DraftKings NASCAR:  FanShield 500
DraftKings NASCAR: FanShield 500

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

FanShield 500

Location: Avondale, Ariz.

Course: Phoenix Raceway

Format: 1.0-mile oval

Laps: 312

Race Preview

Alex Bowman walked away from Auto Club Speedway with a dominating performance in the final segment that earned him his second career NASCAR Cup series victory. The win is the first of the season for Chevrolet and means a different manufacturer has visited Victory Lane every race so far this season. Ryan Blaney again was too unlucky to capitalize on a fast car capable of winning. This time he was forced to pit as his tires gave way over the last several miles of the race as Bowman cruised away in the distance. Blaney has not been lacking speed at any circuit yet this season and seems destined to win one or many races once the dam is broken. The big story for fantasy owners looking forward to Phoenix is probably the lack of power from Toyota so far. The Joe Gibbs Racing teammates again were put in the shade by Ford and Chevrolet despite Kyle Busch's second-place finish. All three Gibbs cars made it into the top 10 last week but not a single one led any laps. Busch was the highest-starting Toyota driver, too. His qualifying position of 17th left much to be desired, however. The teammates complained about a lack of power from their cars following the race.

Key Stats at Phoenix Raceway

  • Number of previous races: 47
  • Winners from pole: 4
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 17
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 25
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 4
  • Fastest race: 118.132 mph

Previous 10 Phoenix Winners

2019 fall - Denny Hamlin

2019 spring - Kyle Busch

2018 fall - Kyle Busch

2018 spring - Kevin Harvick

2017 fall - Matt Kenseth

2017 spring - Ryan Newman

2016 fall - Joey Logano

2016 spring - Kevin Harvick

2015 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.

2015 spring - Kevin Harvick

This week's visit to Phoenix Raceway may hold a bit more importance than the same race a year ago had. Phoenix is the new home of the championship finale and teams will want to bolster their notebooks in preparation for the return trip later this fall. The flat 1.0-mile oval has a tendency to race more like a road course than a typical oval of its size. Each turn is different, and mastering the setup looks to be a trade off between different sections of the track. Track position will be more critical than it was last week since Phoenix doesn't have nearly the same amount of passing room as Fontana. That won't stop drivers from going four-deep into a corner on restarts as they try to make passes, however. Kyle Busch won this race last season as he saved fuel. Martin Truex Jr. was pressing hard to chase him down but didn't get the job done. Busch has won two of the last three Phoenix races, and teammate Denny Hamlin won the third. Prior to the Gibbs domination, Phoenix was the bastion of Kevin Harvick, though. The Stewart-Haas Racing driver who has looked racey so far this season has nine career wins at the track, including an impressive tally of six wins from eight races between 2012 and 2016.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kyle Busch - $12,000

Kevin Harvick - $11,300

Joey Logano - $10,700

Denny Hamlin - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Ryan Blaney - $9,900

Chase Elliott - $9,600

Alex Bowman - $9,300

Jimmie Johnson - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Eric Jones - $8,500

Clint Bowyer - $7,900

Aric Almirola - $7,700

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,200

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Chris Buescher - $6,700

Christopher Bell - $6,500

Ty Dillon - $6,200

Darrell Wallace Jr. - $6,000

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,300

Denny Hamlin - $10,200

William Byron - $8,300

Aric Almirola - $7,700

Chris Buescher - $6,700

Daniel Suarez - $5,700

Kevin Harvick has dominated at Phoenix throughout his career. His last win there came in 2018, and he hasn't finished outside of the top 10 here since 2013. He starts on the front row Sunday, too. Denny Hamlin and his Toyota teammates appear to have a bit more speed this week, and Hamlin starts inside the top five. He is the most recent winner at this track and has three top-fives from the last four Phoenix starts. William Byron topped opening practice on Friday and scored his first top-10 finish at the track in this race last season. He also led 15 laps in this race in 2018. Harvick's teammate Aric Almirola was third fastest in the second practice and has really picked up his Phoenix results recently. Last fall's visit to the track was his first finish outside of the top 10 here since the spring of 2017. Chris Buescher currently sits 11th in points. He may not yet have a top-10 at Phoenix, but he has been a reliable top-15 open each week so far this season. Daniel Suarez is facing his toughest start to the season yet but has an opportunity to grab a result to build upon this week. He does not have the fastest machinery, but with the right calls on pit road he should have a bit more fight for the competition. He has two top-10 finishes from six starts there and an average finish of 17.8 in that span.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $12,000

Ryan Blaney - $9,900

Jimmie Johnson - $9,000

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,200

Darrell Wallace Jr. - $6,000

John Hunter Nemechek - $5,800

While Harvick has been the dominant driver at Phoenix, Kyle Busch is making a name for himself at the venue, too. He has finished first or second in all of the last four races at the circuit and ended Friday's practice sessions as second fastest. Ryan Blaney still just needs a bit more luck to be a winner this season, and fantasy owners could argue he should have three wins already. He had the sixth-fastest 10-lap average from Friday's second practice and is due a race win shortly. Jimmie Johnson continued his strong start to the season last week in California with a seventh-place finish and sits sixth in points. He has four career wins at this track and was eighth in this race last season. Brave calls from pit road have put Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in contention for the lead multiple times this season. Look for more of those this week at a track where position in the pack can often count more than raw speed. He was sixth-fastest in second practice, which means he should also have the speed to stay up front when he gets there, too. Bubba Wallace is impressively 17th in points after a good first two races of the season. That trend didn't continue at Fontana, though. He finished 10th in the fall Phoenix race in 2018 and is looking to consolidate his position in the points with another good outing this week. John Hunter Nemechek again offers good value for price this week. He is 24th in points and has the potential to surprise almost every week. He has three Xfinity series races at this track for experience with a worst finish of ninth (twice).

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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