The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Arizona with a stop at Phoenix International Raceway for the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 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, November 15; 2:45 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 75; wind out of the SE at 7 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 that tend to run fast at Richmond and New Hampshire are smart picks.
Key to Race: Can Anyone Touch Harvick?
Kevin Harvick has won five of the last six races at Phoenix International. If there is ever a MUST use driver it is Mr. Harvick this weekend. Jeff Gordon is the only driver that has advanced to the championship 4 round of the Chase. Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, Kurt Busch and Martin Treux Jr. are also strong options to win on Sunday.
43 cars will qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has been simply awesome at PIR. USE HIM THIS WEEKEND.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch missed the spring race at PIR due to his injured leg. He has won at the track in the past and won at NHMS earlier this year. He is a great choice.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano cracked the top 11 in eight of his last 11 starts at PIR. He will be racing for a win this weekend.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski was great at Texas last weekend and has nine top 20 finishes in 11 career starts at PIR. He should finish inside the top five.
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards has two wins in the last nine races at Phoenix. He is just outside the fourth spot in the championship 4 round and will leave it all on the track this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch has six top 10 finishes in the past 11 starts at PIR. He is racing for a spot in the championship 4 and is a great pick.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has 19 top 10 finishes in 25 career starts at PIR including four wins in the last 16 races at the track. He should challenge Harvick for the checkers.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon is the only driver that is safely in the championship 4 round. There are much more desperate options this weekend.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. is currently on the bubble to advance to the championship 4 round. He was terrific at PIR earlier this 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 seven races. Another top 10 finish is expected.
11 to 20
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman has been awesome in nine of the past 11 Phoenix races, including a third place finish earlier this 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 earlier this year. He is a nice second driver in most fantasy leagues.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior cracked the top eight in both races last year at Phoenix, but was taken out in an accident this spring.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: Jamie Mac had an awesome run at PIR this spring. He is a nice sleeper choice.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson has been very fast at PIR during his career. He is a very nice third driver in all leagues.
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 seven races at Phoenix. We like him this weekend.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse has been very fast at PIR so far in his career. He should bring the No. 17 near another top 20 finish.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke typically is one of the top drivers at PIR. We just don’t have faith in him right now.
21 to 30
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has been the definition of a “lame duck” driver the past month. He isn’t an option unless you are desperate.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard had a strong finish at PIR earlier this year. He is a decent option.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon cruised to a 15th place finish at PIR this spring. He is a decent third driver in deep fantasy leagues.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears had good runs at Phoenix the last two spring races. He is a nice sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: “Dinger” has returned to being a middle-of-the-packer the past month.
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: Bayne has averaged just a 27th place finish the past month of this season. There are better options.
No. 9 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish Jr. has been terrible at PIR so far in his career. He isn’t an option.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick has been terrible at Phoenix during her career. She isn’t worth using this weekend.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier: The “Riverton Rocket” had a nice run at Phoenix earlier this year. He isn’t a bad sleeper pick.
No. 35 Cole Whitt
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 23 Jeb Burton
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 26 J.J. Yeley
No. 98 Ryan Preece
No. 83 Matt DiBenedetto
No. 32 Joey Gase
No. 33 Ryan Ellis
No. 62 Timmy Hill
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Kurt Busch
C. Erik Jones