Race: Season Finale 500
Date: November 8th
Venue: Phoenix Raceway
2019 Winner: Denny Hamlin (2:48:00)
Phoenix Raceway opened in 1964. It runs at one mile low bank asphalt track with turns curving between eight and 11 degrees. The desert is surrounded by Estrella Mountains. The tri-oval formation is a shape similar to Talladega, Daytona, and to a much lesser degree Poconos. 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.
Technically I’m maxed out on most of these racers but here are my power rankings for the final four racers on the last race of the year:
#1) Denny Hamlin (the favorite) — While Hamlin has the worst recent record coming into Phoenix (just one top 10 finish in his last four races), he is a monster at Phoenix. Here are Denny’s last five finishes here: 5th, 1st, 4th, 13th and 10th. This track is similar to Talladega and Daytona, Denny has finished 1st, 1st, 3rd and 4th at those races this season.
#2) Brad Keslowski (the safe pick) — Keslowski has seven top 10 finishes at Phoenix over the last six years. He also has three straight top seven finishes going into Phoenix (the only driver to have this).
#3) Chase Elliott (the all or none) — Elliott has a vast up and down at Phoenix where he has finished as high as 2nd and as low as 39th here over the last three years. Likewise, his recent two races ended in a 20th place and 1st place finish.
#4) Joey Logano (the late bloomer) — Logano has the best recent record with three finishes inside the top three over his last four races. However, hee also has had a troublesome record at Phoenix, finishing 10th, 9th, 19th, 37th and 31st in his last five races.
Normal Picks for the last race of the year
Kyle Busch (favorite) — Busch’s last five races at Phoenix are all top 3 finishes. He also has three consecutive top 10’s coming into this weekend.
Ryan Blaney (high risk high reward) — Blaney finished 37th at Phoenix earlier this year. If you look at comparable tracks like Talladega and Daytona he finished top 10 three times at those tracks this season. He finished 3rd at Phoenix twice last year.
Aric Almirola (dark horse) — Three top 10 finishes here over the last two years.
Fun Fact: Brad Keslowski and Joey Logano have each won a NASCAR Cup series which means half the field could potentially win their first championship.
Favorite: Avg Finish 11th (27th Percent)
High Risk/High Reward: Avg Finish 16th (40th Percent)
Dark Horse: Avg Finish 19th (48th Percent)