What a snoozer that race was. At the end there were only three cars withing 10 seconds of the leader. After we saw the new aero package in the last couple of races we get back to racing like we remember and I can’t wait. This week’s race, as all races on tracks 1-mile or shorter, will be run with last years race package. That means we should be able to look at past stats and have a better idea of who to put on our rosters this week.
The series will remain out west for the next two races and this week the drivers head for ISM Raceway
outside of Phoenix, AZ. This 1-mile low banked tri-oval raceway is one of the only races where the name has kilometers in it instead of miles. So, the TicketGuardian 500 is a 500 kilometer race which is 312 laps.
I have to go with Kevin to win this week. In his last eleven starts here he has six wins and hasn’t finished worse than sixth in any of those races. With more than half of this year’s races being run with the new aero package, the driver are going to want to make hay while the sun shines on the tracks where they are running the old package and they are consistent. Playoff points and stage points are huge in these races.
Not to be outdone by too much by Harvick, Kyle hasn’t been too bad here either. In his last seven starts he has six top five finishes and his worst finish is seventh in that stretch. That also includes a second place finish in this race last year which he followed up by winning the fall race here.
Denny has run better here lately and already has the win at Daytona to qualify him for the playoffs. Now he wants to win some stages and more races to add to his playoff point totals. He has five top ten finishes in his last seven starts here and dominated the fall race here in 2017 until he was involved in a crash late in that race.
Chase Elliott: Chase has led laps here in three of his last four starts, qualified in the top ten in his last five starts, and finished in the top ten in four of his six career starts at this track. He looks like he really knows how to run on the short tracks. This could be a good place to start a Hendrick car as it is more about handling than speed at this track.
Martin Truex Jr.
Martin is still looking for his first short track win in this series. He has come so close so many times and has had some dominant cars only to have trouble late in the races. I predict that he will win on a short track this season, but I don’t think it will be this week.
Brad has been off again on again at ISM. He did lead laps in both of the races here last season and finished second in the fall race. We might want to save him for the tracks with the new aero package as he already has a win and a runner up finish in the two races already run. He is also more consistent at some of the other short tracks on the circuit.
Kyle Larson: Kyle has really picked up his game at this track recently. He has three top three finishes in his last five starts here even though he is still looking for his first win at Phoenix. In his ten career races here he has started in the top ten nine times with his poorest starting position being twelfth. I look for him to have another good week.
Aric is on a streak of three straight top ten finishes here. Those are his only three top ten finishes in sixteen starts at this track. I think now that he is driving for Stewart-Haas Racing he will only get better here. The only thing that bothers me about him is that he has never led a single lap at this track.
Eric Jones: Another up and coming driver, Eric has only run three races here, but he has three top ten finishes in those races. He has never started worse than eleventh and he did lead some laps here last fall. I think he really likes this track and will keep improving here as he figures it out a bit more every time he visits.
Daniel Suarez: Daniel has only run four races here and has come away with two top ten finishes. Both of those have come in the spring race. This is the spring race. Now he is with a new team and I think that is going to help him out a bit here. Having someone like Kevin Harvick as a teammate at this track gives you an inside edge to figuring out this track.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR ISM RACEWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
Driver Group Game Group B
- Daniel Suarez
- Denny Hamlin
- Eric Jones
- Aric Almirola
Driver Group Game Group C
- Michael McDowell
- Matt Dibenedetto
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT ISM RACEWAY
- Kevin Harvick
- Kyle Busch
- Kyle Larson
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex Jr.
Dark Horse: Ryan Newman
Stay Away From: Ryan Blaney
Big 18: Kevin Harvick