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2017 Phoenix: NASCAR Monster Energy - Saturday Notebook
Posted by: ASkyler on Mar 18, 2017 - 05:05 PM
Feature Articles
2017 Phoenix: NASCAR Monster Energy - Saturday Notebook

By Reid Spencer, NASCAR Wire Service


AVONDALE, Ariz. - Kyle Larson canít imagine getting angry enough to take a swing at another driveróbecause of the potential consequences.

Naturally enough, the fisticuffs between Kyle Busch, Joey Logano and their crew members made for animated conversation at Phoenix International Raceway -- site of Sunday's Camping World 500 (3:30 p.m. ET on FOX) -- where the chief combatants were summoned to a Friday morning your-attendance-is-requited meeting in the NASCAR transporter.

After Loganoís Ford collided with Buschís Toyota on the final lap last Sunday at Las Vegas, Busch launched an overhand right at Logano on pit road and the melee followed.

Larson, on the other hand, canít see himself in a similar situation. Most sources list Larson as 5-foot-6, 130 pounds, but both those numbers may be generous.

"Look at how big I am," Larson said with a chuckle. "I canít do that. Joey has got probably about two feet longer reach on me, too. No, but, Iím not the fighting type. I donít think Iíve ever been mad enough that I have ever wanted to punch somebody, mainly probably because Iím scared that I am the one that is going to get beat up.

"No, I donít know. Maybe Iím small enough, too. ... Iím a lot smaller than most of the other drivers that maybe they will see the disadvantage while they are walking over to my car and wonít punch me. But that was pretty exciting last week."

Ryan Blaney likewise said he doesnít have the temperament for fighting, but he could see himself getting angry enough to want to throw a punch.

"Yeah, anyone can get that upset," Blaney said. "The Pope can get that upset. Itís human nature. Anyone can get that upset to do that. Whether you act on it or not, thatís your own personal choice you make. Itís just passionate racers.

"People have passion for certain things, and sometimes the passion gets the best of you."


Denny Hamlin got "screwed" during the first round of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series qualifying.

No, another competitor didnít impede Hamlinís progress on his run. Crew chief Mike Wheeler described what happened in a tweet on Friday night.

"Ran over a screw in Q1, came in 15 psi lower," Wheeler posted about the cut tire that resulted. "NASCAR no longer allows changes. Tried to pump up for Q2, but didnít work. Bummer. #startinglast"

During the offseason, NASCAR instituted a rule requiring drivers to start the race on their qualifying tires, and tires may be changed only in the case of a factory defect.

With the pumped-up tire, Hamlin nevertheless qualified 19th. Though heíll have to start from the back of the field in Sundayís Camping World 500 because of the tire change, he will retain the pit stall he earned with the 19th pick.

Hamlin tweeted that the rule "bit us big time. Run over something, get a flat, canít continue (although we tried) and have to start in the back for it."


Early in Saturdayís first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series practice, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. scraped the outside wall at Phoenix International Raceway after his brakes failed. Unlike last week at Las Vegas, however, Stenhouse didnít have go to a backup car. His team changed the brakes and repaired the cosmetic damage before Stenhouse returned to the track. He was 23rd fastest in the session and improved to 20th on the speed chart during Happy Hour. ... Chase Elliott led Saturdayís first practice session with a lap at 135.977 mph, followed by Joey Logano (135.466 mph), the polesitter for Sundayís Camping World 500. Kyle Larson was third fastest at 135.323 mph. With ambient temperatures reaching 95 degrees for final practice, Logano paced the session at 134.736 mph, with Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch second and third, respectively.

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