DraftKings NASCAR: Can-Am 500

DraftKings NASCAR: Can-Am 500

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Can-Am 500

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

Race Preview

Carl Edwards' win in Texas means just two spots remain open for Chase drivers to fight for this week in Phoenix. Both Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick are in must-win situations to keep their championship hopes alive, and this week's race taking place in Phoenix may give Harvick the edge. The Stewart Haas Racing driver won at the track earlier this season and has six of the last eight victories at the track. The points battle among the other Chase contenders without a win couldn't be much tighter, though. Four drivers are segregated by just two points, and that's sure to add an extra layer of excitement and intrigue to this week's race. It's the final chance for those drivers to earn a spot in the winner-take-all finale, and entire seasons are on the line in this week's penultimate race of the 2016 season.

Key Stats at Phoenix International Raceway

Number of previous races: 40
Winners from pole: 4
Winners from top-5 starters: 14
Winners from top-10 starters: 19
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 3
Fastest race: 118.132 mph

Last 10 Phoenix Winners

2016 spring - Kevin Harvick
2015 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2015 spring - Kevin Harvick
2014 fall - Kevin Harvick
2014 spring - Kevin Harvick
2013 fall - Kevin Harvick
2013 spring - Carl Edwards
2012 fall - Kevin Harvick
2012 spring - Denny Hamlin
2011 fall - Kasey Kahne

Phoenix International Raceway is a unique 1.0-mile oval. The shape and different corners make the course seem more like a road course than an oval, which can be a challenge as teams search for an ideal setup on the relatively flat circuit. Kevin Harvick has nailed the setup more frequently than any other driver at the track, and victories have come in spades. The track favors significant corner grip, but teams must build adjustability into their setups. The track changes dramatically as rubber is built up and the sun beats down. Track position at the end of the race distance could play a significant factor in determining the outcome, which means mistakes on pit road could prove extremely costly as driver jockey for the ideal spot on late restarts.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,600
Kyle Busch - $10,400
Joey Logano - $10,200

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Denny Hamlin - $9,900
Jimmie Johnson - $9,700
Brad Keselowski - $9,500
Matt Kenset - $9,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kyle Larson - $8,900
Chase Elliott - $8,700
Austin Dillon - $8,200
Kasey Kahne -$8,000

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Tony Stewart - $7,500
Alex Bowman - $6,900
Trevor Bayne - $6,800
Casey Mears - $5,900

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $10,600
Jimmie Johnson - $9,700
Kurt Busch - $8,400
Tony Stewart - $7,500
Greg Biffle - $7,000
Aric Almirola - $6,700

Whenever the Sprint Cup series visits Phoenix Harvick will be at the top of the favorites list. With six wins from the last eight races there, it isn't hard to see why. Johnson is picking up steam as the finale at Homestead approaches. He has four Phoenix wins, and will want to bring as much momentum into the final race as possible. While Kurt Busch has been one of the more quiet names in the Chase, he has to go for the win this weekend. He's behind in the standings, but adding a second Phoenix win to his resume on Sunday would see him through in the championship battle. With just two races remaining in Tony Stewart's full-time Sprint Cup career the former champion will be anxious to leave on a high. He won at Phoenix in 1999 and has an average finish at the track of 14th. Biffle and the Roush Fenway Racing organization have shown some progress in returning to the top of the order. Biffle has enjoyed some of those moments and has a 15th-place average finish at Phoenix. The last driver in the lower-risk lineup, Almirola, has just one top-10 at Phoenix, but that was in this race last year. He finished 13th at the track earlier this season.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,400
Joey Logano - $10,200
Carl Edwards - $9,100
Ryan Blaney - $7,700
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,300
David Ragan - $5,300

The higher-risk fantasy option for the Can-Am 500 is a risk in that Harvick isn't included. Instead, Kyle Busch leads the pack with one Phoenix win and 75 laps led there earlier this season. Logano brings five top-10 Phoenix finishes in the last six races and is the best positioned to advance to Homestead among the nonwinners. Last week's winner, Edwards, has two Phoenix wins along with a runner-up finish there earlier this season. Blaney's close to the 2016 season hasn't been as strong as his start but he scored a top-10 at Phoenix earlier this season, which should give him the confidence needed to perform well this week. Finally, Stenhouse and Ragan round out the lineup. Stenhouse scored four top-20s in the last five races. Ragan has one top-10 at Phoenix and has finished better than where he started in four of the last five events at the track.

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.
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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.
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