ISM Raceway is the first time we will see Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series cars with approximately 750 horsepower, no aero ducts or restrictor plates in 2019. ISM Raceway is located in Avondale, Ariz. just outside of Phoenix and it is going to be a wild Sunday afternoon. I consider it to be a short track in the desert and we saw tempers flare in qualifying. If that is anything like we will see on race day, anything can happen. Which is why I am here to give you some advice on how to make money on other people’s misfortunes (or fortune).
I won’t take away too much of your time, just keep in mind as you fill out your DFS lineups, these drivers may not be the fastest on speed, but the way cars handle in mid-draft make them a key contender to maximize your DFS Performance.
Below are some drivers to keep in mind when filling out your DFS lineups, you will see some questionable names amongst the usual suspects as the sport heads to Arizona.
FanDuel has put more emphasis on finishing position than other DFS sites. For this reason, FanDuel allows you to look at the entire field instead of just dominators and big movers.
Also, with only 0.1 points awarded for each lap led by a driver, the need for a dominator is less important when building a winning lineup. The 312-lap race will only have a total of 31.2 points up for grabs in this category. Take note when building your roster and focus on mid-pack competitors who can climb up toward the front on race day.
Here are a few drivers to keep an eye on for Sunday’s race.
ELITE TIER: $10,000 and up
Kevin Harvick ($14,500)
Career at ISM Raceway: 32 starts, 9 wins, 16 top fives, 21 top 10s
AVG Finish at ISM Raceway: 9.3
I think his statistics here say it all… A 50 percent top five finishing percentage means he is “kind of” fast in Arizona. He starts eighth, which gives him a bit of room for position differential and he is a fairly safe pick to get a great finish. Harvick hasn’t won yet this season and he has won by race No. 4 in every season since joining Stewart-Haas Racing. It’s race No. 4 and Happy Harvick is due for a win.
Kyle Larson – ($11,000)
Career at ISM Raceway: 10 starts, 0 wins, 3 top 5s, 4 top 10s
AVG Finish at ISM Raceway: 14.2
Kyle was third fastest in practice Friday, but the chaotic qualifying and some bad luck left the driver of the No. 42 starting from Row 16 in the 31st position come Sunday Afternoon. He has a ton of positions to gain and has shown speed in Phoenix in the past, if he can put together a solid race and stay clean driving through the field, Larson could be a solid points man at a fairly reasonable price.
Clint Bowyer ($10,400)
Career at ISM Raceway: 27 starts, 0 wins, 2 top 5s, 7 top 10s
AVG Finish at ISM Raceway: 19.0
It’s tough to judge the speed of Bowyer from Friday, only turning eight laps in opening practice, posting the 18th fastest lap time and similar problems (to Larson) left No. 14 on the outside looking in to Round 2 of qualifying. He will start 26th Sunday afternoon, which means he is going to gain you points driving up through the field. He has three top 15s in his four starts at ISM since taking the reins of the fourth SHR car. Could be a safe pick for a decent price.
Chase Elliott ($11,500) – He is fast here, once again. The only reason Chase is not in my starting lineup goes back to his starting position. Starting second, I don’t see Chase being able to lead enough laps to make up for the position differential the two drivers above can provide.
ALL-STAR TIER: $6,000 – $9,999
Alex Bowman – ($7,500)
Career at ISM Raceway: 7 starts, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 1 top 10
AVG Finish at ISM Raceway: 27.1
Remember when Bowman was filling in for Dale Jr. and had the race won before a late yellow flag? I guarantee he does. I am sure it is on his mind every time he comes back here and Hendrick Motorsports is due for a good run. All four of their Chevrolet’s were in the top 11 in practice Friday and Bowman qualified sixth. Expect him to stay up front all day and lead laps. I expect a top five from the No. 88.
Daniel Suárez – ($7,400)
Career at ISM Raceway: 4 starts, 0 wins, 0 top 5s, 2 top 10s
AVG Finish at ISM Raceway: 17.2
Kiss Stealin’, Wheelin’ and Dealin’, Jet Flyin’, Ford Mustang Drivin’? Sorry, I forgot we were preparing for a NASCAR race and not Wrestlemania. What a take down?! Okay but seriously, Suárez was 16th in opening practice and probably would’ve been a contender to make it to the final round of qualifying if his hot lap wasn’t impeded in Round No. 1. He is more than determined to run well and if there wasn’t enough fuel in the fire to perform well, there is now. He will gain a ton of positions from 28th and I bet he will be a contender when it comes down to it on Sunday.
BARGAIN TIER: $5,999 and below
One-Time Weekly Bets
Chase Elliott – 10/1
Denny Hamlin – 15/1
Ryan Blaney – 33/1