It has been an awesome 2021 season, and now we’re down to the final race: the Season Finale 500 at Phoenix Raceway. This is a one-mile flat track and we raced here back in March with Martin Truex, Jr. going to victory lane after Joey Logano dominated the first half of the event.
NASCAR held one practice session on Friday (click here for speeds) and also used a qualifying session to set the starting lineup (click here for that), and we all pretty much know who should be the four fastest cars on Sunday: the Championship drivers. If you’ve been following along all season long, thank you and I hope you enjoyed, now let’s goooo (one more time)!!!!
ROTODOC AND I WILL BE DOING A LIVE STREAM AT 11 AM ET ON RACE DAY. CLICK HERE TO TUNE IN AT THAT TIME.
Make sure you check out the Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order for this race by clicking here!
Speed Report & Loop Data Driver Averages
Now that we’re officially done with the 550hp package, it’s time to go back and look at 750hp package data for the final two races of the season. The good news is we have a good data set to look at for the Martinsville race this weekend. We also have a good data set for the track type: short and flat. Martinsville is a half-mile “paperclip” that is extremely flat. Similar tracks include New Hampshire, Phoenix, and Richmond, but really Martinsville is quite unique from those other three. The most similar would be New Hampshire, in my opinion, but that was the rain race this season so make sure you take that data with a grain of salt.
- ARP = average running position
- DR = driver rating
- FL = fastest laps (total)
- LL = laps led (total)
- T15 = laps ran inside top 15 (total)
- Total Laps = laps completed (total)
2021 Driver Averages At Short, Flat Tracks (excluding Martinsville)
|Martin Truex Jr||4||04.8||08.6||113.0||170||251||1069||1405|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||4||16.8||16.7||73.2||26||1||464||1401|
2021 Driver Averages w/ 750hp Package
|Martin Truex Jr||10||07.1||08.4||108.9||334||545||3048||3764|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||10||16.4||17.0||72.7||72||1||1271||3757|
2020 Driver Averages At Short, Flat Tracks
|Martin Truex Jr||6||11.7||07.9||104.4||169||272||1985||2294|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||6||20.3||20.7||63.8||40||1||266||2321|
DraftKings Strategy & Dominators for Phoenix 2
- Obviously, things are a little special with this race since it’s the Championship event. I think you need at least two of the four Championship drivers in your lineup on Sunday, and possibly even three. Typically Phoenix is a two-dominator race, and that’s what I’m expecting will happen this weekend as well, although if Kyle Larson’s team figures out the long run speed, he could run away with it and make it a one-dominator race.
- This is only a 312 lap race, which means we’ll have 78 FPTS for laps led on Sunday and probably around 108 FPTS for fastest laps.
- Comparable tracks to look at would be Richmond (it is very similar to Phoenix) as well as New Hampshire, and then obviously the first Phoenix race in March. You can look back to the 2020 races on these tracks as well.
- NASCAR is running the 750hp package this weekend. Other tracks where this package has been ran this season are: Phoenix, Martinsville (twice), Darlington (twice), Dover, Richmond (twice), Nashville, and New Hampshire.
These are the potential dominators for this weekend’s race at Phoenix, and are listed in the order of likelihood according to my projections:
- Kyle Larson
- Chase Elliott
- Denny Hamlin
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Ryan Blaney
- Joey Logano
- William Byron
Some “surprise” dominators that could happen on Sunday include: Brad Keselowski, Christopher Bell, and Alex Bowman.
Optimal Lineup According to Jordan’s Projections
The optimal DraftKings lineup for Phoenix on Sunday according to my Projections is:
- Kyle Larson
- Chase Elliott
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Chris Buescher
- Chase Briscoe
- Quin Houff
Confidence Rating = 6.9/10. Honestly it just depends how this race plays out on how effective this lineup is. I don’t hate it by any means, but I think you’re going to need Truex to dominate some for it to be optimal. Not quite sure if it can get there on his finishing position and place differential alone. As far as this potentially being punt week, I don’t particularly hate it, simply because of how this Championship race usually plays out with the four contenders.
GPP / Tournament Picks
Chase Elliott ($10,800) – With Chase Elliott starting 2nd next to his teammate, Kyle Larson ($11,500), I think that’s going to keep some DraftKings players from stacking both, which will lower Chase’s ownership a bit. However, even though the #9 Chevrolet hasn’t been the fastest this weekend, it was right there in practice on Friday (3rd-fastest 10-lap average and 2nd-fastest 15-lap average) as Elliott kind of went under the radar. He’s obviously the defending winner of this race and also led 93 laps in the first 2020 race at Phoenix as well. Chase came home 5th here in the March race this season.
Chase Briscoe ($6,200) – Briscoe may end up being a chalkier play than I think on Sunday afternoon, but as far as a NASCAR Fantasy pick, I like the upside here for the price. Briscoe qualified 22nd and is the highest starter of everyone in this price range, so that should deter other DFS players from picking him some. When you look at similar tracks this season, Chase finished 22nd in the first Phoenix race and then 22nd and 16th in the two Richmond races. Momentum-wise, Briscoe has finished 22nd or better in 11 straight races.
Quin Houff ($4,700) – I do think the door is open for Punt Week again simply because of how this race typically plays out with the Championship Four. I think you need at least two of those drivers in your lineup on Sunday, and maybe even three. As far as punts, it’s going to come down to your salary remaining, but Houff is probably the best option but Garrett Smithley ($4,600) is an option as well. I’m just concerned that Smithley only ran 10 laps in practice on Friday while Houff ran 25 laps. On the shorter, flat tracks excluding Martinsville, Houff has finished 23nd, 34th, 35th, and 35th.
Stacking Dennys Podcast with Jordan & RotoDoc
Cash Core Drivers
Kyle Larson ($11,500) – I think in cash you have to roll with Kyle Larson on Sunday. He’s been the best car all season long and had a great car here at Phoenix in the spring, posting the 2nd-most fastest laps despite having to drive through the field multiple times. Larson is on the pole for Sunday’s Season Finale 500, and while his car really fell off during the practice session here on Friday, I’m actually not overly concerned about that because Chase Elliott’s car had good long run speed. Typically we see teammates have good speed across the board. We know that Larson has the best short run car by a wide margin this weekend, and if this team is able to dial in some long run speed in this Chevy, we could wee Larson lead this thing from start to finish…
Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,400) – Speaking of short run speed, Martin Truex, Jr. is lacking in that department this weekend. Big time. Because of that, he’s going to start from back in 12th for Sunday’s race, and when you pair that place differential potential with an under-pricing by DraftKings, Truex is definitely a cash play. This #19 team brought the same car that they won here with back in March and in practice, Truex was incredibly consistent on the long runs. We expect this race on Sunday to be full of long runs, so that should play into his hands. MTJ should be a solid top 5 car and could possibly even win this thing with a little bit of good fortune. He’s going to need it since he has the #JordanJinx.
Joey Logano ($8,900) – Another mis-price here by DraftKings. Joey Logano is one of the best drivers at Phoenix right now, and dominated the race here back in the spring. Additionally, he has finished top 3 in each of the last three races at this track, and has led 60 or more laps in each of the last four. On the similar tracks this season, Logano finished 3rd and 5th in the two Richmond races and 4th at New Hampshire, after ending up 2nd to Truex here at Phoenix earlier in the year. His 10th-place starting position with a little place differential potential is just the cherry on top.
Season Finale 500 at Phoenix DraftKings Driver Projections
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from six different ranking systems. Also factored in are projected laps led and fastest laps for each driver. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Proj Ownership||Starting Position||Ceiling Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||$10,400||76.27||34.57%||12||98.40||04.3||$136|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,500||27.67||15.03%||21||32.00||18.0||$271|