RaceDayScore: Good Sam 500

RaceDayScore: Good Sam 500

This article is part of our RaceDayScore NASCAR series.

Good Sam 500 
Location: Avondale, Ariz. 
Course: Phoenix International Raceway 
Format: 1-mile oval 
Laps: 312 
Race Preview 
After two consecutive races on 1.5-mile ovals the NASCAR Sprint Cup series takes on the unique challenge of Phoenix International Raceway in the Good Sam 500 this week. This is the second leg of the Sprint Cup's "West Coast Swing" of three races. While Hendrick Motorsports and Jimmie Johnson were strong in both Atlanta and Las Vegas, the Penske Racing Fords rose to challenge in Las Vegas last week. It was Brad Keselowski who pieced together the fastest car in the closing laps to pass an ailing Kyle Busch in the final miles to take the win. However, fantasy players shouldn't count out Joe Gibbs Racing. Their drivers remain significant threats each week, and should be expected to be right in the mix this week in Phoenix. 
Key Stats at Phoenix International Raceway

  • Number of previous races: 39 
  • 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 
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 
2011 spring - Jeff Gordon 

Phoenix has been the playground of Kevin Harvick in recent years. The Stewart Haas Racing driver racked up seven career wins at the track, and has led more than 100 laps in every race here for the past two years. The unique layout functions more like a road course than the ovals we've visited the first three weeks of the season, and Harvick seems able to set up his car perfectly for that challenge. Teams need to compromise their chassis setup for certain corners to find the fastest total lap time around this different layout. The slippery desert track allows for plenty of passing and can be quite harsh on brakes. Preservation of equipment is a virtue for drivers wanting to score a win here, and track position often can be a determining factor. 
(Based on Standard $60K Salary Cap) 
Tier 1 Values 
Kevin Harvick - $12,000 
Jimmie Johnson - $11,100 
Denny Hamlin - $11,000 
Carl Edwards - $11,000 
Tier 2 Values 
Kurt Busch - $10,900 
Matt Kenseth - $10,800 
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,600 
Jamie McMurray - $10,400 
Tier 3 Values 
Aric Almirola - $9,900 
Greg Biffle - $9,800 
Austin Dillon - $9,400 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $9,000 
Long-Shot Values 
Chase Elliott - $9,500 
Ty Dillon - $8,800 
Casey Mears - $8,700 
David Ragan - $8,400 

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($60K Salary Cap) 

Kevin Harvick - $12,000 
Joey Logano - $11,400 
Jamie McMurray - $10,400 
Kasey Kahne - $10,000 
David Ragan - $8,400 
Landon Cassill - $7,500 

Two of the protagonists from last week's race head the lower-risk lineup option in Phoenix. Harvick is arguably the best driver in history at Phoenix, and he's the most expensive driver this week as a result. Logano ranks inside the top 10 drivers at the track when you run his statistics through Race Day Score's scoring scheme, and that earns him the second spot in this lineup. While McMurray has yet to score a top-10 finish this season, he finished second to Harvick in this race last season. The wait for his first top finish of the year may end this week. Kahne turned in a confidence-building top-10 last week in Las Vegas, and he won at this track in 2011. Lastly, Ragan and Cassill give fantasy players two drivers who have shown decent pace early in the season so far, but with lower prices to free up some salary room for the Harvicks and Loganos of the world. 
Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($60K Salary Cap) 

Brad Keselowski - $11,400 
Jimmie Johnson - $11,100 
Ryan Newman - $11,000 
Carl Edwards - $11,000 
Trevor Bayne - $8,100 
Michael Annett - $7,100 

By virtue of Penske's resurgence last week in Las Vegas, Keselowski appears poised to extend his good form to another top finish this week in Phoenix. He has only finished outside of the top 10 here once in the last eight races and that was an 11th-place finish. It's time for him to scoop his first winner's trophy at the track. Johnson has been exceptionally competitive in 2016. He has back-to-back top-five finishes heading into this week, where he has four career victories. Qualifying may be Newman's strong suit, but his Phoenix finishes have recently centered on top-10s, and he won here in 2010. With two Phoenix wins on his resume Edwards is another driver fantasy owners should consider, while Bayne landed a top-20 last week in Las Vegas despite starting 28th. Michael Annett rounds out the higher-risk lineup by virtue of his ability to finish higher than where he starts, which he has done in two of the first three races of the season.

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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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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