The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Arizona with a stop at Phoenix International Raceway for the Good Sam 500(k). Brian Brown took a look at past performances, season trends, and spoke with NASCAR contacts to predict how the field should finish on Sunday.
When: Sunday, March 13; 3:44 p.m./et.
Weather: Sunny with a high around 80; wind out of the SW at 4 mph. There is a ZERO percent change of precipitation.
The Track: Phoenix International Raceway
PIRis a relatively flat (11 and nine degree banking in the corners) one mile oval. Drivers run very similar setups at Richmond and New Hampshire.
Key to Race: Can Anyone Touch Harvick?
Kevin Harvick has won five of the last seven races at Phoenix International. If there is ever a MUST use driver it is the 2014 champion this weekend. Dale Junior won at the track last fall and has been fast in the desert lately. Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Joey Logano are also strong options on Sunday.
39 cars will qualify for 40 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been simply awesome at PIR. USE HIM THIS WEEKEND.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has 20 top 10 finishes in 26 career starts at PIR including four wins at the track. He should challenge Harvick for the checkers.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch has found victory lane at PIR in the past and won at NHMS last year. He is a great choice.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano cracked the top 11 in nine of his last 12 starts at PIR. He will be a fast option.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has 10 top 20 finishes in 12 career starts at PIR. He should finish inside the top five this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior won at PIR last fall and was driving well before being taken out in a wreck last spring. He is a great option.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch has seven top 10 finishes in his past 12 starts at PIR. He is a great pick.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. was terrific at PIR earlier last year and he won’t be afraid to take a few chances this weekend.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been very successful atPIRduring his career including three top three finishes in the last eight races. Another top 10 finish is expected.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth was suspended for the fall race at PIR last year. He will return to being one of the top drivers at the track this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards has two wins in the last 10 races at Phoenix. He will finish around the top 10 this weekend.
No. 24 Chase Elliott: Elliott has started his Cup career with a bit of bad luck. He has driven well but has been caught-up in wrecks twice so far. He is a worthy choice in all leagues.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has been very fast in 10 of the past 12 Phoenix races including a third place finish during the spring race last year. He should solid again on Sunday.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne won the November 2011 race at Phoenix, finished second in the 2013 fall race, and was very fast at PIR early last year. He is a nice third driver in most fantasy leagues.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: Jamie Mac has run well at PIR lately. He is a nice sleeper choice this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has had plenty of past success at PIR. He should have the No. 16 ride inside the top 20.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola cracked the top 20 in the past eight races at Phoenix. We like him this weekend.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson 2016 campaign has mostly been a disaster so far, but he has been very fast at PIR during his career. He is a decent buy-low candidate this weekend.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse has been very fast at PIR so far in his career and he is off to a fine start this season. He is a good back-of-the-roster choice this weekend.
21 to 30
No. 21 Ryan Blaney
No. 27 Paul Menard
No. 15 Clint Bowyer
No. 7 Regan Smith
No. 6 Trevor Bayne
No. 13 Casey Mears
No. 10 Danica Patrick
No. 14 Ty Dillon
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger
No. 44 Brian Scott
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 38 Landon Cassill
No. 23 David Ragan
No. 34 Chris Buescher
No. 83 Matt DiBenedetto
No. 30 Josh Wise
No. 32 Joey Gase
No. 98 Cole Whitt
My NASCAR LIVE Team for this Week:
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Ryan Newman
C. Ty Dillon