The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Avondale, Arizona this week for the Good Sam 500(k). The race can be seen Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing.
The weather was the story at Las Vegas Sunday. The day started with high winds and ended with a dust storm. Team Penske proved to have the cars to beat after the weather settled down. Brad Keselowski found his way to Victory Lane with his teammate Joey Logano coming in second place.
There have been two races this season (Atlanta and Las Vegas) using the new lower downforce package. Six drivers have finished both races in the top 10. It is clear that these teams have figured out the new cars and they will be the drivers to beat at Phoenix.
Phoenix International Speedway was reconfigured and repaved in 2011. Progressive banking was added to the 1-mile oval making it race more like an intermediate track than a short track. Teams either know how to set their cars up for Phoenix or they do not. This is a tough track to gain on if your setup is not good when the car is unloaded from the truck.
Here are the results from the two races at Phoenix in 2015:
2015 CampingWorld.com 500 Results (Spring)
- Kevin Harvick
- Jamie McMurray
- Ryan Newman
- Kasey Kahne
- Kurt Busch
2015 Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 (Fall)
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Kevin Harvick
- Joey Logano
- Kyle Busch
- Jimmie Johnson
The best strategy for the Good Sam 500(k) is to select the top drivers who qualify poorly on Friday. Track position is not very important since drivers can take a shortcut through the infield and pass many cars in one lap. The scoring system for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing rewards drivers who improve their position in the race more than the drivers who lead the most laps and finish up front. Fantasy teams will need to earn as many bonus points as possible to finish at the top of their league standings.
Pick to Win
No driver has dominated a track the way Kevin Harvick ($13,900) has at Phoenix. The No. 4 car has won five of the seven races since the track was repaved. Last November Harvick had the car to beat but finished in second place. His price tag in Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing will make it difficult to select him this week, but Harvick is your driver if you want a guaranteed top-five finish in the Good Sam 500(k).
Jimmie Johnson ($13,000) has been the best driver in 2016 and he has had a lot of success at Phoenix. Johnson has won four races at the track but has not been to Victory Lane since the track has been reconfigured. Johnson won the pole and finished fifth in the November race so it seems as though the No. 48 team has the new track figured out.
Team Penske looked great at Las Vegas and they should run well this week. Joey Logano ($12,300) has the second-best driver rating and second-best average finishing position in the last four races at the track. Brad Keselowski ($12,200) had the third-best driver ranking and the fourth-best average finishing position in that time period. Both drivers would be excellent picks for your fantasy team at Phoenix.
Kyle Busch ($12,700) has never run as well as he is now. Busch has finished the last seven races in the top five. He missed the spring race at Phoenix last year, but finished fourth in the fall race. The No. 18 team should lead the Joe Gibbs Racing cars in Phoenix this week.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($11,600) is the defending race winner and should run up front Sunday. Earnhardt has finished five of the last six races at Phoenix in the top eight. He probably will not lead many laps, but Earnhardt will find his way to the top 10 at the end of the race.
Paul Menard ($9,300) always runs well early in the season and Phoenix has been a good track for him. Last year the No. 27 car finished both races in the top 14. Menard should easily finish in the top 15 Sunday.
Austin Dillon ($9,000) is starting to show he can compete with the top drivers in the sport. He finished 11th at Atlanta and fifth at Las Vegas. His stats at Phoenix are not great, but Dillon is your driver if you feel like playing the hot hand this week.
Ryan Blaney ($5,000) does not have much experience at Phoenix, but his car is too fast and he has too much talent to pass up at the minimum price this week. Blaney competed in one Xfinity Series race and three Camping World Truck Series races at the track. He should quickly figure out how to make fast laps in his Sprint Cup Series car this week.
Chase Elliott ($5,000) has run well in all three races this season but he does not have the results to show for it. Elliott is another driver well worth his price this week. Whenever fantasy teams can select a top-10 driver for the minimum price, they have to take it.
Here are my picks for the Good Sam 500 for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $13,900
Driver 2: Jimmie Johnson $13,000
Driver 3: Kyle Busch $12,700
Driver 4: Chase Elliott $5,000
Driver 5: Ryan Blaney $5,000
FOX Fantasy Auto Resources
And don't forget - prizes are on the line each race of the fantasy season! First, second and third place each win a prize. Plus, each race builds your point total for larger segment and season prizes.