Welcome back to FakePigskin’s coverage of NASCAR DFS!
The Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series returns to Phoenix International Raceway for the penultimate race of the 2018 Nascar Playoffs. Three drivers have clinched their spot into next week’s championship race: Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick based on their wins in the third round in the playoffs; and Martin Truex Jr based on the points he has scored in the previous two races. That leaves one spot left for these five drivers: Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliot, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and seven time champion, Jimmie Johnson. With this race being the final race until the championship race, how desperate will these drivers get?
Just like each NASCAR DFS race, my picks are separated into three stages, my All Stars, Solid Performers, and Sleepers. Drivers, let’s start your money making engines!
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- Kyle Busch ($11,100): When it comes to the blue chip drivers, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch has the advantage and it’s not even close! In his last four Phoenix races (missed one race due to injury), Kyle has an average finish of 3.25. Even though he has no wins, his finishes range between second and fourth. Compare that to Truex Jr’s surprising 17.2 average finish!
- Kevin Harvick ($10,000): When you examine these numbers, it’s a wonder why Harvick’s salary isn’t $13,000. In the last five Phoenix races, Harvick has won twice, led 506 laps, and has an average finish of 2.8! Harvick has been the driver to beat at Phoenix, but with his spot clinched in the championship race, will the dominance continue?
- Chase Elliott ($9,300): No driver is hungrier right now than Chase Elliot. Elliot has seen his fellow young drivers, Austin Dillon and Ryan Blaney win races while Elliot is still hunting for his first win. After his incident with Denny Hamlin at Martinsville being wrecked out of the lead, Elliot can taste his first victory coming. Chase’s first three starts have been successful with an average finish of 9.67 with 106 laps led!
- Ryan Blaney ($8,300): With his points standing this season, you would expect Blaney to have a salary of an All Star, but with a salary in the low 8,000s, we can pack him into our Solid Finisher category. Blaney has a lot to fight for this weekend with a spot in the championship race on the line. Blaney has stepped it up and with start 1st this Sunday! Otd going to be tough to take the lead from Blaney on Sunday.
- Erik Jones ($8,300): The “feast or famine” driver of the year, Erik Jones returns to my picks. Being teammates with Martin Truex Jr. provides you with great equipment, however Erik has lacked in luck this season, getting caught up in many accidents not of his making.
- Kurt Busch ($7,900): Both Busch brothers make appearances in my picks this week. Kurt is starting 16th on Sunday, but expect him to claw his way into the top 10 by the end of the race. Kurt has four top-10s in his last five Phoenix races with an average finish of 9.6.
- Ty Dillon ($6,900): Ty keeps his spot on the roster for another week. Ty has raced at Phoenix twice, finishing 15th and 16th, pretty consistent for this rookie driver who is driving in lesser equipment than his older brother Austin. Look for Ty to finish between 12th-17th this weekend.
- Ryan Newman ($7,100): When in doubt, pick Ryan Newman. Guess who won the Spring race at Phoenix? The same guy who’s salary is only $7,100, $400 less than of was last week! Newman’s average finish in his last five Phoenix races is 13.9 with a low of 39th factored into that. Look for Newman to have quiet top-12 finish.
Good luck this week and let’s make some money as we are hitting the stretch run of the Playoffs. You can follow me on Twitter @ScottYoungLV and please shoot me any questions or comments.
My picks last week yielded two of my All Stars finishing 1st and 2nd, but my other picks weren’t so lucky.
- Kevin Harvick: WIN!
- Martin Truex Jr: 2nd
- Kurt Busch: 9th
- Jamie McMurray: 18th
- Ryan Newman: 20th
- Ty Dillon : 24th
- Jimmie Johnson: 27th
- Dale Earnhardt Jr: 35th
*All driver stats are referenced from DriverAverages.com