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THINGS WE LEARNED AT PHOENIX

THINGS WE LEARNED AT PHOENIX

1. Rare exception

There is usually only one happy driver after a NASCAR Cup Series race: The winner.

Phoenix produced five smiles in the garage. In addition to Dale Earnhardt Jr., who went to Victory Lane, there were the four guys who qualified for the Championship Round.

2. Complaint Dept.

When Joey Logano was asked to compare the rain-delayed starting time (nearly midnight) of Daytona’s summer race to Phoenix’s abbreviated event, the young driver showed his experience.

“There’s a lot at stake at this race, but it’s already called,” he said. “What am I supposed to do?” That's a noncomplaint complaint.

3. NASCAR watching

Kurt Busch drew a drivethrough penalty for being a whisker ahead of pole winner Jimmie Johnson on the first green flag. Hoping to win the race and make the Championship Round, Busch instead spent most of the night catching the leaders. They are always watching Kurt.

Always.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not the only happy driver to leave Phoenix on Sunday night. He was joined on the joy train by the four remaining Chase drivers. JONATHAN FERREY/GETTY IMAGES

— Godwin Kelly, [email protected]

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