Fantasy Picks: Who to pick and Who not to pick for the Phoenix International Raceway 2015 500

The second race of the 2015 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series western swing will take place Sunday at the Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.

The spring Phoenix race has jumped around the calendar throughout the recent years, but as the green flag drops under the Arizona sky Sunday it will be the fourth opportunity of the young season for the best in NASCAR to lock up a spot in the 2015 Chase.

Who To Pick

Kevin Harvick – For starters, how do you against picking someone that has led 558 laps and won three times in the last four Phoenix races? Overall, the defending champion  has thirteen top-tens and twenty top-twenty finishes in twenty-four career races at the Arizona race track.

Harvick was the class of the field last weekend in Vegas and why not hop on the bandwagon this weekend at another statistically great race track for the Stewart-Haas Racing driver.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Dale Jr.’s stats at Phoenix are decent overall as he has finished in the top-ten twelve times in his twenty-five race career, but what really makes Jr. a strong contender this weekend is the fact that his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet team has four top-ten finishes in the last four Phoenix Sprint Cup Series races, and three of those were top-five finishes.

Three top-five finishes in the first three races of the season is a hard feat to conquer but Dale Jr. has done just that and don’t be surprised if he continues his early hot streak this weekend in the 500 at the Phoenix International Raceway.

Jimmie Johnson – Johnson enters the race weekend with the best finishing average among active drivers at the 1.0-mile oval as he has four wins, fourteen top-fives, eighteen top-twenties and he has only missed finishing inside the top-twenty in two career Phoenix Sprint Cup Series races.

Very rare to see the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet have two bad weekends in a row so look for Johnson to bounce back from a horrendous race last weekend in Vegas.

A.J. Allmendinger – Allmendinger will probably not bring you home a win this weekend, but he has the chance to award your team some solid points because in eleven Phoenix races he has brought home nine top-twenty finishes.

Allmendinger only has two top-ten finishes at the Phoenix International Raceway, but he consistently runs in the top-half of the field at Phoenix, and this may be one of the few tracks on the NASCAR circuit where Allmendinger produces a valuable finish for your team.

Who Not To Pick 

Jamie McMurray – It’s safe to say Jamie McMurray has had a dissatisfying career at the Phoenix International Raceway because in twenty-three races he has only one top-five and three top-ten finishes to show for.

McMurray’s best finish of the 2015 season came last weekend in Vegas as he came home with a eleventh-place finish, but judging by his poor stats at the Phoenix International Raceway, I wouldn’t expect him to better that mark this weekend.

Paul Menard – Phoenix International Raceway is just not a Paul Menard race track as in sixteen overall Phoenix races he has only produced two top-ten finishes, and he enters the weekend with a finishing average of twenty-second at the 1.0-mile oval.

Menard has his 2015 season pointed in the right direction as he enters the weekend with back-to-back top-fifteen finishes, but don’t waste your pick on Menard in this year’s 500.

Tony Stewart – Tony Stewart’s No. 14 Stewart-Haas Racing team are completely lost to start the season as three weeks into the season his best finish to show for is a 30th-place finish, which came two weekend’s ago in Atlanta.

I wouldn’t touch Tony Stewart until there is some signs of hope coming out of that camp, plus Stewart turns it on most of the time during the summer weeks and towards the conclusions of seasons, anyhow.

Carl Edwards – Edwards’ new marriage with Joe Gibbs Racing has not started off the way he wanted to I’m sure as in three races he is still scratching and clawing to produce a top-ten finish.

It would be foolish to waste a pick on a championship contender like Edwards this weekend when he is stuck in this kind of funk. Plus, Edwards only has twelve top-ten finishes in twenty-one Phoenix races. Solid stats but not jump off the page kind of stats.


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