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Dan Beaver

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Fantasy Live: Phoenix

Tuesday, March 6, 2018


After this weekend, the frontstretch is going to flip at Ingenuity Sun Media Raceway—formerly Phoenix International. While that will not make much of a difference, it could add just a little extra incentive for a driver to win. Unfortunately, they are going to have to outduel the hottest driver on the circuit because Kevin Harvick is also one of the top picks every time the series rolls onto this track.

A much bigger factor will be the fact that this race tends to go into overtime. Three of the last four races on this track added extra laps, including last year’s edition of this event. The 2015 fall race was shortened by rain nearly 100 laps from the end, but that meant it also ended under special circumstances.

Anything can happen in those frenetic finishes and that could play havoc with your lineup. When that is the case, it is often a good idea to take a few more dark horses and avoid over allocating the fantasy studs. On the other hand, last fall’s event went the scheduled distance, so one might wish to hedge their bets with well-placed favorites.

Kevin Harvick
Allocation management will come into play later in the season, but for now one would be crazy if they did not add Kevin Harvick to the roster. If he has been there for the past two weeks, he has already earned maximum points and that is almost certain to happen again at ISM Raceway. Suddenly the six victories and two runner-up finishes he earned from 2012 through 2016 on this track carry much more weight than the fact that he has landed between fourth and fifth in the last three attempts. This team has hit on something that it is taking a while for others to find and fantasy owners will want to ride that wave while they can.

Kyle Busch
Kyle Busch finished outside the top five for the first time in four races last year in the Can Am 500. From fall 2015 through last spring, he scored two fourth-place finishes, a second, and a third making this one of his most productive tracks to date. Last fall, he fell to seventh, but that was his 17th top-10 in 25 races, giving him a percentage of .680. One has to be in contention for the win in order to take advantage of any last-minute problems for the competition—and that is what Busch did so well last week in Las Vegas.



Kyle Larson
A blown engine last fall ended a two-race, top-five streak for Kyle Larson on this flat, one-mile track, but there is every reason to believe he was going to be a contender. For the seventh time in eight races, he qualified on one of the first four rows and he was running well before his retirement. The only thing that might keep him off your roster is allocation management, because he must be started on the two-mile tracks and 1.5-milers that develop an outside groove.

Daniel Suarez
It might be more prudent to make Daniel Suarez a garage pick this week so that he can be evaluated once the race starts. But since there are only so many time one can activate Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, and other marquee racers, occasionally one has to commit to a mid-tier picks. With some input from his teammates, this second-year driver got off to an incredibly fast start on short, flat tracks with four top-10s and another pair of top-15s in eight races last year. One of these came in this race when he crossed under the checkers seventh after starting 27th.

Denny Hamlin
There was a time when it was impossible to overlook Denny Hamlin on short, flat tracks. His lost some of his infallibility, but he should still be earmarked for Phoenix, Martinsville Speedway, and Richmond International Raceway so he can at least be valuated during practice and qualification. In 96 starts on this track type, he has 12 victories (.125) and 41 top-fives (.427), which means his has a knack for finding the right setup to roll through the corners.

Garage Pick

Clint Bowyer
Keep an eye on the Rotoworld Fantasy NASCAR coverage because the garage pick could change in order to reflect 10-lap average speeds, but one of the drivers we will watch closely is Clint Bowyer. The entire Stewart-Haas Racing organization has come on strong this season and Bowyer was already one of the top picks on this track type. Last year, in 10 races on short, flat tracks, he almost swept the top 15 and had four top-10s in the process. At Phoenix, he had a pair of 13ths, but with more momentum on his side this week, he should easily land in the top 10.

 

Driver

Segment
Points

Segments
earning points

Segment
Wins

Kevin Harvick

40

5

3

Ryan Blaney

34

4

1

Martin Truex Jr.

31

5

 

Kurt Busch

29

5

1

Joey Logano

29

5

 

Brad Keselowski

28

4

1

Kyle Larson

24

4

 

Kyle Busch

21

4

 

Aric Almirola

16

3

 

Paul Menard

13

4

 

Clint Bowyer

11

2

 

Michael McDowell

11

2

 

Alex Bowman

9

1

 

Chase Elliott

8

3

 

Denny Hamlin

8

3

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

7

1

 

Trevor Bayne

4

2

 

Darrell Wallace Jr.

4

1

 

Austin Dillon

2

1

 

Daniel Suarez

1

1

 


Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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