Some how, some way, we have made it through the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season and we’re now down to the final race of the year at Phoenix. Not only is this the final race of the “real” NASCAR season, but also the final race of the Fantasy NASCAR season, and before we get started with the picks, I wanted to let everyone know: THANK YOU for playing the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this year. I hope you had a great time, and I hope to see you back in 2021.
Joey Logano won the first race at Phoenix this season but Chase Elliott probably had the best car that day, and those two will now be on the front row for the season finale on Sunday. You can click here for the Season Finale 500 Starting Lineup.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on race day.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest Picks for the Phoenix Season Finale 500
NOTE: With Chase Elliott failing pre-race inspection and having to start from the rear (he will still be scored from the 1st starting spot, by the way), I am now switching my roster a bit. Today I will be going with Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski, Chris Buescher, and Corey LaJoie.
Kevin Harvick ($12,800) – Just because Kevin Harvick isn’t eligible to win the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship doesn’t mean he isn’t a threat to win this race. In fact, at most sports books, Harvick is the favorite heading into Sunday–and for good reason. Over the last 17 races at Phoenix, Kevin Harvick has finished 1st or 2nd ten different times, including a 2nd-place result here back in the March race this season. His worst finish here since the 2013 season is 9th. This weekend, “The Closer” starts from 11th, which makes him a no-brainer pick in place differential Fantasy NASCAR leagues like the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. On the shorter flat tracks this season, the #4 Ford has the 5th-best average running position, 4th-best average finish, and ranks 5th-fastest in Green Flag Speed.
Kyle Busch ($12,200) – I’ll be honest: I don’t love what I’ve seen out of the Joe Gibbs Racing camp on the shorter flat tracks this season, but I’m not about to bet against Kyle Busch at Phoenix. Over the last ten races here, the guy has just one finish worse than 4th! And that was a 7th-place finish back in 2017. This weekend, Kyle will roll off the grid from 8th and if he can pull off another top 5 finish, that’s going to be a great points day in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. One thing to note: Kyle Busch ranks 3rd-best in Green Flag Speed in the last six non-superspeedway and non-road course races this season, and actually has a solid ranking of 6th-best on the shorter flat tracks in 2020.
Chase Elliott ($11,700) – Risky to take the pole sitter in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest? Absolutely. But it’s hard to imagine Chase Elliott not being a contender here on Sunday. The #9 Chevrolet was also on the pole the last time we raced here at Phoenix and led a race-high 93 laps before ultimately finishing 7th. Now that 7th-place finish may seem a bit disappointing, but don’t forget that Chase had to make an unexpected pit stop during the race and still rallied for that result. Overall here at Phoenix, Chase has two top 5s and five top 10s in nine career starts, and with how this team is running right now, don’t be surprised if he challenges for his first win. Chase has the 3rd-best average finish on shorter flat tracks this season and ranks 3rd in average running position as well. His Green Flag Speed ranking is…you guessed it, 3rd-fastest.
Chris Buescher ($7,200) – Obviously this week I’ll be going with the “three studs” approach to my lineup, so with the other two drivers I’m just hoping they pick up some spots from where they start and don’t wreck. Chris Buescher had a bad day at Martinsville last weekend and because of that he will start from back in 31st on Sunday, but one bad race shouldn’t scare you away here. Roush-Fenway Racing’s strength really lies on the superspeedways and the flat tracks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Buescher came home inside the top 20 here at Phoenix on Sunday. He’s ended up between 16th and 18th in each of his last four starts here.
Corey LaJoie ($6,100) – With this pick, I’m just hoping LaJoie doesn’t wreck on Sunday, or does his usual gamble on fuel mileage and hits a well-timed caution. That’s what happened last weekend at Martinsville, and if Corey wouldn’t have jumped that restart he was leading on, he wouldn’t finished in the teens. However, he did jump the restart, and he will start from 28th here at Phoenix on Sunday for the season finale. In six career starts at this track, LaJoie has finished outside of the top 30 four times, with his two best finishes being 26th and 27th. Like I said, not exactly counting on much from him here this weekend.