Let’s be blunt here: Kevin Harvick regularly kicks everyone else’s tail at Phoenix Raceway.
Harvick, the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford and the 2014 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion, has eight victories at the 1-mile Phoenix oval.
The other 39 drivers entered in Sunday’s Camping World 500?
They have only 14 wins here combined.
So, yeah, Harvick is the favorite this weekend.
But in a close, competitive season like we’ve had so far, somebody else just might step up and make Harvick unhappy.
Here are six drivers who can challenge Harvick on Sunday:
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Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Yes, the 2017 season has gotten off to a slow start for NASCAR’s 14-time Most Popular Driver. But Phoenix absolutely is one of Earnhardt’s better tracks. He’s won three races here, most recently in November 2015, and he’s finished eighth or better in six of the last seven Phoenix races.
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Harvick’s stiffest competition just might come from his own Stewart-Haas Racing teammate, Daytona 500 winner Kurt Busch. The elder Busch has one victory and seven top fives at Phoenix, along with 750 laps led.
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After last week’s fiasco in Las Vegas, Busch will be all fired up and ready to go. He won here as a rookie in 2005, has a solid finishing average of 12.870, plus he’s led 565 laps at Phoenix.
No surprise here, really, as Johnson is good most every place he goes. The seven-time champion has four victories at Phoenix, although his last one came in 2009. Still, you can’t ever count him out here, especially not with an average finish of 8.693.
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In case you’re thinking, “Well, duh, Logano won the last race here,” you are correct. He won the Phoenix playoff race last November. But more than that, he’s been consistently good here, finishing ninth or better in six of the last seven races here.
The last time NASCAR raced in Phoenix, Larson finished third. And he comes into this weekend having finished second in each of the last two races at Las Vegas and Atlanta. He just might be the guy who parks it in Victory Lane on Sunday.