Rouff Mortgage 400 at Phoenix Raceway
Three races down, 33 to go! Stop #4 on the NASCAR tour is the Rouff Mortgage 500 at the 1.022-mile track of Phoenix Raceway. This unique configuration is a tri-oval with a low degree of banking and shorter length than the past 3 races will offer us a chance to look at some different names to give you an edge this week. A two-day test session for the Next Gen car was run at this track in late January. You can see the speed chart from that session here. A 35-minute practice session is scheduled for Saturday, with qualifying immediately after.
I'll be looking at past performances, along with loop data and the January testing results to look for drivers with an edge this week. With that in mind, here is who I like, with some information to back it up.
|Kevin Harvick has been no stranger to passing cars in this Next Gen race car. He has a positive Start-to-Finish ratio in the last 2 races. At Phoenix, only one driver has scored more points than Harvick over the past 4 races. Harvick also has an average start of 10.0 and a finish of 5.8. He was also 9th quick in the preseason test session here. The only downside to Harvick is his leading just 1 lap at Phonenix in his 2021 races. Look for Harvick to be a solid DFS value.|
|Chase Elliott is set for a big bounce-back week. Elliott has a win, 3 top 5's, and 4 top 10's over the past four events at Phoenix. Chase has also led the most laps in those four events totaling 348 laps, boosting his DFS line. Elliott was also the fastest on the first day of pre-season testing at this track just 6 weeks ago. Looking to erase a slow start to 2022, this could be the weekend it all comes together for Elliott.|
Dark Horse Differentiators:
Tyler Reddick has shown a great feel for this Next Gen car three races into the season. He also showed some speed in the preseason test at this track, posting the second-fastest lap time of day 1. Ross Chastain is a good momentum play this week after a strong top 5 run last race. Although Chastain did not participate in the preseason Next Gen test, he has shown improvement on tracks like Phoenix during the second half of 2021. If it's a "flat track," bank on Aric Almirola to be in the top 10 all day long. With a win at a similarly flat New Hampshire track last season, and 2 top 10's in the last four events at Phoenix, Almirola will be a solid value this week.
|Race Winner||Chase Elliott|
|Best Bets||Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr.|
|Dark Horse Picks||Ross Chastain, Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola|
|Drivers I'm Fading||Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Daniel Suarez|
Driver Group Game:
Since practice will happen before rosters partially lock, and some leagues offer qualifying bonus points, you have to have your line-ups set before Saturday 3/12 at 8 am EST. AJ Allmendinger is in the 16 car this week in the Cup series, so I'll have him on my C list. Here's who I have for the week:
We'll break down practice and qualifying as well as starts/sits and DFS lineups on race day!
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