This weekend, the NASCAR Cup Series is at Phoenix Raceway for the Ruoff Mortgage 500, which means we’ll get to see the NextGen car on a flat track for the first time in 2022 after hitting Daytona, Auto Club, and Las Vegas in the first three weeks of the year. Phoenix is 1-mile flat track and the last time we were here, we crowned Kyle Larson as Cup Series Champion for the 2021 season. Larson was super. fast once again in practice this weekend, but the question is now, will he show up? The #5 Chevrolet looked blazing fast last week at Las Vegas and then disappointed fantasy owners on race day.

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How the algorithm works: There are quite a few statistics that go into the Power Index formula, including recent performance both overall and at this week’s track specifically, similar track performance, projected strength of the car, practice speeds (when applicable), starting position, and a few other variables.

Before We Get To The Algorithm Results…Thoughts On A Couple Drivers

Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Christopher Bell – The Toyotas weren’t very sporty in practice on Saturday but should be fine during Sunday’s Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix. As far as Christopher Bell goes, he has much higher potential than the 11th place that the algorithm is giving him this weekend. Bell is one of the best racers on the short, flat tracks, but if people look only at his Phoenix Cup results (two 9ths, a 17th, and a 24th), it’s easy to overlook him. At Richmond, which is the most similar track to Phoenix, CBell had finishes of 4th and 3rd in the two races last season.

Austin Cindric – This is your weekly reminder that those with limited Cup Series data, including Austin Cindric, are most likely to be under-valued by the algorithm early on this year. So taking that into account, the fact that the algorithm has Cindric ranked 18th this weekend is pretty solid. There are many reasons to like Austin and this #2 car this weekend, with the first being that it’s a Penske Ford. That organization has had the flat tracks figured out for the last few years, and all three were fast in practice here at Phoenix on Saturday. Cindric specifically put down the fastest single lap time and the 5th-best 15-lap average. In the Xfinity Series, Cindric has two wins a 2nd-place finish in his last three starts at this track.

Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Algorithm Predicted Finishing Order

RankDriverPower
Index
1.Logano, Joey39.35
2.Larson, Kyle38.52
3.Elliott, Chase37.33
4.Hamlin, Denny36.33
5.Blaney, Ryan34.56
6.Busch, Kyle34.19
7.Harvick, Kevin32.92
8.Truex, Jr., Martin32.31
9.Almirola, Aric29.13
10.Byron, William29.02
11.Bell, Christopher27.17
12.Reddick, Tyler25.54
13.Bowman, Alex25.07
14.Busch, Kurt19.88
15.Dillon, Austin17.56
16.Keselowski, Brad15.61
17.Chastain, Ross06.43
18.Cindric, Austin02.93
19.Jones, Erik-01.16
20.Stenhouse, Jr., Ricky-03.64
21.Dillon, Ty-12.70
22.Custer, Cole-15.46
23.Wallace, Bubba-16.85
24.Buescher, Chris-17.98
25.Suarez, Daniel-19.37
26.Burton, Harrison-19.70
27.McDowell, Michael-21.25
28.Briscoe, Chase-21.69
29.Allmendinger, AJ-24.38
30.Haley, Justin-25.64
31.Gilliland, Todd-28.41
32.LaJoie, Corey-34.95
33.Cassill, Landon-40.35
34.Ware, Cody-41.79
35.McLeod, BJ-41.96
36.Smithley, Garrett-42.57
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.