DraftKings NASCAR: Ticket Guardian 500
DraftKings NASCAR: Ticket Guardian 500

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Ticket Guardian 500

Location: Avondale, Ariz.
Course: ISM Raceway
Format: 1.0-mile oval
Laps: 312

Race Preview

Joey Logano became the second Penske Racing driver to win in 2019 with a strong run throughout last week's Pennzoil 400. Both he and teammate Brad Keselowski focused on race setups early in the weekend, as they also did in Atlanta, and that paid dividends with the drivers finishing first and second. Kevin Harvick's Ford was also as strong as expected in Las Vegas. The pole-sitter led 88 of the 267 laps and won the first stage with a comfortable multisecond gap back to Kyle Busch. Las Vegas was the premier of NASCAR's new rules package designed to promote passing and bunch the field closer together. That may have worked on restarts, but as the laps wore on, drivers extricated themselves from the pack by maintaining handling and being gentle on tires. Harvick noted his lack of ability to fend of Logano in the closing stage was down to handling going away on his car. For many, seeing Harvick lead for such long stretches of the race was simply more of the same. While a few new names are having better afternoons, the main contenders remain the usual suspects, and it would appear as though Ford has the edge for the time being.

Key Stats at ISM Raceway

Number of previous races: 45
Winners from pole: 4
Winners from top-5 starters: 15
Winners from top-10 starters: 23
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 4
Fastest race: 118.132 mph

Last 10 Phoenix Winners

2018 fall - Kyle Busch
2018 spring - Kevin Harvick
2017 fall - Matt Kenseth
2017 spring - Ryan Newman
2016 fall - Joey Logano
2016 spring - Kevin Harvick
2015 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2015 spring - Kevin Harvick
2014 fall - Kevin Harvick
2014 spring - Kevin Harvick

With Harvick's pace at Las Vegas and his past success at Phoenix, it would be reasonable to assume he is the heavy favorite again this week. He has an astonishing nine victories from 32 starts at the track with an average finish of 9.3. He won this race last year after going winless at the track in 2016. Kyle Busch won here in the fall and has also been a strong contender for race wins early in 2019. While Harvick started from pole last week, he lost to Penske because of race setup. Fantasy players should expect him and others to start following Penske's lead and put some more emphasis on race setup versus qualifying. Still, the contenders should largely be expected to remain similar to what we saw in Las Vegas. ISM Raceway's unique configuration will not race like what we saw in Las Vegas, and I would expect the new rules package to have an even smaller impact this week. That means Harvick, Kyle Busch, the Penske teammates, along with Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson should be attracting heavy fantasy attention this week. Having said that, the unique layout will also reward drivers who qualify closer to the front than last week, too. So, don't completely dismiss those practice and qualifying times.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values 

Kevin Harvick - $12,800
Kyle Busch - $12,200
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900

DraftKings Tier 2 Values 

Kyle Larson - $9,900
Aric Almirola - $9,600
Chase Elliott - $9,300
Denny Hamlin - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kurt Busch - $8,800
Erik Jones - $8,600
Clint Bowyer - $8,400
Daniel Suarez - $7,600

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,500
Ryan Newman - $7,100
Paul Menard - $6,800
Matt DiBenedetto - $6,200

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $12,800
Kurt Busch - $8,800
Daniel Suarez - $7,600
Alex Bowman - $7,300
Ryan Newman - $7,100
Ryan Preece - $6,400

Harvick will start from eighth at the track he has dominated throughout recent memory, and his salary comes at a premium this week to account for that. Kurt Busch has also been good in Phoenix with two wins and more than 800 laps led. While qualifying didn't go as planned for Suarez, he has a tendency to race toward the front on this unique configuration. He has two top-10 finishes from just four starts at the circuit. Bowman had a strong showing on Friday and has been putting together a nice opening to his 2019 season. Bowman started on pole here in the fall of 2016 and led 194 laps en route to a sixth-place finish. Newman is another driver who knows how to get the job done at ISM Raceway. His two wins and 12 top-10s from 33 career starts make him a good value for fantasy rosters this week. Finally, Preece has been the impressive standout among new faces in the series so far this season. He was fifth here in the Xfinity series last fall and is quickly earning himself a regular spot on many fantasy rosters in the Cup series.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900
Kyle Larson - $9,900
Erik Jones - $8,600
Ryan Blaney - $8,200
Matt DiBenedetto - $6,200
Ty Dillon - $5,900

Truex has been knocking on the door of Victory Lane in the early part of 2019, and it seems like it's just a matter of time before he gets his first win with Joe Gibbs Racing. If he did that on Sunday, it would be his first at the circuit. He has nine top-10s from 26 starts there and was fifth in this race last season. Larson also has reason to be optimistic about his chances for wins this season. The team has been fast but hasn't had the luck to go along with the pace. Friday's qualifying was also good for Jones, and that gives him a good opportunity to add to his three top-10s from just five Phoenix starts. Remarkably, pole-sitter Blaney falls into the value section this week. Penske Racing has been the team to beat so far this season, and Blaney just needs to avoid mistakes to join his teammates with a win. Rounding off things are DiBenedetto and Dillon. Both drivers sit inside the top 25 in points. DiBenedetto should be capable of scoring his first top-20 at the circuit, while Dillon has two top-15 finishes from just six starts.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NASCAR Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NASCAR fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
DraftKings NASCAR: Hollywood Casino 400
DraftKings NASCAR: Hollywood Casino 400
Hollywood Casino 400 Preview: Cut to the Round of 8
Hollywood Casino 400 Preview: Cut to the Round of 8
NASCAR Barometer: Blaney Overcomes Spin to Win at Talladega
NASCAR Barometer: Blaney Overcomes Spin to Win at Talladega
DraftKings NASCAR: 1000Bulbs.com 500
DraftKings NASCAR: 1000Bulbs.com 500
1000Bulbs.com 500 Preview: The Wild Card of the Chase
1000Bulbs.com 500 Preview: The Wild Card of the Chase
NASCAR Barometer:  Drydene 400
NASCAR Barometer: Drydene 400