NASCAR heads west one last time this weekend when they go to the Arizona dessert for this weekend’s main event in Phoenix. And this race couldn’t come at a better time for Jimmie Johnson as he’s owned the flat tri-oval for quite sometime, while Denny Hamlin has been less than stellar at the 1-mile venue. So with that, lets review some history and see if we can figure out a winning lineup for your fantasy team this Sunday.
This weekends studs are Johnson and Kevin Harvick… again. Harvick has a pair of wins at PIR and has run a near-perfect Chase. There’s no reason to think he wont continue to do so. And another thing with Harvick, does anybody else think he’s more than willing to dump either Hamlin or Johnson if it wins him a championship? If he’s going to dump Johnson he’s got to catch him first and that’s easier said than done.
Johnson has won five of the last seven events here and his Chase finishes in the last four trips are first, first, first and second. And keep in mind those are races he essentially didn’t have to push too hard as he had comfortable points leads at that point. Both of these drivers post top-five runs.
Who Will Carry You
Well we ventured away from the regulars in this section last weekend and paid dearly for it as my mid-level drivers flat out sucked. So this week we’ll start by taking Mark Martin. The old man has four straight top-five runs at Phoenix with one of those being a win. For the season he has seven straight top 15s with three of those finishes in the top 10 giving him momentum and history. I say top 10 again this weekend.
After Martin we’ll go with Jamie McMurray. McMurray has been top 20 in four of last five races at PIR and since a rough stretch between Pocono in June and Daytona in July, he has run an awfully good season. Lets expect a top 15 from Jamie Mac. Now, having taken these four drivers you’ve got very few points left as Martin and McMurray are pricey sitting 13th and 14th in points.
That means you need a real el cheapo for your last pick and for that pick I give you: Casey Mears. I’ll give you a moment to stop laughing. But before dismissing him, consider this: he’s 36th in points making him basically free. He’s run top 20 in three of the last five races at PIR and has finished near the top 25 in seven of his last nine races. That’s not bad for a guy that costs nothing considering if he does finish 25th he’s probably going to beat three or four Chase drivers and Kasey Kahne. I say he really comes through and finishes between 17th and 22nd this Sunday.
Who Will Bury You
You are going to want to steer clear of Matt Kenseth this weekend. Yes he finished sixth in this event last year, but he was outside the top 15 in the four races prior to that and just doesn’t run well at these type of tracks. Leave him off your team Sunday.
Well there you go, a roster fit for a king despite having one big joker in there. Hopefully unlike my team that’s buried mid-pack you are at least within striking distance in your league. Just think of how you are going to gloat around the water cooler telling people Mears carried your team to victory at PIR and in the 2010 season. Tune in next week as we do a preview of NASCAR’s finale in Miami, where Harvick WILL dump Hamlin, Johnson or maybe even both to win his first championship.
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