Top 10 things to watch at Phoenix's Subway Fresh Fit 500

DEAN McNULTY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:39 PM ET

AVONDALE, Ariz. The Top 10 things to watch for in the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway:

1: Good brakes are key as there is no more important piece of equipment on a Sprint Cup race car than brakes on a one-mile short track like Phoenix. Just ask Trevor Bayne after the Daytona 500 heros brakes failed on his first practice lap at PIR destroying his No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford.

2: There will be lots of tire wear on the worn-down surface at PIR. So that means the guessing game becomes whether to take two tires or four on pit stops. The driver who can save his tires will win the race.

3: Passing will be at a premium with 43 cars on the track all beating and banging for position. And with relatively short back and front stretches, there will be lots of guys dive bombing into the corners trying to out-brake the guy beside them.

4: The driver who can keep his head when those all around him are blowing their stacks will be at an advantage. So watch for guys like Jimmie Johnson, who keeps his cool, to run up front most of the race.

5: Keeping a car in one piece is important at every race, but the shorter the track the harder it is to finish with all the fenders still on one piece. Watch for the cleanest cars to finish at the top of the leader board.

6: There is no room for the meek at PIR. The aggressive driver will come out on top every time so there will be plenty of close encounters of the wrecking kind throughout the race.

7: Pit road will be hectic at Phoenix with every tenth of a second lost meaning a position lost on the race track. Teams that win on pit road will win on the race track.

8: Last week at Daytona it was buddy-buddy time with everybody looking for a partner to draft with. None of that at PIR where the lone wolf will reign supreme.

9: The guys on the roof, however, will be just as important at Phoenix and Daytona. The drivers will need all the help they can get from their spotters when navigating around 43 cars on this little track.

10: The weather will be worth watching as a rare winter storm is headed to Phoenix. Keeping an eye on the sky will be a become a necessary evil as drivers try to out-race the rain.


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