Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet | 2017 Phoenix International Raceway, Can-Am 500
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2017 Phoenix International Raceway, Can-Am 500

Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. have both qualified for the championship race at Homestead-Miami in two weeks due to the face of Kevin winning the race at Texas and Martin having enough points that no one will be able to overtake him in next week’s race at Phoenix. That leaves one spot open for the remaining five drivers to fight for. Jimmie Johnson and Chase Elliott need to win the race to move on and I think we are going to see a lot of aggressive driving coming up in this week’s race.

CAN-AM 500

The last race before the championship race will be held at the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, AZ. This is a one-mile fairly flat track. This will be a 500 km race, or about 312 miles. Can one of the five remaining drivers win this race and knock out the other hopefuls, or will we have a couple of drivers make the championship race on points?

Kevin Harvick: Kevin has eight wins at this track to lead all drivers here. He has also won six of the last ten races run here after the track was reconfigured and he will want to do everything he can to keep the likes of Jimmie Johnson out of the championship race. I think Kevin will get back to his winning ways here this weekend and give himself a lot of momentum as he heads to Homestead in search of his second championship.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie is second among all active drivers with four wins at this track. He needs to win this weekend if he wants to have a shot at winning his eighth championship. This team hasn’t been on the top of their game this season during the playoffs and it is going to be hard for them to come away with the win this weekend. Jimmie hasn’t run as consistent here as he did before the track was reconfigured and I don’t think he is going to make the championship race.

Kurt Busch: Kurt is usually very good at Phoenix and he has run well lately on all types of tracks. I think this is one of his favorite tracks on the circuit and I think he is going to have another strong run this weekend. A win here will go a long way towards getting him resigned with Stewart-Haas Racing. I see him coming away with a top five finish this weekend.

Denny Hamlin: Denny had a shot to win at Martinsville a couple of weeks ago and this track is similar in its layout. Denny will try to do everything in his power to get the win here so he doesn’t have to worry about racing his way into the championship on points. Any of the other four drivers win this race and Denny is out no matter how many points he has racked up. A second place finish here might not be enough to get him into the championship race.

Kyle Busch: Kyle is already locked into the championship race, but like the rest of those already in, Kyle is going to do everything he can to keep the likes of Jimmie Johnson out of the championship race. I think this is going to be one of the best championship races since the new playoff format started. Kyle has one win and sixteen top ten finishes in his twenty-four starts at this track.

Chase Elliott: Chase came oh so close once again at Martinsville a few weeks ago and a win here would get him into the championship race. That is a lot of pressure to put on a rookie who is still looking to win his first race in the series, but I think he can do it. He should have a lot of confidence heading into the weekend because of how well he ran at Martinsville and he just might pull off the upset here.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale has three wins at Phoenix in his career. He has run better lately other than having a mechanical issue at Texas last weekend. I look for him to run well here once again this weekend and maybe get himself in position to win one more race before he retires at the end of the season. I know there are going to be a lot of fans pulling for him in these next two weeks.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has three straight DNF’s. I think that comes to an end this weekend and he comes away with a top ten finish at Phoenix. This is the type of track where he will be at his best and he can relax a little bit. This team is looking to get a little momentum going into the off season so they can come back with a good attitude and a lot of confidence next year.

Brad Keselowski: Brad is going to do everything he can to pick up a win this weekend and propel himself into the championship race. This team has struggled a little bit lately with something always seeming to happen to them early in a race and then they have to spend the majority of the race trying to get back in contention. I think they will run well this weekend and have themselves in a position to battle for the win late in the race.

Ryan Newman: Ryan won the race here this spring which got him into the playoffs. He has two wins and ten top five finishes in thirty career starts at this track. They haven’t really run well lately, but he is someone you might want to take a chance on this week if you are looking to make up some ground in your league.

YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kyle Busch

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Kurt Busch
  • Kyle Larson
  • Chase Elliott
  • Ryan Newman

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Daniel Suarez
  • Michael McDowell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Jimmie Johnson

Dark Horse: Chase Elliott

Stay Away From: Trevor Bayne

Big 18: Kevin Harvick

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  • Trick Pickle

    Ok, whats the skinny on a break down of the c listers.

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      You have Jones and Suarez who are both running well this season. After that you are pretty much guessing as to who is going to run well each week. Dillon, McDowell, Cassill, and Ragan.

      Reply
  • STEVE

    got kyle, jimmie and chase left and can use one for each race. Who would you start in each

    Reply
    • DMV Racing

      Keep 48 on the bench!

      Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I would use Kyle this week and Chase at Homestead.

      Reply
  • Kenneth

    I’m out of B list starts for 41, 24, & 14. One left each for 42, 21, & 1. I plan on using 42 and 21 at Homestead. Who would you pair with 31 this week? Is 1 a safe option? Maybe 5?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I like the 1 and the 88 this week.

      Reply
    • James

      42 & 1 haven’t done anything since they got eliminated. I would use the 21 this week because you’re going to get his best effort. His give a $hit level probably will not be the same next week if he is out of the playoffs. 42 hasn’t been higher then 37 the last 3 weeks. 1 hasn’t had a good flat track setup all year and hasn’t been in the top 15 at Phx or NH this year. 1 finished 29th at Martinsville. If you don’t have any other options then the 1 but his body of work on flat tracks THIS year is not great.

      Reply
    • Marlar

      Kenneth,
      This is just my opinion, but I would use 21 for Phoenix with the 31, and pair up the 1 with the 42 for Homestead. The 21 wasn’t great this spring, 23rd, at Phoenix, but finished 6th and 8th last year, and he’s got momentum.
      The 1 has better avg at Homestead than Phoenix in the past 3 races.

      Reply
      • Kenneth

        ThAnks for the input. Sounds good. I really hate that Larson has thrown in the towel…

        Reply
  • Marlar

    I’m curious, what your plan is for the B group for the last races.
    I have 1 left for each, 24, 42, & 41, and +2 for the 31.
    None left for 1, 14, 21.

    Was planning on the 41 for Phoenix, 42 for Homestead, definitely. Originally was going with the 31 for Phoenix, and saving the 24 for Homestead. I see 24 ranked in the top 5 for Phoenix, and could choose the 41/24 for Phoenix. Guessing it’s a wait and see for practice/qualifying?

    Which will probably give the best combination of points?
    31/Phoenix, 24/Homestead or 24/Phoenix, 31,6,3/Homestead?

    Reply
  • Marlar

    Now I kinda see it might be best to go ahead with B group 41,24 for Phoenix, 42 and/ 3,5,6 or31 for Homestead, with definitely 42, and three of the four…. 3,5,6,31 as other options. If 31, practices/qualifies well, then use at Phoenix.

    Reply
    • James

      Based on what you have I would do 41, 31 for Phx and 24, 42 for Homestead. Here’s why. 41 is great at Phx and the 31 won the race earlier this year so he has a setup and has an 11.9 average finish on flat tracks this year. I know you’re thinking the 42 is an ace in the hole but he hasn’t been higher than 37th in the last 3 races. The 24 seems to give max effort no matter what, searching for that first win. (granted that could come this week) I like him better as the ace in the hole next week and see if the 42 can get a decent finish this week before starting him next week. ( I know it would seem like a waste but if you’re racing for a championship on Yahoo do you want a guy in there that hasn’t been above 37th in the last month) Just my 2 cents. YMMV

      Reply
    • James

      And…. the 42 and 24 top 3’d at Las Vegas this year the ….. sister track to Homestead. 31 finished 17th. 5&6 were 12th & 13th.

      Reply
      • Jeff Gutowski

        Looks like the two of you have a plan.

        Reply
  • Marlar

    Jeff,
    What’s your plan is for the B group the last 2 races. Do you have more than 1 left for the 41, 42, and 24?

    Reply
    • Marlar

      I understand if you would rather not show your hand to your competitors in your YFR league.

      Reply
      • Jeff Gutowski

        I have the 41 and 42 this weekend. I will run the 21 and 24 next weekend.

        Reply
  • Pistol Pete

    Does the 22 have a chance to run up front this weekend?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      Ever since he got penalized at Richmond earlier this year, the 22 team has not run well anywhere, especially on the flatter tracks. So, I say no to him running well.

      Reply
  • Doug

    Do you think it would be best to use the 21 and 24 at Phoenix while they are still in contention or at Honestead when they maybe eliminated?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I think they will both run better on the mile and a half track at Homestead myself.

      Reply
  • JIM

    Planning on starting Truex, Blaney,Elliot, and Jones. Have Harvick and Larson on the bench, unsure about Larson tho, ever since he got eliminated he’s been junk and high risk. Your thoughts on my lineup and bench would be helpful.

    Reply
    • DMV Racing

      Use 4 over 78 at pho. Save 42 for Miami.

      Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I would definitely start the 4 here and save the 78 for Homestead. I like the 42 here instead of Homestead and run the 21 there.

      Reply
  • DMV Racing

    Jeff,

    What are your thoughts on the 2 after practice and qual today?

    Darren

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      Who else do you have? I like Harvick, Hamlin, and Kyle Busch better.

      Reply
      • DMV Racing

        Thanks Jeff! The 2 does look pretty disappointing…have 18…think I’ll go with 18 over 2. Thanks again!!

        Reply
  • Duane Robert Jones

    HAMLIN OR HARVICK.? Or wait until tomorrowa practice

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I think Harvick is the best bet here because of how well he has done here in the past five years.

      Reply
  • Justin

    I’m going to leave Harvick on the bench. I’m going with Hamlin Elliot Newman and McDowell this week.

    Reply
  • Paul

    Hi Jeff,

    Who would you start this week?

    Thank you,
    Paul K.

    Harvick (6 starts left)
    Kyle Busch (3)

    Kurt Busch (3)
    Larson (1)
    Elliott (1)
    Newman (5)

    Suarez (1)
    McDowell (3)

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      Toss up between Harvick and Busch, leaning towards Harvick. Kurt Busch and Newman this week along with Suarez.

      Reply
  • billy

    Hello!
    I have 1 start left for 42, 88 , 5 , 31 also dillon has two starts left.
    Who would you take for this and homestead?
    I was thinking 88 here and 42 homestead.

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      88 or 31 here and then the 42 next week.

      Reply
    • DMV Racing

      IMO 5 looks better than 88. 88 loves to DNF.

      Reply
      • Jeff Gutowski

        The 88 has been running better lately and the 5 hasn’t finished well in most of his races this year either.

        Reply
  • Kenneth S

    77 or 19? one start left each. Tossup this week, so who do you think will run better at Miami?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I like Suarez this week and Jones next week.

      Reply
  • LaRay

    hello, I have the 48 or 77. who should I use this week and save Homestead? alo have 31 & 88

    Reply
  • kzrudd

    thank you thank you thank you helped me 3 years i finished first second and i will finish first again this year thanks to your help over 400 p0int lead with a race to go

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      You are welcome! I’m glad I could be of help.

      Reply

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