Less than three hours from the green flag for today's Subway Fresh Fit 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway, here are some stories to watch:
Kyle Busch chases the sweep: After leading 307 of the 350 laps of competition so far - including all 200 laps of yesterday's Basha's 200 Nationwide race - Kyle Busch is a victory today away from his second-career sweep of the NASCAR national touring series. He previously won the Camping World Truck, Nationwide, and Sprint Cup races at Bristol last August. He has one career Sprint Cup win at Phoenix, as a rookie in November 2005.
Trevor Bayne's first race as a Daytona 500 champion: No one realistically expects Trevor Bayne to duplicate his performance in Daytona. That's not to say he isn't a capable driver; the types of track and the brand of racing are polar opposites. With two crashes already this weekend - one in Sprint Cup practice, the other in the Nationwide race - seeing the checkered flag from the drivers' seat with all four fenders intact on his No. 21 Ford would be a successful day.
Ford goes for four in a row: The Blue Oval Brigade hasn't had much to smile about the last few seasons, but after Carl Edwards' back-to-back wins to close the 2010 season and Trevor Bayne's Daytona 500 win, Ford is riding a three-race winning streak into today's race. Two Fusions will begin today's race from the top ten: Edwards starts from the pole, while teammate Greg Biffle rolls off from the tenth position.
Hendrick Motorsports needs a rebound: After crashing all four of their cars in the Daytona 500 and only having one driver complete the entire distance - Mark Martin - the Hendrick Motorsports juggernaut needs a weekend rebound in the worst way. Precedent is there for all four. Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. each have two Phoenix wins, Jeff Gordon won the 2007 Subway Fresh Fit 500, and Jimmie Johnson is the all-time wins leader at Phoenix with four. However, none have been particularly impressive thus far this weekend, and Gordon led the team with his 20th-place qualifying effort.
Hamlin tries to right the ship where it all went wrong: Denny Hamlin admitted last week that his crushing defeat in the November race at Phoenix ultimately cost him the Sprint Cup championship a week later at Homestead. After a Speedweeks in which anything that could go wrong did go wrong, Hamlin must exorcise the demons from last November today and get his run for the 2011 Sprint Cup on track.
Will the glass slipper fit two weeks in a row?: Lost in the hype of Trevor Bayne's Daytona 500 win is the solid performance of Regan Smith throughout Speedweeks. Widely considered one of the sport's most underated talents, Smith is starting fifth today. A victory for his Denver, CO., based team might be asking too much, but a solid top-ten run is far from out of the question.