NASCAR DFS – The Fastest Get Paid – Phoenix Rising

Kevin Harvick has won two straight races...can he make it a third?

Kevin Harvick has won two straight races…can he make it a third?

Welcome fellow race fans to FakePigskin’s coverage of NASCAR DFS for the 2018 season! After an exciting first race of the season, Kevin Harvick has put us to sleep the last two weeks by winning decisively at Atlanta and Las Vegas. Will he go for the three-peat? Keeping reading below…

For those of you not familiar with how NASCAR DFS is played, here is the basic rundown of how it works:

  • You must select five to six drivers to race, but each driver has a salary assigned to them and you must fit their salaries within a $50,000 cap, so you cannot just load up on the top five to six drivers in the points standings.
  • Points are scored by a driver’s place differential (Starting position -finishing position), fastest laps posted, laps led, pass differential (amount of cars passed – times being passed), and their finishing position.
  • You will need to find the balance of your front running drivers along with your sleeper drivers you can count on to out perform their salary ranking and finish in the top 15.

The Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series is in race two of the “West Coast Swing” of Las Vegas Motor Speedway, newly renamed (well…sponsored) ISM Raceway in Phoenix, and Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. It’s a tough task for many teams since most teams are located in North Carolina to either travel across the country multiple times or stay away from home for multiple weeks. This week, the series is at ISM Raceway in Phoenix. ISM Raceway is a 1.022 mile track with relatively flat corners and a newly remodeled “dog-leg” straightaway on the back stretch, which is reversed as opposed to other race tracks that feature “dog-legs” on the front straightaway. This is also the last race at ISM until they flip the orientation of the track, moving the start/finish line to where the back straightaway is now in a move to bring more fan friendly experience. Last fall’s race was filled with emotions as Chase Elliot, looking for his first career win, was passed by now-retired Matt Kenseth for his final career win. While Matt is enjoying his home life, if you follow is rare tweets, Elliot is still searching for that first win, but he will have to beat the red-hot Kevin Harvick for checkered flag!

Just like each NASCAR DFS race, my picks are separated into three stages, my All Stars, Solid Performers, and Sleepers. Drivers, let’s start making money!

All-Stars

Kevin Harvick ($11,400): You never leave the card game on while you’re on a heater right? Harvick, who has won, errrr…dominated, the last two races at Atlanta and Las Vegas, arrives to his best track at ISM Raceway. Harvick has eight career wins at ISM, along with an average finish of 4th in his last 4 races! The only caution I would have is that Harvick’s Car Chief (think in football terms, the offensive coordinator), who adjusts the car’s setup, is suspended for the next two races after a penalty from Las Vegas in regards to a rear window brace failure that may have given the car an aerodynamic advantage. Harvick will still have his Crew Chief (think of it as the head coach) Rodney Childers, who is in the top-3 of best crew chiefs in the series.

Kyle Larson($10,300): Want to know who the next young superstar is for NASCAR to lead them to this next era? It’s 25 year old Kyle Larson. Larson was in contention for the championship last year, until he had the playoff races from hell. Constant bad luck with engine failures and wrecks led to an early exit from the playoff after a breakout regular season. Larson has had two top-5 finishes in his last four races, was the fastest in Friday’s practice session and will start 2nd on Sunday. Look for Larson to jump start his season now before he travels to his home track next weekend in California.

Joey Logano ($9,500): Logano hasn’t had the strongest finishes at ISM, but he has led 140 laps in his last four races, showing those finishes are indicative of how performance is. Logano was 6th fastest in practice and improved to 5th for his qualifying result. Look for Logano to stay in the top-5 all race and to be in contention at the end of the race.

Solid Performers

Erik Jones ($8,400): My 2017 “feast for famine” driver who either seemed to get top 10 finishes…or finish in the 30s. Jones’ strongest track overall was ISM raceway last year, finishing fourth and eighth in his two starts last season. Jones starts 9th this Sunday and looks to get his season started!

Alex Bowman ($7,800): Before this season, Bowman spent more time driving the Chevrolet test car than actual racing, but his stand out performance subbing for Dale Earnhardt Jr. was at ISM Raceway in the fall of 2016. Bowman led 194 laps and finished sixth after a late race caution occurred while he was leading. In the ensuing green flag, with the field bunched up, Bowman was spun and was able to recover. Hendrick Motorsports has been STRUGGLING this season on the bigger tracks, so the smaller, more finesse tracks offer a different challenge. Bowman was 12th in practice, but improved to 4th in his qualifying effort. Look for Bowman to carry that confidence to a solid top-10 finish.

Daniel Suarez ($7,400): The 2016 Xfinity Series champion had two solid finishes last season at Phoenix, a seventh and 18th. Suarez starts 15th Sunday and looks to pluck his way into a top-10 finish.

Sleepers

William Byron ($6,900): Struggling is an understatement when it comes to the beginning of Byron’s Cup Series career. Before slightly rallying for finishes in the 20s, Byron has been battling adjusting to the series along with battling his ill-handling race cars in the low 30s position wise. However in his last two Fall starts at ISM Raceway, Byron was dominating the truck series race in 2016 before blown motor took out of contention late. In 2017 in the Xfinity Series, Byron redeemed his name and took home the checkered flag on his way to the Xfinity championship! Byron was fourth in today’s practice and qualified 11th. Any finish in the top-15 would seem like a win for this crew!

Ty Dillon ($6,400): If it’s not Ryan Newman at this pick, it’s Ty Dillon. Dillon is still looking for his first career top-10, however Dillon has a reputation of never putting the car into the wall or being rough on equipment that keeps him in every race. Ty finished 11th and 16th in his two starts last year and we hope he keeps the consistency going!

Good luck this week and let’s make some money! You can follow me on Twitter @ScottYoungLV and please shoot me any questions or comments.

*All driver stats are referenced from DriverAverages.com

*Practice and race results from Nascar.com

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