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Coca-Cola Racing Family Roundup: Phoenix

November 11, 2013, RJ Kraft and Taylor Starer,

Logano, Newman earn top 10s at Phoenix

The AdvoCare 500 was the second to last race in the Sprint Cup Series season. And while no Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers scored top-five finishes, a pair of drivers earned top-10 finishes and two drivers moved up a spot in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.

Here is the roundup for the Coca-Cola Racing Family at Phoenix International Raceway.

Joey Logano (No. 22)

Penske Racing, Ford

Recap: Logano spent a good portion of the race in the top 10 and held the lead two different times for a total of 33 laps. His day started out interesting with a near mishap with points leader Jimmie Johnson. Logano slipped to 26th on Lap 240 but rallied for his fourth career top-10 finish at Phoenix. The ninth-place finish was also Logano's fourth top-10 finish in the Chase and helped him hold onto to ninth place in the point standings.
Quotable: "We didn’t really lose much in points, but, overall, it was a weird race because you don’t know where you’re at and you just pass the cars in front of you. I didn’t know what place I was in, I just kept running because it was too confusing for me."
His standing: Logano is 9th in the standings with 2,287 points.
In Logano’s four opportunities at Homestead he has not claimed a win, a top-five finish or a top-10, but he did earn the pole position in 2012 and ultimately finished 14th, which is his best finishing position to date at the track.

Ryan Newman (No. 39)

Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet 

Recap: Newman started 17th at a track where he had won the Coors Light Pole four times. From there, he hung in the middle of the field until Lap 164 when he surged to the lead. It was the first of three times Newman would lead the race. He held the lead for a total of 31 laps. Newman moved to the middle of the field for a bit before holding second place on Lap 270. He fell back bit to finish 10th. Newman's solid run at Phoenix did see him move up a spot in the point standings.
Quotable: "Matt Borland and the guys worked hard to make the Quicken Loans Chevrolet better over the course of the weekend, and once we got in clean air the car was actually pretty good. But track position was everything. When we had it, the car was pretty good. When we didn't, it was so hard to pass."
His standing: Newman is 11th in the standings with 2,259 points.
Outlook: In Newman’s 11 races at Homestead, he has yet to see Victory Lane, but he has earned one top-five and four top-10s there. When Newman visited Homestead last year he finished third behind Jeff Gordon and Clint Bowyer.

Greg Biffle (No. 16)

Roush Fenway Racing, Ford 

Recap: Biffle spent most of the race in the top 20 but there were some stretches were he made his way into the top 10. That included leading the race on Lap 275. Biffle finished 13th at Phoenix and remains winless at the one-mile track in his 20 career starts. Biffle did move up a spot in the point standings to seventh, though.
Quotable: Biffle was unavailable for comment.
His standing: Biffle is seventh in the standings with 2,301 points.
Outlook: Along with Biffle’s three previous wins at Homestead he also holds four top-five finishes, as well as five top-10s. With such a strong history at this track, perhaps a return to South Florida will bring out another memorable finish for Biffle.

Denny Hamlin (No. 11)

Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota 

Recap: The day started out promising for Hamlin as he started on the front row, next to polesitter Jimmie Johnson. He then went on to lead 18 laps, but it was all downhill from there. A spin in Turn 2 by Hamlin brought out a caution on Lap 51 and Hamlin never seemed to completely recover from that. On Lap 60, he was in 32nd place. He did eventually spend a little time back in the top 10, but at day's end, Hamlin finished 28th and a lap behind the leaders.
Quotable: Hamlin was unavailable for comment.
His standing: Hamlin is 23rd in the standings with 706 points.
For only having eight starts, Hamlin has a solid Sprint Cup Series background at Homestead. With one previous win that came in 2009 along with earning three top-fives and four top-10s at the track, Hamlin has just as good of a chance as any to find himself in Victory Lane at the South Florida season closer.

Danica Patrick (No. 10)

Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet 

Recap: It was a tough day for Patrick at Phoenix. Starting 32nd, she spent most of the day in the rear of the field. Patrick battled a loose-handling racecar and then was involved in a four-car accident that brought out a caution on Lap 146. Patrick ended the day with a 33rd-place finish, finished 10 laps behind the leaders and lost two spots in the standings.
Quotable: "It was a tough day all around. ...Obviously, we wanted to put a better performance. ...We’ll go to Homestead and see if we can have a good run to end the season."
Her standing: Patrick is 27th in the standings with 622 points.
Patrick’s upcoming run at Homestead will be the first of her Sprint Cup Series career and a starting point for the rookie. Looking back to her brief time as a Nationwide Series driver, Patrick has been to Homestead three times. During that time she has lead eight laps, with an average start of 10.3, and average finish of 21.3. Patrick also experienced one DNF in 2011 for a crash. Even though those are her Nationwide statistics, it’s enough of a sample size for what her run could be like this time around.

Tony Stewart (No. 14)

Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet 

Recap: Stewart missed his 14th consecutive race this past weekend and watched Mark Martin pilot the No. 14 Chevrolet to a 15th-place finish at Phoenix. Stewart is still recovering from a broken leg and won’t return in 2013.
His standing: Stewart is 29th in the standings with 594 points.