DFS NASCAR: Season Finale 500

DFS NASCAR: Season Finale 500

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Season Finale 500

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

Race Preview

Chase Elliott's win last week at Martinsville Speedway locked him into this weekend's championship finale. While Elliott was celebrating in Victory Lane, Kevin Harvick was left stunned with an unprecedented fall from second in the playoff standings to below the cutline and out of the championship hunt. Brad Keselowski was the benefactor of that fall, while Denny Hamlin also did what he needed to do to remain in the championship fight. 

This week the series closes the book on its 2020 season with a final visit to Phoenix International Raceway, which is the first time Phoenix will host the finale after taking over from Homestead-Miami Speedway. Joey Logano won at the track in March and declared himself the favorite in the days leading up to the race weekend. He will start on the front row alongside Chase Elliott, with Keselowski and Hamlin behind them in row 2. The interrupted and unique 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season comes to a close this Sunday.

Key Stats at Phoenix Raceway

  • Number of races: 48
  • Winners from pole: 4
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 17
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 25
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 4
  • Fastest race: 118.132 mph

Previous 10 Phoenix Winners

2020 spring - Joey Logano
2019 fall - Denny Hamlin
2019 spring - Kyle Busch
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.

Phoenix Raceway is a flat 1.0-mile oval with unique turns at every end of the track. Without a yellow-line rule, drivers will have the whole of the surface to find the place their cars work best through the turns. Setups likely will be a compromise between different areas of the track to maximize speed throughout an entire lap. Passing can occur on corner entry and through the turns. The ability of drivers to move around the track could make this season finale one more exciting ones in recent memory. Due to its flat profile, grip is a premium consideration. Drivers will want to opt for four-tire stops, but late cautions will likely draw out teams willing to gamble on two- or no-tire stops to gain track position. For that reason, the winner may ultimately have to weather multiple late-race restarts.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kevin Harvick - $11,100
Brad Keselowski - $10,800
Chase Elliott - $10,600
Denny Hamlin - $10,300
Joey Logano - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Ryan Blaney - $9,800
Kyle Busch - $9,600
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
Alex Bowman - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kurt Busch - $8,800
Erik Jones - $8,600
William Byron - $8,600
Clint Bowyer - $7,900

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Aric Almirola - $7,800
Christopher Bell - $7,300
Cole Custer - $6,900
Ryan Newman - $6,500

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $10,000
Alex Bowman - $9,000
Kurt Busch - $8,800
Clint Bowyer - $7,900
Christopher Bell - $7,300
Cole Custer - $6,900

Joey Logano (DK $10,000, FD $13,300) thinks he is the championship favorite this weekend. He won at Phoenix earlier this season and has had the most time to prepare for this weekend. He has two series wins at the track and has finished 10th or better in the last three. Alex Bowman (DK $9,000, FD $10,000) has been on fire. He has top-10 finishes in each of the last four races and should be viewed as a playoff contender for seasons to come. He only has one top-10 at Phoenix from 10 starts, however. This week should see some upside out of him given his recent momentum. Kurt Busch (DK $8,800, FD $10,800) has been an excellent fantasy option at this track. He won in 2005 and has tallied 20 top-10 finishes from 35 starts on the oval. Clint Bowyer (DK $7,900, FD $9,600) will trade his seat behind the wheel for one behind the camera next season. Phoenix gives him a great chance to go out on a high note. He has never won at the track, but he does have nine top-10s from 30 starts, including fifth there in March. Rookie Christopher Bell (DK $7,300, FD $8,000) only has one series start at Phoenix, but he won there in the Xfinity Series in the fall of 2018. Fellow rookie Cole Custer (DK $6,900, FD $8,500) won earlier this season and scored an impressive ninth-place Phoenix finish last time out. He presents good value for the price this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,100
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
Erik Jones - $8,800
Aric Almirola - $7,800
Ryan Newman - $6,500
Michael McDowell - $6,300

Kevin Harvick (DK $11,100, FD $12,300) is usually the top fantasy choice in Phoenix. However, he was just bounced out of the championship picture and hasn't won at the desert circuit since the spring of 2018. Fantasy players should expect him to go out with something to prove this weekend, however. Sunday will also be the finale of Jimmie Johnson's (DK $9,300, FD $10,500) full-time NASCAR career. He heads to IndyCar in 2021, and one final win at a track at which he has won four previous times would  be the cherry on top of a storied career. Erik Jones (DK $8,800, FD $9,000) has proven himself and earned a spot in the series next season. After tough finishes at Texas and Kansas he came back with a 12th-place finish last week at Martinsville. Jones has four top-10s from eight Phoenix starts. Aric Almirola (DK $7,800, FD $9,800) has been a good option for fantasy rosters at Phoenix for many seasons. His second top-10 at the track came in the fall of 2017 and he scored four more top-10s in the five races at the track since, including two top-fives. Ryan Newman (DK $6,500, FD $7,800) is a two-time Phoenix winner. His wins came in 2010 and 2017, and he has three finishes of 12th or better at the track in the last five races. Michael McDowell (DK $6,300, FD $5,000) takes the final spot on this roster. He has 19 career starts at Phoenix and has finished 16th twice in his last four visits.

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.
NASCAR Barometer: Elliott Wins Phoenix and 2020 Championship
NASCAR Barometer: Elliott Wins Phoenix and 2020 Championship
DFS NASCAR Xfinity: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200
DFS NASCAR Xfinity: Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 200
DFS NASCAR Trucks: Lucas Oil 150
DFS NASCAR Trucks: Lucas Oil 150
Season Finale 500 Preview: Crowning the Champion
Season Finale 500 Preview: Crowning the Champion
NASCAR Barometer: Elliott Wins to Race for Title in Phoenix
NASCAR Barometer: Elliott Wins to Race for Title in Phoenix
DFS NASCAR: Xfinity 500
DFS NASCAR: Xfinity 500