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

Denny Hamlin leaning next to car at Pocono 2021
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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.

  • Starts
  • Finish
  • 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)

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Joey Logano403.507.1115.78219212211405
Denny Hamlin404.304.1123.722343813211405
Christopher Bell404.507.6105.91151013731405
Martin Truex Jr404.808.6113.017025110691405
Aric Almirola408.011.293.5272511091404
Brad Keselowski408.507.0105.7629713751404
Alex Bowman408.811.989.1321011991404
Ryan Blaney409.007.8101.0519912641404
Kyle Larson409.512.291.510099061403
Chase Elliott409.809.897.75411111191404
Kevin Harvick411.007.2102.8716613651402
Ross Chastain412.312.883.51478581404
Matt DiBenedetto413.013.781.021209171403
William Byron413.812.383.318010181402
Austin Dillon413.815.574.91118861403
Ricky Stenhouse Jr416.816.773.22614641401
Daniel Suarez418.520.560.41202051401
Tyler Reddick419.314.774.21107391399
Kyle Busch419.811.181.331469041119
Erik Jones419.820.661.6101441400
Kurt Busch420.314.269.73067681044
Chase Briscoe421.821.159.3101291399
Cole Custer422.520.959.81503081396
Chris Buescher424.024.752.350391395
Bubba Wallace425.022.155.91441921389
Corey LaJoie425.023.652.31121041396
Ryan Newman425.524.252.500151396
Ryan Preece425.525.449.37071395
Michael McDowell425.825.450.350361395
Justin Haley429.027.538.30061000
BJ McLeod430.529.938.40071383
Anthony Alfredo431.530.736.30021163
Garrett Smithley433.333.630.30011361
Quin Houff434.033.931.30001268
James Davison334.034.128.8000733
Cody Ware334.334.731.1301771
Josh Bilicki435.534.729.20001307

2021 Driver Averages w/ 750hp Package

Driver
Starts
Finish
ARP
DR
FL
LL
T15
Total Laps
Kyle Larson1006.408.0110.950776931243764
Joey Logano1006.607.9105.110620733573765
Martin Truex Jr1007.108.4108.933454530483764
Denny Hamlin1007.904.9117.740697034823765
Kevin Harvick1008.708.799.61149633423763
Christopher Bell1010.611.092.51613229513760
William Byron1010.909.894.3933029973595
Chase Elliott1011.108.1102.023941332543725
Ross Chastain1012.815.681.2712218593760
Alex Bowman1012.912.588.120411727493643
Austin Dillon1013.415.376.831621603762
Ryan Blaney1013.809.091.511227329653517
Brad Keselowski1014.111.090.010810128773646
Aric Almirola1015.213.180.2612622923375
Tyler Reddick1016.014.277.633220543758
Ricky Stenhouse Jr1016.417.072.772112713757
Kyle Busch1016.712.983.3826523483231
Matt DiBenedetto1017.018.169.1222014573752
Kurt Busch1017.113.276.7822223593216
Daniel Suarez1018.621.063.25007703642
Chris Buescher1019.018.664.918113463533
Erik Jones1020.920.459.32124483555
Ryan Newman1021.421.958.72407573741
Bubba Wallace1021.519.561.534279543745
Cole Custer1021.921.459.93606083513
Chase Briscoe1023.321.458.7156213611
Corey LaJoie1023.723.753.52124193621
Ryan Preece1026.224.954.55103473444
Michael McDowell1026.625.348.32001253294
Anthony Alfredo1026.827.642.480393501
Justin Haley930.128.838.660422606
BJ McLeod1030.430.737.920133630
Garrett Smithley732.033.031.900152532
Josh Bilicki1032.233.431.10073566
Quin Houff1032.233.031.00023273
Cody Ware832.432.932.73152540

2020 Driver Averages At Short, Flat Tracks

DriverStartsAvg FinishARPDRFLLLT15TLaps
Joey Logano603.003.9123.619948322872329
Brad Keselowski603.706.5121.022648220422329
Kyle Larson104.009.999.502274316
Chase Elliott604.705.7120.626649422282329
Kevin Harvick608.810.3104.615911418622328
Matt DiBenedetto610.212.489.121115732328
Kurt Busch610.309.889.3224221042328
Alex Bowman611.010.887.639117062328
Martin Truex Jr611.707.9104.416927219852294
Denny Hamlin612.213.090.713717914242325
Aric Almirola612.713.187.9622816612304
Ryan Blaney614.311.189.01227613952076
Kyle Busch614.311.784.558914812042
William Byron615.713.083.631017312266
Cole Custer616.817.373.537011662320
Tyler Reddick618.816.872.724010472273
Bubba Wallace619.220.862.02305382323
Ryan Newman519.617.564.61107352007
Ricky Stenhouse Jr620.320.763.84012662321
Ty Dillon620.723.954.5201122320
Michael McDowell620.824.055.02204972322
Christopher Bell621.219.967.43905532319
Erik Jones621.318.168.01608262319
Austin Dillon621.819.766.993586442038
Ryan Preece622.223.256.8302382309
Chris Buescher622.821.855.61014791970
Ross Chastain123.018.064.20089316
Daniel Suarez626.828.243.560172308
Corey LaJoie628.323.451.113111622186
Joey Gase633.235.029.64002206
Josh Bilicki233.535.130.4100786
James Davison434.034.132.03031407
Quin Houff634.035.029.22012004
Timmy Hill635.533.929.97061333
Garrett Smithley535.635.828.83021287

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.

Dominators

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 Ryan Blaney 2019 Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

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

Martin Truex Jr Fantasy NASCAR 2018
Photo Credit: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

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.

DriverDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSProj OwnershipStarting PositionCeiling Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishDollar Per FPT
Kyle Larson$11,50085.2038.37%1125.2003.2$135
Martin Truex Jr$10,40076.2734.57%1298.4004.3$136
Chase Elliott$10,80072.9732.10%288.4503.5$148
Denny Hamlin$11,00072.3332.70%689.0003.0$152
Joey Logano$8,90051.1032.22%1070.6506.8$174
Brad Keselowski$9,10049.6822.64%1166.5508.2$183
Kevin Harvick$9,30046.1818.36%956.6006.5$201
Ryan Blaney$9,50042.7216.43%468.7507.7$222
Alex Bowman$8,20042.1722.88%1473.5510.2$194
William Byron$10,00040.8011.37%361.0008.7$245
Christopher Bell$8,70039.5019.49%858.3508.7$220
Kyle Busch$9,80037.3715.19%1367.5011.2$262
Tyler Reddick$8,50037.3320.30%2052.9513.2$228
Aric Almirola$8,10037.1717.97%1852.0511.8$218
Austin Dillon$7,30035.5018.17%2345.3516.2$206
Ross Chastain$7,80033.6810.81%1645.8014.0$232
Ricky Stenhouse Jr$7,50027.6715.03%2132.0018.0$271
Matt DiBenedetto$7,90027.307.70%1536.2516.2$289
Erik Jones$7,10025.6719.55%2738.0020.8$277
Chris Buescher$6,40025.1728.59%2633.0021.8$254
Bubba Wallace$7,70025.0015.04%2540.2520.8$308
Chase Briscoe$6,20023.8320.78%2235.0020.7$260
Kurt Busch$8,40021.488.38%541.6514.8$391
Ryan Preece$5,80019.0029.16%3129.0027.5$305
Daniel Suarez$6,80017.1710.12%1726.9022.2$396
Corey Lajoie$6,00015.5011.36%2431.9024.8$387
Michael McDowell$5,70014.6710.27%2824.0027.3$389
Justin Haley$5,60013.008.03%2921.0028.7$431
Ryan Newman$6,90012.8310.72%1924.0024.8$538
Anthony Alfredo$5,40012.8319.17%3020.0029.8$421
BJ McLeod$5,20012.003.29%3216.0030.8$433
Cole Custer$6,60011.006.07%731.6518.8$600
Cody Ware$4,80008.831.36%3315.0033.0$543
Quin Houff$4,70008.003.32%3512.0034.3$588
Joey Gase$4,50007.002.50%3413.0034.3$643
Josh Bilicki$5,00006.502.13%3712.0035.5$769
Garrett Smithley$4,60005.171.56%3811.0036.8$890
David Starr$5,10005.001.71%3611.0036.3$1,020
Timmy Hill$4,90002.830.59%3904.0038.7$1,729
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.