The last time Ford Performance came to Phoenix Raceway it ended up winning all three of NASCAR’s top touring series championships for the first time in its history. This trip will mark the fourth straight weekend of racing to start the 2024 season and feature the NASCAR Xfinity and NASCAR Cup Series.


Defending NASCAR Cup Series champion Ryan Blaney has seemingly picked up where he left off last season, having posted back-to-back top-five finishes in Atlanta (2nd) and Las Vegas (3rd). HIs 2024 start is reminiscent of how 2023 ended when he finished first or second in each of the last three races (2nd at Homestead and Phoenix; 1st at Martinsville). Blaney returns to Phoenix Raceway, where he celebrated his first championship four months ago, hoping to finally take the checkered flag after finishing second in each of the last three races at the one-mile track. He enters Sunday’s race with five straight top-five runs at Phoenix and one pole with that coming in 2022.


Arizona native Michael McDowell returns to his home track looking to capitalize on a career-best ninth-place finish the last time the series ran at Phoenix Raceway in November. McDowell, who has qualified for the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs in two of the last three seasons and finished a career-best 15th in 2023, will be making his 27th career start on the one-mile track. His best weekend so far this season came two weeks ago at Atlanta Motor Speedway when he won his first career series pole and finished eighth.


The Ford Mustang Dark Horse kept its NASCAR Cup Series undefeated qualifying streak intact last week when Joey Logano took the top spot at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. That marked Logano’s second pole of the season with Michael McDowell’s first career pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway sandwiched between. That marked the first time since 2022 that Ford had won three straight poles. The last time the Blue Oval won four in a row came during the 2018 season when Kevin Harvick (Richmond 2), Kurt Busch (Charlotte Roval and Talladega 2) and Logano (Kansas 2) did it consecutively. That streak includes the Dover weekend when qualifying was postponed due to weather.

RYAN BLANEY: “We’re gonna try to get a one on the finishing column, instead of a two. It’s hard to complain about twos because we’ve had really good runs there, but hopefully we can just bring the same speed. I thought those three races that we’ve run second at that we could have won if a couple things go our way. That’s really all I can ask for is to just have the speed to try to win the race, so hopefully we can bring that and see what this car has on the short track package. I think that’s the big thing as well is trying to figure out this new package and how it runs in traffic. Hopefully, we’re competitive.”

HARRISON BURTON: “The cars certainly might drive worse, which is gonna be fun for us. I don’t think it’s gonna be too crazy different, but it’s definitely gonna be a little bit less grip and more to manage. It should make the racing a little bit better, so I’m excited for that. I’m excited to get out there and feel what it’s like. I know there’s been some testing done with that package and from what I saw it looked like a good time to drive it, so I’m excited. I love Phoenix. It’s a cool area, cool racetrack, cool fan base, so it’s always fun to go out there.”

JUSTIN HALEY: “Luckily, I tested that package last year at Richmond. I was one of the guys that initially tested that and I’m excited for it. I feel like Phoenix is kind of the track it’s meant for almost, so we’ll see. I’m probably gonna have my hands a little bit more full than they used to be and that’s a good thing. Cup cars should be hard to drive, so we’ll just have to see. I think we have a long practice there, so it’ll be good to communicate with the team a little bit more and that’s what I’m looking forward to as well.”


Kevin Harvick holds the record with nine career NASCAR Cup Series wins at Phoenix Raceway and ended his stellar career with 21 straight top-10 finishes at the one-mile track. That streak started in 2013 when he won the next-to-last race of the season, igniting a six-race stretch that saw him win five times, including four straight, and finish second once. The nine wins proved to be the most for Harvick at any single track with Michigan International Speedway being second with six.


Alan Kulwicki, driving the No. 7 Zerex Ford, won his first NASCAR Cup Series race in the debut event at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6, 1988. Kulwicki, who celebrated by taking a Polish Victory Lap for which he is still remembered for today, passed leader Ricky Rudd with 16 laps to go and ended up taking the checkered flag in his 85th start by 18 seconds over runner-up Terry Labonte. Fellow Ford drivers Davey Allison and Bill Elliott finished third and fourth, respectively. Kulwicki, who ended up leading four times for 41 laps in taking the next-to-last event of the season, went on to win four more Cup races during his career.


Kurt Busch made Phoenix Raceway history when he drove his No. 97 Irwin/Sharpie Ford Taurus to victory in the first NCS night race held at the track on Apr. 23, 2005. Busch dominated from the start as he led 132 of the first 133 laps, and while others like Brian Vickers and Michael Waltrip led multiple laps at different stages of the event, it was Busch who proved to be too strong down the stretch. He passed Waltrip with 44 laps to go and was never threatened again as he won by 2.315 seconds. Busch led 219 of the 312 laps as Phoenix hosted the first of two annual Cup dates each season for the first time.


Cole Custer is returning to the site where he won his first NASCAR championship in November after capturing the overtime season finale at Phoenix Raceway. Custer, who deftly negotiated a tightly bunched pack of cars on the restart, emerged with the lead down the backstretch and completed the final lap without incident to win by .601 seconds. Custer comes into this weekend after winning the pole and finishing second last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Ford Performance PR