Coming off his worst result of the season, point leader Jimmie Johnson returns to Phoenix where he leads the tour with three victories -- all of which he accumulated in his last four starts. Johnson has a striking average finish of 5.4 on the one-miler after completing every possible lap raced in the desert and posting 10 top 10s in 12 starts.
Bargain basement -- Sam Hornish Jr.
Hornish has been horrendous of late, but has always appeared comfortable in Phoenix, where he earned his first career top 10 Sprint Cup finish in the spring. The former IndyCar champ won two races and posted three top five finishes in six PIR starts in that series before making his NASCAR debut at Phoenix in 2006.
Bargain basement -- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. had the desert mojo running for him at Phoenix during his days at DEI. He posted a four race stretch of top-five finishes including two victories. Junior is one of just four drivers with multiple wins at PIR. His Hendrick/Phoenix stats were off to a solid start with two top-10 finishes before this spring when he led 63 laps prior to poor adjustments in the pits and late race contact with Casey Mears.
Middle of the road -- Kevin Harvick
Kevin Harvick is living a charmed life after winning the Camping World Truck race on Friday as his KHI driver Ron Hornaday Jr., wrapped up his record-breaking fourth title in the tour. Harvick swept the 2006 Cup events at Phoenix to bolster his track record with three top-five and six top-10 finishes in 13 starts. Harvick has led 316 laps at PIR and has a race completion rate of 99.5 percent.
Middle of the road -- Jeff Burton
Jeff Burton could be getting his groove back just in time for one of his best tracks on the Cup tour. In 2001-'02, Burton won back-to-back races at PIR. Equally impressive is that Burton has not finished worse than 15th in his last 17 starts at Phoenix which includes five top-five and 11 top-10 finishes. Burton has a Phoenix completion rate of 99.7 and has led 215 laps.
Middle of the road -- Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch is enjoying another triple-header weekend between NASCAR's top tier series. Why? Because he really enjoys racing at Phoenix -- as reflected by his results. Busch won in his second appearance at PIR and four of his five top-10 finishes were scored in the last five starts.
Blue Chip -- Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch carried momentum from his Texas win into Phoenix, where he'll roll off from the front row on Sunday. Busch grew up racing in the desert and records show the Las Vegas native is in his element at PIR. While Busch's sole Phoenix win came in the spring race in 2005, two of his four top-five finishes were earned in the last two events. In 13 starts, Busch's lap completion rate is 99.9 percent and he has led 571 laps.
Blue Chip -- Denny Hamlin
If the track is flat, Denny Hamlin has to be considered a contender. Hamlin's three victories this season were all earned on flat tracks -- his last two coming at venues of less than a mile. Although Hamlin has not been victorious at Phoenix yet, in eight starts he has posted four top-five and five top-10 finishes -- all of which happened in his last six starts.
Blue Chip -- Tony Stewart
Tony Stewart logged many a mile at Phoenix International Raceway in his USAC and Indy Racing League days long before he had any notion of coming to NASCAR. While driving for John Menard in the IRL, he won the 1997 pole and finished second twice in three starts. Stewart hasn't been a slouch in stock cars either. He won at Phoenix in his Cup debut and has posted seven top fives, nine top-10 finishes in 15 starts.
Blue Chip -- Mark Martin
Mark Martin's average finish at Phoenix is ninth, which is not quite in Chase leader Jimmie Johnson's universe but damn impressive considering that the veteran has raced in all but one (fall 2007) Cup event at PIR. In the spring, Martin put on a commanding performance. He led 157 of 312 laps and held off Tony Stewart at the finish by a margin of 0.734 seconds to earn his second Phoenix win.