The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series moves to Phoenix International Raceway for the second race of the 2014 season, The Profit on CNBC 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 2, 2014; 3:15 p.m./et.
Weather: Partly cloudy with a high around 66; wind out of the SW at 9 mph. There is a 10 percent change of precipitation on Sunday.
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. Additionally, Hendrick Motorsports driver's Jimmie Johnson, and Kasey Kahne have won most of the last 13 races atPIR. Any member of Hendrick’s impressive stable of drivers is an option to win this weekend.
Key to Race: Which Hendrick Driver will win?
Hendrick Motorsports has dominatedPIRthe past few years. We anticipate all drivers from the Big H Stable will be fast, but don’t forget about Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch who brought great cars to the track the past three races.
46 cars will qualify for 43 spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been very successful atPIRduring his career including three top three finishes in the last four races. Another top five finish is expected.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Rowdy has been one of the top drivers the past seven years at Phoenix. We look for him to have a big impact on Sunday’s race.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson has 17 top 10 finishes in 22 career starts at PIR including four wins in the last 13 races at the track. He, once again, is an obvious choice to take the checkers.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards has two wins in the last six races at Phoenix. He is a good pick.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick has led over 424 laps in the past 16 races atPIRincluding a win in November 2012. He is a strong option.
6 to 10
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke is one of the top drivers at PIR the last nine years. We think a top 10 finish is a near lock.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne won the November 2011 race at Phoenix and finished second last fall. He should have plenty of speed this visit to the desert.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth has finished inside the top six in five of the last 16 races
at PIR. He will once again bring a fast car to the desert.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon won the 2011 spring race and has 21 top 10 finishes in 30 career starts atPIR. We look for him to be very strong again this weekend.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Mr. Daytona 500 has had mixed results his past few visits to the desert. We hope he can ride the positive momentum into this weekend.
11 to 20
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch usually brings a very fast sled to PIR. He is a worth using in most leagues.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski has seven top 20 finishes in eight career starts at PIR. He should finish just outside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has led 389 laps in the past 18 races atPIR. He should have the No. 16 ride inside the top 15.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Kevin Harvick ran strong at PIR his last few races in an RCR ride. Dillon takes over Harvick’s former equipment and will be a great sleeper pick.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse Jr. was great at Phoenix in the Nationwide Series. He should bring the No. 17 another top 20.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman was awesome in six of the past eight Phoenix races. He should bring a similar setup Sunday.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer ran a great race at Phoenix last spring. He could nail-down another top 10 finish with a little luck.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano cracked the top 11 in five of his last eight starts at PIR. He is a good pick this weekend.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola cracked the top 20 in the past four races at Phoenix. He is a fine choice.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. has finished in the top 22 in 13 of his 16 career starts atPIR. Another top 25 finish is expected.
21 to 30
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has cracked the top 30 in all but one of his 14 career starts atPIR. We like him to continue the streak.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears had a great run at Phoenix last spring. He is a nice sleeper pick this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has cracked the top 22 in all but two of his 11 career starts atPIR. He is a solid value option.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: PIRhas been a tough place for Jamie Mac to get around for much of his career. This isn’t the weekend to take a chance on him.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson is a talented rookie, but he is still a rookie.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers has averaged a 24th place finish at PIR during his career. He will take the checkers around the same position as is his average.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Patrick was terrible at Phoenix last year. She isn’t worth using again this weekend.
No. 51 Justin Allgaier: Allgaier has been inconsistent, as is expected. We can’t recommend the Riverton Rocket this weekend.
No. 32 Travis Kvapil: We are a fan of Frankie Stoddard.
No. 36 Reed Sorenson: Sorenson has run well at PIR in the past.
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger
No. 34 David Ragan
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 33 Brian Scott
No. 30 Parker Kligerman
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 26 Cole Whitt
No. 35 Blake Koch
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 66 Joe Nemechek
No. 77 Dave Blaney
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 87 Morgan Shepherd
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Kyle Busch
B. Carl Edwards
B. Denny Hamlin
C. Reed Sorenson