2021 Instacart 500 Recap

     Martin Truex Jr. wins the Instacart 500 at Phoenix, and in  day that started with him getting into wall Truex rallied to be in the front at the end. Sunday's race was somewhat of a preview of who could be a Championship contender when the series returns to Phoenix in November. 

    Ryan Blaney won Stage One, and it started Penske's dominance of this race. The three Penske drivers of Keselowski, Logano, and Blaney combined to lead 197 of the 312 laps and both stages. They also all finished in the top 10 with Logano leading the way in second. Stage One also featured the biggest accident of the race involving Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman, and Austin Dillon.

    Joey Logano won Stage Two, and it continued Penske's dominance of the race. Stage two was fairly chill with the exception of an accident between Cody Ware, and Anthony Alfredo where the two got tangled up in turn two. 

    Stage Three featured a race to the front from Martin Truex Jr., and once he got a hold of Logano it was nearly impossible to get him back. A late race restart where Truex held his ground on the top helped him pass Logano and pull away to an easy win. The top ten finishers of this race were: 

1. Truex Jr.

2. Logano

3. Hamlin 

4. Keselowski 

5. Elliott

 6. Harvick 

7. Larson 

8. Byron 

9. Bell 

10. Blaney 

    A major issue for several drivers was speeding on pit road Elliott, Almirola, Suarez, Chastain, Reddick, Briscoe, and Larson twice. The only ones really able to drive back up to the front out of this group were Elliott and Larson. Pit Road at Phoenix is a bit unique as it is longer than most, and has a turn in it. When NASCAR returns in November it'll be fascinating to see if the pit road speeding issue was related to the lack of practice due to covid protocols or the difficulty of pit road at Phoenix.