Howdy folks! Welcome to my new Nascar articles home. The format will be the same as in previous weeks’ notes, but will be evolving as we close out 2018 and head into 2019 in the coming months. I’m always open to suggestions, so feedback is encouraged. Early each week I will post the schedule in chat. I will start my articles with any significant series notes. Then I’ll go thru the tiers and post my picks for race day. My picks will not focus on favorites to win the race, but rather drivers with the best value, and chance to accumulate DFS points based on DK scoring methods. I will be available in chat to go over lines and answer any questions. Finally, I will post (in chat) any late breaking changes to the starting grid each week as they come in, as well as post a few of my lines sometime before the green flag drops on race day.
The series is in Phoenix this week for the last playoff elimination race before the finale at Homestead. Eight drivers remain, one (Logano) is locked in and seven are fighting for the last three spots. A win this week gets you in regardless of points. This is going to give us seven aggressive drivers going all out this week trying to make the cut and it should be fun to watch. Phoenix is a shorter, somewhat flat track. There are a handful of drivers that excel on this track type, and another group that struggles.
On to the tiers (starting position in parenthesis)…
The “Big 3” – None are locked in. They’re all above the cut line however, and they’re all expected to do well.
Kevin Harvick (1st), won last week and was thought to be locked into the finale, but had it stripped in a post race inspection. On top of that, he will finish the season with a substitute crew chief. He has the pole again this week, and is very fast. I don’t like rostering drivers on the pole normally, and will probably only have him in one line this week.
Kyle Busch (6th) has been one of the fastest drivers of the weekend. He’s also a Phoenix favorite.
Truex (13th) failed pre-qualifying inspection this week, and will be without his crew chief for the race. He has been chomping at the bit since his tangle with Logano a few weeks ago, and has the best chance at positional points among the three.
The Top Tier –
Kurt Busch (14th), a perennial top finisher at Phoenix, will be high on my radar as one of my favorite plays this week.
Bowyer (16th) is yet another playoff driver who is fast and has a great starting spot.
Hamlin (10th) has one of the best track records at Phoenix and has been consistent here despite his struggles elsewhere this season.
Keselowski (12th) is out of the playoffs but never one to let up and I expect him to be racing as hard as if he were still in contention come Sunday.
The Mid Tier –
Almirola (18th) is one of my favorite plays this week. He’s in the hunt for the finale and does very well on this track type.
Johnson (20th), a veteran who was a former Phoenix winner not so long ago.
Jones (7th) who starts a litter further forward than I would like, but has been very fast this weekend.
We just missed out on a few other drivers I liked in the price range (Stenhouse and Bowman), but they ended up qualifying up front and lost a lot of positional value as such.
The Lower Tier – Has some great value this week and we’ll need to make use of it due to this week’s dart throws.
Suarez (26th) is my top play of the week. He slipped in qualifying to give us a standout play from a positional points perspective. He loves short, flat tracks and should be able to move up and score well on race day.
Newman (22nd) is another driver who excels on this track type.
Byron (19th) always has a fast car come race day and is yet another driver who does well on this track type.
Kenseth (17th) has a great history on this track type and at this track in particular. Despite starting a little further forward than I like, his salary could help you squeeze in that extra top tier driver.
Dart Throws – As you know, I don’t like them on shorter tracks because cars in the back get lapped early and often. Their only chance on this track type is generally thru attrition, which I don’t like to bet on.
Ragan (31st) is the lone driver I’ll point out this week, but use at your own risk. His track record here is not good.
Drivers I’m avoiding this week are Logano (9th) who has little motivation since he’s locked in, Menard (11th), Allmendinger (24th), and Buescher (25th), the latter three all having horrible track records at Phoenix and on this track type in general.
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to hit me up with any questions or suggestions you have. Good luck!NASCAR