1. Jimmie Johnson– In the 5 COT Phoenix races Jimmie Johnson has won all of them except for the first race and the most recent one. The worst Johnson has ever finished in a COT at Phoenix is 4th. His COT average finish is 2.2. Johnson’s led nearly 400 COT laps at Phoenix and he’s consistently a front-runner in the desert.
2. Denny Hamlin– My Denny Hamlin basic rule of thumb for knowing how to use him fantasy wise is “If’s it flat or short use Hamlin”. Phoenix is both flat and short so expect good things out of Hamlin Sunday. Hamlin’s COT average finish is an impressive 6.6 and he’s also led the second most COT laps at Phoenix (225).
3. Mark Martin– Martin won at Phoenix earlier this year and he backed up his flat track prowess at New Hampshire. Martin also nearly won last year at Phoenix in a part-time DEI ride which I find very impressive.
4. Tony Stewart– Tony Stewart was the runner-up in the spring race at Phoenix. Stewart has an impressive 8.8 average finish (COT), and more importantly he has nothing to lose by running hard.
5. Kurt Busch– Kurt is coming off his Texas win and Phoenix is one of his better tracks. Last fall Kurt Busch finished 2nd and this spring he finished 3rd. Just like Stewart, Kurt Busch has nothing to lose by running hard.
6. Kyle Busch– Kyle Busch was going to be Mark Martin’s biggest challenger this spring at Phoenix, but unfortunately the 18 car was caught speeding on pit road on their final pit stop. Kyle’s COT average finish at Phoenix is 10.0. Kyle Busch also has one career win here.
7. Dale Earnhardt Jr.– Somethings going to go right for this team soon and it may very well happen at Phoenix. This track has always been friendly to Junior, and he had a top 10 car at New Hampshire until a late crash took him out.
8. Jeff Gordon– Gordon won the first COT race at Phoenix but if you remember back to that race he was pretty lucky the caution came out when it did. Otherwise he certainly wouldn’t have won that race. When you take away that win Gordon only has one other COT top 10 at Phoenix.
9. Juan Pablo Montoya– Montoya was extremely strong at New Hampshire and I think it will carry over to Phoenix. Other than that there isn’t much to report here.
10. Greg Biffle– Biffle has 3 COT top tens at Phoenix and a 8.8 average finish. Last year Biffle won at New Hampshire.
11. Kevin Harvick– RCR is looking better all the time and Phoenix is a Kevin Harvick track. Harvick has 3 COT Phoenix top tens.
12. Carl Edwards– Edwards has had COT success at this track but for whatever reason his performance level is way off this year. Edwards has 2 COT top fives and 3 COT top tens here.
13. Clint Bowyer– Clint Bowyer is a flat track ace. Most of his flat track success has been at New Hampshire, but he’s also not to shabby at Phoenix.
14. Jeff Burton– Burton just like Bowyer and Harvick will be a beneficiary of the continuing rise of RCR. Burton has 2 career wins at Phoenix.
15. Ryan Newman– Newman has a 22.9 average finish at Phoenix. Newman has 3 top tens here and 11 sub top ten finishes. The main thing that really drags down Newman’s finish average is 6 sub 30 finishes.
16. Martin Treux Jr.– In 5 COT phoenix starts Treux has 3 top tens. He’s also led 72 laps over this time span.
17. Matt Kenseth– Kenseth has been pretty bad at similar track lately that it’s really hard to recommend him. The main reason (not only) Kenseth missed the Chase this year is because of how poorly he performed at Richmond (similar track). They couldn’t perform there if there season counted on it.
18. David Reutimann– Reutimann is probably very underrated here. Earlier this year Reutimann finished 8th at Phoenix.
19. Marcos Ambrose– Ambrose finished 14th here earlier this year but at other similar tracks this year he’s been about a 20th place car.
20. Jaime McMurray– McMurray has 1 COT top ten at Phoenix and a 15.4 COT average finish.