1) Kevin Harvick (Starting – 10th)
Phoenix Fantasy Spin – Kevin Harvick is a super-elite performer at Phoenix who’ll be a favorite. Phoenix is his best track, and he’s entering the weekend with tons of momentum. At Phoenix, Kevin Harvick has been the class of the field. He’s an 8-time winner who has 9 straight top 6 finishes. He’s been a little off his dominant self in the last three races here, but with the way he’s performed this season I think there’s a great chance he’ll return to form. In practice Kevin Harvick had a great car. He was confident with how it performed and he had the best 10,15 and 20 lap averages. On Sunday look for Harvick to finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Phoenix Track History – Kevin Harvick has a lot of good tracks but Phoenix is his best. Over his current nine race top 6 finish streak he has the best driver rating, best average finish (2.4), best average running position (4.4), has led the most laps (1,064) and has run the most fastest laps. Last fall Harvick was a solid top five performer. When the checkered flag waved he finished 5th, had a 6th place average running position, finished 5th in Stage #1 and 6th in Stage #2. In spring 2017 he started mid-pack but finished 6th. I’ll note if there wasn’t a late caution he was poised to finish 3rd. In fall 2016 he was strong and finished 4th. In the six Phoenix races prior to that he was dominant. Over those events he had 5 wins, finished in the top two every race, had a 2.7 average running position, had a near perfect driver rating and averaged leading 177 laps per race.
2) Chase Elliott (Starting – 3rd)
Phoenix Fantasy Spin – Chase Elliott will be a factor at Phoenix. He’s run extremely well here and has never had a bad race. Over his four combined starts he has a 7.8 average finish, a 6.3 average running position and has had a result in the top 12 every race. Last season he was very competitive and was a contender in both races. In practice Elliott was very competitive. In Happy Hour he had the 2nd best 10 & 20 lap averages. On Sunday look for Elliott to have a strong showing. I think he’ll finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Phoenix Track History – Chase Elliott has been successful in all four of his Phoenix starts. Last fall he had his most impressive performance. In that race he finished 2nd, had a 5th place average running position and led 34 laps. Additionally he finished 3rd in Stage #1 and 9th in Stage #2. In spring 2017 he had a great car and was one of the strongest competitors despite finishing 12th. In the race he earned the 4th best driver rating, had a 4th place average running position, led 106 laps, finished 4th in Stage #1 and won Stage #2. If there wasn’t a late caution it should be noted he would’ve finished in 8th. In 2016 he ran well in both events and had results of 8th and 9th.
Further Recommended Reading – Phoenix Practice Notes/ Practice Speeds Center, DraftKings Playability Value Chart, Likely Finish Ranges, Speed Cheat Sheet, DraftKings Start Page, Fantasy NASCAR Start Page, Phoenix Starting Lineup
3) Kyle Busch (Starting – 7th)
Phoenix Fantasy Spin – Kyle Busch will be tough to beat at Phoenix. It’s been a great track for him and he’s performed at an elite level. Over the last five Phoenix races he’s finished in the top ten every race, has a 4.0 average finish and a 6.0 average running position. In this particular event I think Busch has unfinished business because he dominated this race last spring until a late caution took away certain victory. One attribute I like about Busch is how strong of a performer he is at shorter flat tracks. Last year on this sub-track type he had the best driver rating, best average running position (5.5) and the second best average finish (8.0). In Happy Hour Busch was quick. He had the 6th best 10 & 20 lap average speeds. On Sunday I think he’ll finish in the top five and compete for the win.
Phoenix Track History – Kyle Busch has run exceptionally well in recent Phoenix races. Last fall he was already locked in the championship so he likely didn’t try his hardest. When the race reached its conclusion he finished 7th, had a 7th place average running position and earned the 7th best driver rating. Additionally he finished 6th in Stage #1 and 5th in Stage #2. Last spring he was the class of the field and would’ve raced his way to victory lane if there wasn’t a late caution which erased a 3.25 second lead with 6 laps remaining. When the checkered flag waved he earned the best driver rating, finished 3rd, had a 3rd place average running position and led a race high 114 laps. In fall 2016 he ran well and finished runner-up. Additionally he earned the 6th best driver rating and had a 10th place average running position. In spring 2016 Busch led 75 laps and finished 4th.