Brief Playoff overview: The first three races will taper the 16 eligible playoff drivers down to 12. The next three races bring the field down to 8. Three more races will bring it to the final four who have one race at Homestead-Miami to decide who the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series Champion will be.
Race: Can-Am 500
Date: November 11th
Venue: ISM Raceway
2017 Winner: Matt Kenseth (2:57:23)
Broadcast: NBC (Rick Allen, Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Steve Letarte)
Most Wins: Kevin Harvick (4)
ISM Raceway opened in 1964. It runs at 1 mile low bank asphalt track with turns curving between 8-11 degrees. Home to the Ticket Guardian 500 and Can-Am 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.
1) Kevin Harvick (9th selection this year). Fresh off a win he now goes to ISM where he leads the circuit in wins.
2) Kyle Busch (7th selection this year). He has one of the best average finishes here over the last four years, I have enough starts left to ride him out so consider him a lock for the next two races.
High Risk/High Reward
3) Jamie McMurray (7th selection this year) avg. finish of 12th place over the last 5 years at ISM. Recent finishes have all been in the teens, hoping for a good rebound here.
4) Jimmie Johnson (6th selection this year). 100% gut feeling he’s going to have a good race, no real stats backing this up.
Icons. Champions. Teammates.— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) November 4, 2018
Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus on their 600th start together. pic.twitter.com/8MPkHqhpwD
5) Ryan Blaney (7th selection this year). He raced hard at Texas, I’m curious if it can carry into Phoenix. His car looked very good,
Favorites: avg finish 10th (27th percentile)
High Risk/Reward: avg finish 16th place (41st percentile)
Dark Horse: avg finish 18th place (48th percentile)
The rules I have implemented for myself are:
- I will not pick a driver more than 10 times this season.
- Due to #1 these are “Power Rankings” (in quotations) I’m looking for value here.
My general format for my power rankings:
- Top 2 picks will generally be the favorites, the ones who should be top 5 or top 10 finished
- #3 and #4 will be your riskier picks, could be top 5 or bottom 15.
- Pick #5 is the dark horse.