AVONDALE, AZ – After 12 hours of on track action at the Phoenix International Raceway this weekend, one distinct fact stood out – the Chevrolet cars were quick during the two three-hour long day time sessions while their Honda counterparts were quickest under the lights in the two night time sessions at the 1.022-mile track.
On Friday afternoon, Chevy cars swept the top four speeds on the speed chart. With Chevy having just eight of the 21 cars here this weekend, that’s a good ratio to have four of those eight quickest out of the gates. Then, in the afternoon session on Saturday, Chevy cars swept the top five speeds in that three-hour long session.
Josef Newgarden, Will Power, Ed Carpenter and JR Hildebrand appeared to be the class of the field under the baking Arizona sun.
But, the two night time sessions went the exact opposite. This time, Honda cars were found at the top.
On Friday night, Honda drivers swept the top six speeds and had seven of the top eight on the speed charts. Then tonight, it was more of the same with Honda drivers taking the top five speeds on Saturday night.
With the race in April being under the lights, you would think that Honda drivers would have an edge over Chevy when we come back to Phoenix in a little over two months from now. But, if you remember right, this is the exact same situation that occurred in last year’s test too.
Chevy cars were quick in the day and Honda at night in the two-day test in February of 2016. When we came back to Phoenix in April of that year, Chevy drivers led all 250 laps and took home eight of the top nine finishing spots.
Chevy drivers started up front because qualifying was ran in the daytime hours. Then at night, Honda despite their speed couldn’t get around the Chevy competition as passing was few and far between.
After this test this weekend, passing looks like it once again will be difficult when we return in April, so track position and qualifying will be crucial to success in that race. With Chevy cars being quickest in the day time hours, and qualifying being during the day during this year’s race weekend here, it could mean Chevy will be victorious once again in 2017 at Phoenix.