NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kevin Harvick -5
All with 4 - Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Kyle Busch
Both with 3 - Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr.

By Track
Kevin Harvick - 10
Kyle Busch - 9
Both with 6 - Kurt Busch and Kyle Larson
All with 5 - Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Martin Truex Jr.

Recent Pole Winners: 
2019 Ryan Blaney
2018 Martin Truex Jr.

Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Busch

The Likely Suspects: Kevin Harvick is the leader of the pack here at Phoenix. My other Phoenix go-tos are Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Kurt Busch, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Aric Almirola and  Jimmie Johnson.  

My 2 Cents: A few years back I had the chance to cover race weekend at Phoenix Raceway for Skirts and Scuffs. My no-brainer pick is the driver who won the Cup race that year: Kevin Harvick. My next picks are Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson and Jimmie Johnson. I will round out my team with Bubba Wallace and Christopher Bell.

My Final Four: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Larson, Aric Almirola and Bubba Wallace

Second-Look Driver: This week's second-look driver is Christopher Bell who will be making his NASCAR Cup Series track debut this weekend. This desert one-miler has been good to Christopher in the past. He won a 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series race here in a dominant fashion leading 94 of 200 laps. In addition, Christopher won the pole for both of the 2019 Xfinity Series races and has led 259 laps in the last four Xfinity Series races.

Last week's second-look driver Aric Almirola earned his first Top 10 of the season and his second Top 10 in 13 career NASCAR Cup Series starts at Fontana. His eighth-place result beat his previous best finish at Fontana – ninth, which Aric earned last March.

Points to Ponder:
  • Ryan Newman (2002, 2003, 2004, 2008) and Kyle Busch (2006, 2012, 2016, 2019) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in Busch poles at Phoenix Raceway with four each.
  • Kevin Harvick leads the series in wins at Phoenix Raceway with nine victories (2006 sweep, 2012 Playoff race, 2013 Playoff race, 2014 sweep, 2015 Spring race, 2016 Spring race, 2018 Spring race).
  • Kevin Harvick leads the series in wins at Phoenix Raceway among active drivers with eight followed by Jimmie Johnson (four), Ryan Newman (two) and Denny Hamlin (two).
  • Eight of the 47 (17.0%) NASCAR Cup Series races at Phoenix Raceway have been won from the front row: five from the pole and three from the second starting position. 
  • Four different manufacturers have won at least one race in the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix, led by Chevrolet with 23 victories; followed by Ford (16), Toyota (six) and Pontiac (two). 
  • A total of 13 different organizations have won in the NASCAR Cup Series at Phoenix Raceway led by Hendrick Motorsports with 10 victories.
  • Kyle Busch leads all active series drivers with four second-place finishes.
  • Kevin Harvick (34 starts) leads the series in Top 5 finishes at Phoenix Raceway with 17, as well as all active series drivers in Top 10s with 23 and in average finishing position with a 9.176.
  • Kevin Harvick leads the series in laps led at Phoenix Raceway with 1,595.
  • The most laps led in a single NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway was 264 of the scheduled 312 laps (84.6%) by Kevin Harvick in November of 2014. He started third and won the event.
  • The most laps led in a single NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway by a driver that did not win was 237 of the scheduled 319 laps (74.3%) by Kyle Busch in November of 2012. He started first and finished third in the event.
Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. ET on Friday, March 6, and pick your starters by 3:30 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, March 8.

Enjoy the race!

Carol D’Agostino wields fantasy-racing superpowers. Each week, Carol researches statistics and combs through her personal racing notes to provide fans with fantasy racing advice at NASCAR Fantasy Fusion, a column she has written for Skirts & Scuffs since October 2011. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway, and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. This year she joins the NASCAR Expert Picks panel at
Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. When she isn’t crunching numbers, you’ll find Carol in business meetings, hammering out a news release, or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat.  
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Thursday, March 05, 2020 Rating: 5