9th race of the 2017 Monster Energy Cup Series playoffs; 3rd race of the round of 8 (Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, Brad Keslowski, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Chase Elliott) after this race only 4 will remain.
Playoff update – Just 2 races remain this season. Kevin Harvick’s win last week opens up the field to 4 teams who are now in the final 2 races fighting for the win, the front runner (Martin Truex Jr.) is the only one who doesn’t have a NASCAR Cup Series Championship to his name. The other three: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Brad Keslowski were the only non-Jimmy Johnson winners over the last 5 years.
What: Can-Am 500
When: November 12th
Where: Phoenix International Speedway
2016 Winner: Joey Logano
Track: Phoenix International Raceway opened in 1964. It runs at 1 mile asphalt track with turns curving between 8-11 degrees. Home to the Camping World 500 and CanAm 500 later in the playoffs, the desert is surrounded by Estrella Mountains. The introduction of a dog-leg coupled with bumping up the angle slightly on two turns to allow for more side by side racing due to the speed around the turns and multi-grooves.
Kyle Busch. The winner of 3 races this post season finds himself at Phoenix where he has finished in the top 5 each of the last 3 races here (4th and 2nd last year and 3rd earlier this year at the Camping World 500.
Kyle Larson. I am obstinate about the fact that he has to come down to earth again one of these races. He has three straight wrecks/DNF culminating in his car literally catching fire last week at Texas Motor Speedway. He has a good record here with a 12th and 3rd place finish last year and 3rd place finish this year.
Ryan Blaney. He finished 10th and 8th here last year, he finished 23rd earlier this year, but has three straight top 10 finishes going in his favor. I think he could be a top 5 finisher down the stretch at Phoenix.
Daniel Suarez. 7th here earlier this year he came back down to Earth a bit over his last 3 races after starting the playoffs with 3 top 10’s in the first 4 races. I still think he’s a solid top 12 pick this week. Erik Jones wouldn’t be a bad backup if you have some starts left over there.
Ryan Newman. I am out of Kyle Larson starts so I will be using the “Ryan’s” as my B-Drivers. Newman finished 12th here during the playoffs last year and he was the winner here earlier this year. He has seen an up and down playoff run and I’m anticipating a 12th place finish.
Year to date stats:
A Drivers: Avg Finish 12th (31st percentile)
B Drivers: Avg Finish 15th (41st percentile)
C Drivers: Avg Finish 18th (48th percentile)
Dark Horse Drivers: Avg Finish 19th (50th percentile)