The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series continues its western swing Sunday with the Camping World 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Phoenix is the fourth stop on the schedule for the Daily Fantasy NASCAR season and Frontstretch will be your go-to source when building your 2017 DraftKings lineups.
The strategy this week will be similar to last. Intermediate tracks are all about finding “dominators” for your DraftKings roster. A dominator is a driver who will run up front, lead laps, and generate fast laps for extra bonuses.
Alternatively, for the middle to backend of lineups, it’s crucial to find a driver that performed poorly in qualifying and could work his way up the field for those coveted position differential points.
Without further ado, here are two hot-start picks for this weekend….
Kevin Harvick ($11,100)
Career at Phoenix: 28 Starts, 8 Wins, 13 Top Fives (46.4%), 17 Top 10s (60.7%)
Average finish: 10.0
Qualifying Position: 23rd
Phoenix is by far Harvick’s best track. He holds the all-time wins record with eight in 28 starts. Five of those wins are in the last seven races, all but one of which have come with his current No. 4 team. In the other two events, he ran second and fourth.
During his win last spring, Harvick accumulated 135.75 DK points, the highest total of all drivers for the race. He finished first after starting 18th (+17 PDPts) , led 139 laps (34.75 pts), and had 76 of the fastest laps (38 pts).
Harvick will start 23rd for the Camping World 500 on Sunday. It’s almost inevitable he will make his way towards the front before long. On top of the high potential for fastest laps and laps led, Harvick will generate a huge position differential playday. If he finished first, he would end with +22 points. Even if he were to finish 10th, his average at the track, he will still come away with +13 points.
Harvick was already going to be a hot-start regardless of starting position. But this weekend, he has the rare chance of being both a dominator and a high mover.
Denny Hamlin ($9,200)
Career at Phoenix: 23 Starts, 1 Win, 10 Top Fives (43.5%), 13 Top 10s (56.5%)
Average finish: 10.9
Qualifying Position: 19th
Hamlin is in the midst of a three race top-10 streak at Phoenix, which includes a third-place finish in this race one year ago.
In that event, Hamlin started third and finished third, so he did not generate any position differential points. However, he did pick up 41 points for third, recording seven fastest laps (3.5 pts). He finished with 44.5 points overall, good for sixth best on the day.
Hamlin has finished in the top 10 13 times and in the top five 10 times over a span of 23 races. He won here in the spring of 2012, his only victory at the track. But he ranks sixth out of all active drivers in average finish and average running position at Phoenix.
Don’t let his poor qualifying effort deter you from looking his way on Draftkings. Following MENCS qualifying Friday night, Hamlin mentioned on Twitter he ran over a piece of debris during his second round run, resulting in a flat right rear tire and the 19th starting spot for Sunday. The No. 11 Toyota is plenty fast and should find its way through traffic easily.
Even though the NASCAR season is already underway, there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action at DraftKings. Each week of the NASCAR season, courtesy of Frontstretch, you can enter to win BIG cash prizes just by picking a team of 6 drivers. You pick, you play, you win, it’s that simple.