NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Phoenix Championship Finale

This NASCAR Cup season produced story lines and headlines like no other. You know it's been a wild season when Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski spin out more frequently than Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Just sayin.' Seriously though, we've seen 19 different race winners and five first-time winners as well as two walk off wins by the same driver. I don't think this final championship race is going to be any different. In fact, I think it's very likely that we'll see a non-final four driver win.

Who's the likely candidate? Probably Kevin Harvick. I had the opportunity to see Harvick win at Phoenix a few years ago. Phoenix Raceway is his best track. Kevin leads the series in wins here with nine as well as Top 5s (18), Top 10s (28), laps completed (12,154), laps led (1,663) and average finish (8.7).
Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kevin Harvick - 5 
All with 4 - Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski 
All with 3- Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson,  Ryan Blaney, and Chase Elliott
By Track
Kevin Harvick - 10
Kyle Busch - 8
All with 7 - Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., and Kyle Larson
All with 6 - Aric Almirola, Brad Keselowski, and Chase Elliott 
Both with 5 - Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney

Last Year's Race Winner: Kyle Larson

8 of the 28 NASCAR Cup Series Phoenix Raceway winners are active this weekend:

The Likely Suspects: My Phoenix go-tos are Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, and Joey Logano.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick is Kevin Harvick. My next picks are Chase Elliott, Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, and Ross Chastian. I will round out my team with Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer.

My Final Four: Chase Elliott, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, and Daniel Suarez.
Second-Look Driver: Ryan Blaney is this week's sleeper pick. While all eyes will be on the championship four drivers, Ryan Blaney will be making some noise on Sunday. Back in March and in the 2021 championship, Ryan finished in fourth. In his 13 starts at Phoenix Raceway, Ryan has earned three poles, four Top 5s, and eight Top 10s with an average finish of 13.5.

Points to Ponder:
  • Kyle Busch (2006, 2012, 2016, 2019) leads the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Phoenix Raceway with four poles, followed by Ryan Blaney with three poles (2017, 2019, 2022).
  • The first and third starting position are tied for the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more winners (seven each) than any other starting positions – the most recent was Kyle Larson’s win in this race last season.
  • In total, 13 different organizations have won at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Hendrick Motorsports with 12 victories. 
  • Kevin Harvick leads the NASCAR Cup 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). He also leads the NASCAR Cup Series in laps led at Phoenix with 1,663 laps led in 39 starts, in Top 5s with 18 Top 5s, Top 10s with 28, and he leads all active drivers in average finishing position at Phoenix Raceway with a 8.744.
  • Kyle Busch leads all active NASCAR Cup Series drivers in runner-up finishes at Phoenix with four second-place finishes.
Remember if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, November 5th, and your final picks by 3 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, November 6th.

Enjoy the race, and thank you for joining me in this season's Fantasy racing journey!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet. When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Phoenix Championship Finale NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Phoenix Championship Finale Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, November 04, 2022 Rating: 5