NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Phoenix Championship Finale

Ryan Blaney certainly put a exclamation point on his performance for the month of October as he began the month with a win at Talladega and ended the month with a win at Martinsville Speedway, giving him his all important entry to the coveted Championship Four at Phoenix Raceway this weekend. 
Ryan scored an overall 4.4 average finish for the month of October. He worse finish was 12th place at the ROVAL™ on October 8th. With this surge of performance and consistency, the No.12 team is arguably one of the favorites for the NASCAR Cup Championship, although his three qualified and capable competitors aren't going to make it easy. While it hasn't happened lately, it's not a given that the race winner will also be a final four driver. Wouldn't it be an emotional win if Kevin Harvick did his final curtain call in Victory Lane?

This Week's Pick Strategy:
While it's natural to want to hedge your bets and pick all the Championship Four drivers for your fantasy roster, you'll most likely run into salary cap issues and other fantasy game rules problems. Non-playoff drivers like Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, Chase Briscoe, Aric Almirola, and Kyle Busch run well here, and deserve more than a cursory consideration. I will be picking two Playoff drivers, and filling in with drivers who are strong here that should have made the Playoffs plus those mid-pack drivers who have Phoenix figured out like Aric Almirola and Chase Briscoe.
Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race
Kevin Harvick - 5 
All with 4 - Kyle Busch, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney, and Brad Keselowski 
All with 3-  Martin Truex Jr., William Byron, and Joey Logano
By Track
Kevin Harvick - 10
Kyle Busch - 8
All with 7 - Denny Hamlin, Kyle Larson, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney
Martin Truex Jr. - 6
Both with 5 - Aric Almirola, William Byron, Brad Keselowski and Chase Elliott 

Last Year's Pole Winner: Joey Logano
Last Year's Race Winner: Joey Logano

The Likely Suspects: My Phoenix go-tos are Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, William Byron, Ryan Blaney Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr., Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, and Chase Elliott.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick is Kyle Larson. My next picks are Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, Kevin Harvick, and Kyle Busch. I will round out my team with Corey LaJoie and AJ Allmendinger.

My Final Four: Ryan Blaney, Kyle Busch, Chase Briscoe, and AJ Allmendinger.

Points to Ponder:
  • Ryan Newman (2002, 2003, 2004, 2008) and Kyle Busch (2006, 2012, 2016, 2019) lead the NASCAR Cup Series in poles at Phoenix Raceway with four each, followed by Ryan Blaney with three poles (2017, 2019, 2022).
  • The first and third starting positions are tied for the most prolific starting position in the field, producing more winners (eight each) than any other starting positions – the most recent was William Byron’s win earlier this season from the third starting position.
  • In total, 13 different organizations have won at Phoenix Raceway in the NASCAR Cup Series, led by Hendrick Motorsports with 13 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 1,699 laps led in 41 starts, in Top 5s with 20 Top 5s, Top 10s with 28, and he leads all active drivers in average finishing position at Phoenix Raceway with a 8.561.
  • 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 4:05 p.m. ET today, and your final picks by 3 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, November 5th.

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 Saturday, November 04, 2023 Rating: 5