2018 ISM Raceway, TicketGuardian 500

Kevin Harvick wins back to back races in dominating fashion once again the weekend at Las Vegas. Harvick is racking up playoff points with those two wins and three stage wins in the last two races. He led 214 laps of the 267 in the race on Sunday and won by over three seconds. However, it does look like some teams are making strides and getting closer to being as fast as Kevin.


This week the series stays out west as the drivers head to ISM Raceway, formerly known as Phoenix International Raceway, which is a one-mile fairly flat tri-oval raceway which has been dominated by Harvick in the recent past. Can he win three in a row, or will someone else step up this weekend and dethrone him? Let’s get to our analysis for the week.

Kevin Harvick: I think you have to stick with the man who is hot at a track he has dominated the last six seasons. In the last twelve races there, Kevin has won six times, finished second twice, finished in the top five ten times and has a worst finish of thirteenth. It is way to early in the season to think this team is going to do anything other than try to win more races and rack up as many playoff points as they can. They have everyone else at a disadvantage right now and need to capitalize on that.

Kyle Busch: Kyle is one of the drivers whose team has gotten closer to catching up to Kevin early in the season. Kyle finished second at Las Vegas last week and his car got faster and faster as the race went on, so they were making the right adjustments. He has finished in the top five in four of his last five starts at ISM and has one win at this track way back in the 2005 season.

Denny Hamlin: Denny also has one win at this track and this is the type of track where he is at his best most of the time. They struggled a little bit last week, but this week is a whole new ballgame. Denny has finished in the top ten in four of his last five starts here and will come into the weekend with a lot of confidence. I look for him to finish in the top ten once again this week.

Chase Elliott: Chase had some bad luck last week being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He will forget all about that as he heads to Phoenix this week where he has only run four races, but has three top ten finishes. He led a bunch of laps in his last two starts here and finished second here last fall. We all know that he is going to win sooner rather than later and this might be his weekend if everything falls into place.

Kyle Larson: Kyle is another of the drivers whose team stepped it up last week. Now he heads to a track where he has finished in the top three in two of his last three starts. I think this team has the monkey off their back that seemed to hang there late last season and they are going to start running consistently better. I look for Kyle to have himself in position to have a shot at visiting victory lane late in this week’s race.

Kurt Busch: Kurt runs consistently well at Phoenix having come away with six top ten finishes in his last nine starts there. He got his lone win back in 2005 and is looking to get back to victory lane himself. This team had a good run going last week until he got loose on a restart and collected Chase Elliott ruining both of their days. After races like that all drivers are just chomping at the bit to get back on the track and compete again.

Erik Jones: Erik had a great run last week and is coming to a track where he has run very well in only three career starts. Of those three starts, Erik has finished in the top ten in the last two races. I think he has a bright future and will win a race very soon himself in this series. This is his first year with Joe Gibbs Racing and I see nothing but improvement in the near future.

Alex Bowman: Another new comer as a full-time driver in the Cup series, Alex ran one race here last season and all he did was lead 194 laps and finish sixth. He got down a lap early last week, but stayed only that one lap down the rest of the race and was close to getting a free pass a few times. How good and how consistent can this team be this early in the season is still debatable. We will have to keep a close eye on him and see how quickly he improves.

Joey Logano: Joey won the fall race here in 2016. So far this season he looks close to the driver we saw during that 2016 season and he was very good on the short tracks that year. He has six top ten finishes in his last ten races here and led laps in every one of them. This was a track where he qualified in the top five in six of those last nine races, but they couldn’t keep up with the changing track conditions as the race progressed and fell back a little bit. He is still someone to have on your team this weekend.

Brad Keselowski: Another driver who is very consistent at this track coming away with nine top ten finishes in his last twelve starts here. He is still looking for his first win here and loves to race on the short flat track. We have seen how fast the Ford’s are on the intermediate tracks this year, now we will find out if they have the handling they need on the short tracks and I think the answer is yes they do.

I am going to be saving drivers in the B group this week because I think there is a good chance some of those I put on my roster will have good runs on this short track and I can save the best drivers for other weeks, so don’t get upset with my lineup.


Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kyle Busch

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Clint Bowyer
  • Ryan Newman
  • Daniel Suarez
  • Jamie McMurray

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Alex Bowman
  • Chris Buescher


  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Kyle Larson

Dark Horse: Clint Bowyer

Stay Away From: Kasey Kahne

Big 18: Kevin Harvick

31 thoughts on “2018 ISM Raceway, TicketGuardian 500

  1. I don’t understand your last paragraph. Sounds like you are saving because they will have good runs. Can you clarify? Thanks.

    1. I am saving the likes of Elliott, Busch, and Blaney who have run well here in the past because I think there are others who will run well here. Then I can save some starts for the others for later in the season.

    1. I’m not so sure about the Roush teams yet. I would have thought he would have run better on the intermediate tracks than he has so far this year. Not so sure about him on the flat track either.

  2. I’m picking 17th in my league this week. Who should I hope to get between suarez, almirola, Menard, bowyer or bowman?

  3. Good evening Jeff. I enjoy your articles. Very informative. I’m like you. I lost last year because I went through Chase and Larson like toothpaste. This year we seem to have some really good options. And when I say most I mean cars that are 10-15 Ceiling. Hopefully when Chevy gets there crap together we can get those top 5s Elliot as getting. With all that said. I still feel more comfortable fostering the cream for now. 4(8),18(9)..B 24(8),20(9),41(8)..C88(8), 24(9)…As you can see I don’t have my 4th be driver. This is where I might wanna save an allocation. The 21,14 10 seem like maybe mid teens. 1 Car hasn’t had the best finishes. But seems right around mid teens maybe some up side?. Sorry for the long paragraph. Big money this year. Could use some help

  4. How does Harvick’s loss of his car chief change your view of his chances, if at all? Still picking him to win? Still picking him for your Big 18?

    1. Yes, I don’t see this as a big deal on this team because they have everything recorded about the setups from previous years, so I think they will still have the same setup that they always had and then the crew chief can still make his adjustments the way he did in the past too.

  5. I’m having trouble, I submitted my lineup the same as you. Know I only show 3 Drivers in my B group. (no McMurray) I could liv with this . But the bigger problem is it will not let me switch my bench drivers with my starters . When I hit the new set lineup button it tells me You need to select drivers for all slots in order to submit your selections! refreshing the page doesn’t work either . Not sure how to switch drivers

    1. Did you try to drag the driver over by the three horizontal lines next to their name? I think he has it where it works like the other game used to. Try dragging them over and then don’t forget to Save the lineup now. Let me know if that fixes one of your issues for you. I will let Darren know about the bug.

  6. helllo sir , thank you for your time , i really appreciate your time and your articles and expertise, do you think any driver starting in the pole from 20 and worse has a chance to finish in the top ten , may you please give me three. have a wonderful morning sir !

  7. Yes , it allows me to drag the driver into the correct spot but when I hit the save the driver button. It says You need to select drivers for all slots in order to submit your selections! if I try the refresh button it just puts the drivers back in their original slots. I think it has to do with only having 3 drivers in my B group which I’m not sure why that is either . I checked my lineup before deadline and I was showing 4 selections . Also Thank you for helping me win our league championship last year

    1. I sent an email to Darren explaining your situation. I can’t guarantee he will see it or be able to do anything about it before tomorrow, but I am trying. We knew there would be bugs, but we are certainly sorry for having one that can possibly change your fantasy season. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we try to get the game to work the way you and all players including ourselves would expect it to.

  8. Who would you go with

    Harvick (8), Kyle Bush (9)
    Clint bowyer (9), jamie mcmurrasy (9), ryan Newman (9), Daniel Suarez (9)
    Already know goijng with Alex bowman in c group.

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