2018 ISM Raceway, Can-Am 500

Congratulations to Kevin Harvick who won his eighth race of the season and snared a spot in the championship race coming up in two weeks. Right now the pressure is off both him and Joey Logano while the other six drivers in the playoffs are all going to be fighting for those final two spots. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. hold those spots right now, but if one of the other four drivers can win next week at Phoenix one of them will be knocked out. Even an early wreck or mechanical problem will shake up the final four.

CAN-AM 500

As I already mentioned, this week the drivers head to the ISM Raceway in Phoenix, AZ for the running of the Can-Am 500. This is a one-mile fairly flat tri-oval race track. This should be a very interesting race where stage points are going to be huge for the playoff drivers not locked into the championship race and some need to win to move on because they won’t be able to make up enough points to get in that way. That means you might see a few more bumpers getting put to the cars in front of drivers who are desperate to get that win this week.

Kevin Harvick: It’s hard to pick against Kevin at Phoenix as he has finished in the top six in twelve of his last thirteen starts at this track and that includes seven wins. He won here this spring and would love to keep the momentum on his side going to Homestead. However, would he allow one of his teammates to win at the end of the race to ensure they are in the championship race with him and that would also knock out one of the other Big 3?

Kyle Busch: Kyle sits third in the standings with a twenty-eight point cushion over the fifth place driver, but he is only three points ahead of Martin Truex Jr. If one of the other four drivers can win this race he needs to stay ahead of Martin to secure a spot in the championship race. I think he should be able to do that as he has finished in the top five in five of his last six starts here including a runner-up finish this spring.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is still looking for his first win here in his career and would love to get it this weekend and not have to worry about points racing. He finished third in this race last year and fifth in the spring race this year. He has looked good on the flat tracks this season and should make the championship race as long as one of the other four playoff drivers doesn’t win this weekend.

Chase Elliott: Chase is thrity-nine points out of the top four and almost certainly needs to win this week if he wants to make the championship race. The good news is he has looked good on the flatter tracks this season and finished second in this race last year. He also finished third in the spring race this year and could pull off a small upset this weekend.

Kurt Busch: Kurt is twenty-five points out of the top four in the standings and he almost needs to win this week also. The bad news is that he hasn’t won here since the spring race way back in the 2005 season. He does have six top ten finishes in his last eight starts here though and that should give him a little confidence going into the weekend. I know he won’t be afraid to move people out of his way to try to get to the front of the field this weekend.

Clint Bowyer: Clint absolutely needs to win this week if he wants to make the championship. That is going to be a tall task for a driver who only has one top ten finish in his last ten starts at Phoenix. Clint does run very well on most other flat tracks though, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that he can go to victory lane this weekend. He needs to have a flawless weekend to do that though.

Aric Almirola: Aric is fifty-seven points out of the top four and will most likely need to win this weekend if he is to go for a championship this year. He doesn’t qualify well here and with the track being so short and hard to pass on that can be a problem. He has finished in the top ten in his last two races here though. I just don’t see him winning the race this weekend.

Denny Hamlin: Denny hasn’t had the season he was hoping for and every week I think he might do something I get disappointed. He has five top ten finishes in his last six races and ran well at Martinsville a few weeks ago. This track is twice that length, but the banking is somewhat similar. Most people will have Harvick on their roster this week and Denny might be someone to take a flyer on if you need to make up some ground in your league.

Eric Jones: Eric had a great run at Texas coming away with a fourth place finish. He has finished in the top ten in his last three Phoenix races and has only run here four times. I think he is worth having on your roster this week and if he qualifies and practices well you can start him once again.

Joey Logano: Joey won this race two years ago and always seems to qualify well here. The problem for him here lately has been that they don’t seem to make the correct adjustments to the car as the race progresses. If the temperatures are warm there will be a lot of adjustments needed to keep up with the changing track conditions and I’m not sure if they will make the right calls.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR ISM RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kyle Busch

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Chase Elliott
  • Eric Jones
  • Kurt Busch
  • Aric Almirola

Driver Group Game Group C

  • William Byron
  • Chris Buescher

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT ISM RACEWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Eric Jones
  5. Kurt Busch

Dark Horse: Eric Jones

Stay Away From: Jimmie Johnson

Big 18: Kevin Harvick

81 thoughts on “2018 ISM Raceway, Can-Am 500

    1. There really is no time for saving drivers anymore. I don’t know who else you have left to start at Homestead, so I can’t really tell you my strategy.

  1. There really is no time for saving drivers anymore. I don’t know who else you have left to start at Homestead, so I can’t really tell you my strategy.

  2. Jeff, Point deductions hurt me last week. Pick 2 drivers between Elliott,Blaney,Jones,Larson or Hamlin. Also, Pick one between Johnson, Bowman,Newman,Menard or Stenhouse. Thanks, your picks had me on top before the penalties came out.

  3. Jeff, Hamlin, Jones, Larson? Pick 2! I have it set up with the 11 & 20 right now…. Wondering of I should make a swap for the 42?

  4. Playing in a league that is one pick per race and scoring is based on finishing position solely (1st place=1 pt, 40th place=40 pts). I have Chase and KY Busch left. What’s ypur thinking on which way to use these two between @ ISM this weekend and @ Homestead-Miami next weekend? What you do is greatly appreciated and admired, keep the skinny pedal in the metal!

  5. I’m leading my league but by only a very slim margin. I can pick any 4 drivers in my league. I went with 4, 9, 18, 41 Do you think that the 78 would be a better choice or someone else?? I really need to have all 4 finishers in the top 5 today. Our scoring includes segment points. Thanks for any help!!

  6. Jeff, I play in a league, one from 1st 10, one from 11-20 and one from 21 on. Any thoughts on the bottom tier? I’m thinking 32 just because.
    Thanks

  7. Going back and forth, on DGG “B”wether to play Bowler, 1 play left, or use Newman(6) or Suarez(7), … Chase, #9 (2) for this week and next.

    No plays left with 10, 12, 20, 41.

    Bowyer doesn’t look much better than the 31 this week, your recommendations?

    1. Bowyer needs to win, so he is going to push the issue and that might be a bad thing for him. I like Suarez over Newman otherwise.

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