fuel mileage at the same track where he blew the 2010 championship... in a fuel mileage race. #NASCAR #closure

— Tom Bowles (@NASCARBowles) March 4, 2012

Hamlin is now the points leader in this young season. Harvick was able to hold on to second. 

Place Driver
1 Denny Hamlin
2 Kevin Harvick 
3 Greg Biffle 
4 Jimmie Johnson 
5 Brad Keselowski 
6 Kyle Busch 
7 Martin Truex Jr. 
8 Jeff Gordon 
9 Mark Martin 
10  Joey Logano 

You can view the full results here. 

This was a nice bounce back race for Jimmie Johnson after being derailed by a wreck at Daytona. Greg Biffle is also off to an exceptionally strong start with his second straight third place finish. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was solid all day, but could never quite put it together, and wound up 14th. 

*End of update

Jeff Gordon comes into this race as the defending champion, but there is a starting grid full of drivers with more to prove than ever before. This will be anything but easy for whoever ends up taking the checkered flag.

With a late start due to the location of the race, keep it here for all of the reaction, leaders and post-race analysis you can handle.

Where: Phoenix International Raceway, Phoenix, AZ

When: Sunday, March 4, 2:30 p.m. EST

Watch: FOX

Starting Lineup

  1. Mark Martin
  2. Tony Stewart
  3. Regan Smith
  4. Jimmie Johnson
  5. Juan Pablo Montoya
  6. Ryan Newman
  7. Greg Biffle
  8. Kevin Harvick
  9. Joey Logano
  10. Kasey Kahne
  11. Jeff Burton
  12. Kyle Busch
  13. Denny Hamlin
  14. Marcos Ambrose
  15. AJ Allmendinger
  16. Clint Bowyer
  17. Bobby Labonte
  18. Aric Almirola
  19. Kurt Busch
  20. Paul Menard
  21. Jamie McMurray
  22. Landon Cassill
  23. Dave Blaney
  24. Carl Edwards
  25. Martin Truex Jr.
  26. Matt Kenseth
  27. Scott Riggs
  28. Brad Keselowski
  29. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  30. Jeff Gordon
  31. Casey Mears
  32. David Reutimann
  33. Josh Wise
  34. David Ragan
  35. JJ Yeley
  36. David Gilliland
  37. Michael McDowell
  38. Joe Nemechek
  39. Robby Gordon
  40. Brendan Gaughan
  41. Travis Kvapil
  42. Mike Bliss
  43. David Stremme


Jeff Gordon

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 02:  (L-R) Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 National Guard/ Diet Mountain Dew Chevrolet, talks with Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Drive to End Hunger Chevrolet, in the garage area prior to practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Seri
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

After racing on Phoenix International Speedway for 14 years with plenty of success but no victories, Jeff Gordon finally won his first Cup Series race on the track in 2007. While starting at No. 30 is not great, it won’t be long before No. 24 is towards the front.

Since that victory, Gordon had great success on the track, including a win at this event last season. As the defending race winner, the No. 24 team is a serious threat to win on Sunday.

With an average finish of 10th in this event to go with his two career victories, 10 top-fives and 18 top-10s at Phoenix, fans need to look no further than the NASCAR legend for the clear favorite at this race.

Kasey Kahne

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 02:  Kasey Kahne, driver of the #5 Farmers Insurance Chevrolet, drives during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on March 2, 2012 in Avondale, Arizona.  (Photo by Jerry Mark
Jerry Markland/Getty Images

With Kasey Kahne under the wing of Hendrick Motorsports and the trio of talented drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr., this is Kahne’s time to show the world that doubted his skill and will to win last season that they were wrong.

Kahne may only have one win on the Phoenix raceway, but that race came in the second to last race in 2011 and the momentum is still there. If Kahne can win the same race just a few months earlier, he can easily do it again.

An average finish of 20th at Phoenix doesn’t bode well for the young superstar, but his eight top-fives in only 11 starts last year proves that he can wheel around the track with the best of them. The key will be staying off the wrecker.

Ryan Newman

AVONDALE, AZ - MARCH 02:  Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Office Depot/ Mobil 1 Chevrolet, talks with Ryan Newman, driver of the #39 Wix Filters Chevrolet, in the garage prior to practice for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Bashas' Supermarkets 200 at Phoeni
Tyler Barrick/Getty Images

There is a racing term that has come to define Ryan Newman at Phoenix International Speedway; checkers or wreckers. Except, its top 10 or wreckers for Newman, close enough.

When completing every lap of the race, Newman has never finished in worse than 16th at Phoenix including seven top-fives and a huge win in the opening Phoenix race of 2010. It’s the other six races where he wasn’t on the lead lap that has people scared.

If Newman can use the momentum that teammate and car owner Tony Stewart has created with his 2011 Championship win, the No. 39 Stewart-Haas car will be heading towards a stellar finish.

Check back for more on NASCAR as it comes, and check out Bleacher Report’s NASCAR Page to get your fill of all things motorsports.


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