All eyes on Joey Logano and Kyle Busch for the Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway

All eyes on Joey Logano and Kyle Busch for the Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway

After the post-race altercation on pit lane between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano at Las Vegas last weekend - that largely overshadowed Martin Truex Jr's victory - all eyes will be focused in the direction of the two combatants for any signs of the revenge promised by Busch in the immediate aftermath of the incident.

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Paul Nicholson

NASCAR CEO Brian France assured everyone that there would be no retalliation, and pointed at what happened to Matt Kenseth - suspended for two races in 2015 following his deliberate wrecking of Joey Logano - as the possible outcome awaiting Busch, should he decide to take the law into his own hands.

Still, doubtless the talk before the race will be whether any retribution will be dished out.

With points being so crucial this season, and Busch - as well as the rest of the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers - struggling in the early stages of the standings this year, it is unlikely that he can afford to risk sitting out races due to any on track infractions.

The form of the JGR Toyotas is a bit of a surprise after looking so dominant during the latter half of last season, and it will be interesting to see how they fare this weekend, at a track where all four drivers finished in the top six in the spring race in 2016 - albeit without the race win.

Martin Truex Jr won in Vegas but Ford look like the team to beat

Martin Truex Jr celebrates in Victory Lane at Las Vegas | Picture Credit: nascar.com
Martin Truex Jr celebrates in Victory Lane at Las Vegas | Picture Credit: nascar.com

Before the season, many people were looking at JGR as the team to beat, and it was hard to argue against it, but without a driver in the top 12 of the points standings, and seemingly being out-performed by Truex in their satellite team, Furniture Row Racing, there is mounting pressure on the quartet to get a win.

Certainly, Truex's win in Las Vegas last week apart, the Fords look to be the power engine of 2017, and have looked dominant so far. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain their great start throughout a whole season.

Of course, it is impossible to talk about any race at Phoenix International Raceway without mentioning Kevin Harvick as the 'one to beat'.

His record in the desert is phenomenal, and couple that with him driving with a point to prove after his race-ending tire blow-out on lap 68 last week followed hot on the heels of his dominating performance in Atlanta - in which he led 292 of the 325 laps, only for a pit road speeding violation to cost him what looked like an inevitable win - and it is difficult to look anywhere else for a potential winner.

Kevin Harvick could dominate in the desert this weekend

Kevin Harvick beat Carl Edwards by the narrowest of margins at Phoenix a year ago | Picture Credit: nascar.com
Kevin Harvick beat Carl Edwards by the narrowest of margins at Phoenix a year ago | Picture Credit: nascar.com

Harvick has won six of the last nine Phoenix races, and the last three spring races. He has not finished outside the top four in the last seven races there, and, remarkably, has only finished outside the top six twice since November 2010.

With the doubts about Stewart Haas' performance this season as they adapt to their switch from Chevrolet to Ford but a distant memory, a dominant display from the #4 car will surprise no one.

It will be the first race of the season on a one-mile track, and with three of them in the play-offs, drivers and crew chiefs alike, will be keen to find the winning formula early in the season in a bid to enhance their championship chances later in the year.

With temperatures expected to be in the mid 90s on Sunday, NASCAR's officials will be hoping the drivers manage to keep their cool both on and off the track this weekend.

The Monster Energy Cup Series has first practice on Friday, followed by qualifying later that afternoon, with a further two practice sessions scheduled for Saturday.

Segments for the 312 lap race will be 75 laps for stage one and two, and 162 laps for the third. The green flag is set to wave at 3.30 ET on Sunday, and coverage is on Fox and MRN.

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