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It’s off to Phoenix this week for the second of a three leg journey out West. Phoenix is a low banked 1 mile tri-oval. It’s considered a short flat track for the series. Last week I accurately projected the top ten would be full of top name drivers. Unlike last week in Las Vegas, Phoenix has had a scattering of lesser teams find themselves in the top ten over the years. They have both spring and fall races here, with the spring race typically being a bit more competitive due to the impact the points standings has on the fall race, where many drivers are already in the championship and often times on ‘cruise control’ by that point of the season. There is a group of Nascar drivers that excel on flat tracks, but it’s larger and less selective than other special track-type groups. It should be a great race again this week.
As always, my articles are directed at DK gpp formats, and I will be around in chat to discuss FD options and cash plays if anyone is interested. Let’s get to it.
Kevin Harvick (12800) – Harvick is always a favorite to contend for a win at Phoenix. He’s won an incredible 9 times at Phoenix and has 11 straight top ten results. He hasn’t dominated in the most recent races (see Busch), but has an average of finish of 4.2 (second best in Nascar) over the last five events, finishing no worse than 6th. He was on the pole last fall, and led 73 laps finishing 5th despite suffering a flat tire will leading the race. Last spring he won at Phoenix after leading 38 laps. he has marginal value this week due to starting near the front.
Joey Logano (10300)– After a mixed start to the season, Logano, the reigning Monster Energy Cup Champion, was due for a win and finally got it this past week. Phoenix has provided mixed results for Logano in the past, but he is a recent winner. Last season he was in the middle of a playoff scenario and didn’t have a good race here. His recent win was in the fall of 2016, and it’s been a while since he had a positive result here. There’s no question Logano is a competitor, so it will be interesting to see how this team comes off of his win last week. I think top ten is reasonable, but keep in mind his recent past here hasn’t been all that good.
Kyle Larson (9900) – Larson has three top 3 finishes in his last five races in Phoenix. He always runs well here, and if not for mechanical issues could easily have finished top 3 in all five of those races. He likes the track, and is always fast. If he can stay incident free, this is another track for him. His average finish at flat tracks is just under 10th, which ranks alongside the other drivers in his tier. He slipped in qualifying and starts 31st. He’s an easy lock this week. Start your lines with him and build from there.
Aric Almirola (9600) – Almirola is definitely on my radar for Phoenix. He hasn’t finished outside of the top five dating back through the last three flat track races last season. He was 4th here at Phoenix in the fall, and as you already know if you’ve been following my articles, he’s someone I expect to keep pushing for wins every week. He has 3 straight top tens here at Phoenix (averaging finish of 6.7) and it’s easy to see him finishing top ten again with the way this team is running up front every week.
Chase Elliott (9300) – Elliott has struggled somewhat this year and by most accounts his results have been disappointing. Phoenix may be just what the doctor ordered. He has excelled at Phoenix and is one of the better flat track drivers in Nascar, accumulating the 3rd most points on this track type. Aside from a wreck that marred a great race last fall, he’s averaged finishing inside the top ten at Phoenix. He finished 3rd in the spring race, and 2nd in the race before that (fall 2017). At 9300, he’s very tempting. His starting position isn’t favorable, but I won’t talk you off of him either.
Kurt Busch (8800)– As expected last week, Busch had another nice run in his new Chevy. His Phoenix history is dotted with mishaps such as an odd mistake of passing the pace car one race while leading, and being penalized. Incidents aside, Busch runs well at Phoenix. He’s comfortable on the West coast, and I expect another good run this week. His new teammates have run well here, and that only adds to the reasons to have Busch on your radar again this week. I think DK is underpricing him at this point of the season so let’s make use of that. Busch starts 16th and is very useable this week.
Clint Bowyer (8400)– Bowyer didn’t look all that good last week, but has been respectable at Phoenix. He’s an SHR driver, is fast on a weekly basis and should always be competitive. He’s another driver that is always a threat to finish top ten. He got caught up in the ‘big one’ last fall and didn’t finish well, but had a 6th place finish in the spring. He starts 26th and should be on your radar. He is priority number two for me this week and in my core lineup.
Daniel Suarez (7600)– Suarez is a good flat track driver. He’s better on shorter tracks and while Phoenix isn’t the smallest of the flat tracks, he should have a solid showing this week. He still hasn’t lived up to the hype generated when he moved over to SHR. He’s going to be situational all year for DFS purposes, with his value coming in the weeks that he misses in qualifying and can get us positional points. for us. he did move up last week and gained marginal positional points. Suarez was involved in the big wreck last fall, but in 2 of the last 4 races here, he has top ten finishes. He starts in the back this week and that’s good for us. He will be in my core lineup this week along with Larson and Bowyer.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (7500) – Stenhouse has had up and down results at Phoenix, with two top ten finishes back in 2017. He’s been strong this year, qualifying and running well. As long as DK continues to ridiculously under price him, he’ll be on my radar. Any time he slips in qualifying and finds himself in the middle to back of the starting grid, he’ll be in my core lineup. Through three events, he’s clearly had one of the best breakout seasons in all of Nascar. He races with swagger, and isn’t afraid to mix it up with some of the sport’s bigger names. Phoenix hasn’t been his best track overall, which is a bit surprising since he loves short track racing, but I expect him to do well this week, continuing his solid start to the season. Keep him on your radar.
Ryan Newman (7100) – Newman won here back in the 2017 spring race. He’s been respectable at Phoenix, but fate and late race incidents have cost him over the years. He does have top twelve finishes in four of the last five races here, but that wasn’t with the struggling #6 Roush Racing team. He’s a veteran with a lot of experience though, and had a very respectable average finish on flat tracks last year.
Ryan Preece (6400) – Preece has a history of success on this track type in other racing disciplines (modified). He’s been nothing short of a pleasant surprise in his rookie season thus far. He mildly disappointed last week, but I cautioned it would be a hard race to pick lower tier drivers in due to them going down laps early. Preece got caught up in that, and never recovered from the early lap he lost. He still ran well most of the day and managed to get back up to 25th and only lose one positional point. Given his success on this track in the Xfinity (5th last fall) and modified series, I would look for him to bounce back this week and be a solid, low salaried option.
Matt DiBenedetto (6200) – DiBenedetto has completely crashed back to earth since Daytona week ended. I’m one of those who has been disappointed. I believe he’s a very good young driver, but despite the Gibbs affiliation his new team has, he’s back to running in the 20’s range. I would expect that will be his normal range, until he shows us Daytona wasn’t a fluke. If DK continues to price him like they did this week at 6200, he will always be someone in consideration of that final roster spot.
David Ragan (5600) – Ragan was in a bad spot last week for DFS purposes. Starting 6th, he had nowhere to go but down. He’s a driver we want to look at when he qualifies in the 30th range and we can expect to get some positional value out of him. He will need the points to pay off value, given that his typical expected finishing range should be in the low to upper 20’s most races. He starts 29th, and is worth a look this week.
Fades for me are Ryan Blaney (has never done well in Phoenix. He starts on the poll and has nowhere to go but down) and Jimmie Johnson (underwhelmed again last week. His career is waning, and on top of that DK has him overpriced again this week).
My pick to win the race is Kyle Busch, but I don’t like his overall DFS value based on starting position/salary. My secondary pick would be his brother Kurt.Random FTA articles