Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2024 Shriners Children’s 500

Well, Las Vegas certainly didn’t disappoint from a fantasy aspect.

Last weekend, Kyle Larson picked up a dominant win for my squad, despite poor showings from Todd Gilliland and Christopher Bell. This is a whole new week though, and as a fantasy player, you should never rest on your laurels.

The ‘West Coast swing’ wraps up with the Shriners Children’s 500 from Phoenix Raceway. This D-shaped oval is located in the heart of the desert, with beautiful backdrops aplenty and intense short track/intermediate racing on its surface.

Its hybrid nature makes for a huge challenge on a crew chief to set a car up for 500 kilometers, and whoever figures out the perfect balance will see the most success on Sunday (March 10). Last season, William Byron and Ross Chastain won the spring and fall races, respectively, and Ryan Blaney rode out of the desert a champion.

There will be one practice session before qualifying takes place, which will give the teams an opportunity to get dialed in. Track position will be crucial as to who will produce the most from a fantasy perspective, as the short track elements of Phoenix Raceway make for tough passing late in a run.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about this track is the huge dogleg right before the start/finish line. Restarts get pretty wild, as it presents the best passing opportunity before the tires begin to go away. These drivers will be three-, four-, five- and even six-wide to the inside wall while trying to gain spots.

Coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday on FOX.

Fantasy Forecast

Here’s the DraftKings scoring format:

Points will be awarded on DraftKings for finishing position, position differential, fastest laps and laps led. The driver who wins the race scores 45 fantasy points, while second gets 42 points, third gets 41 points and so on, at least through the top 10. The 11th-place finisher scores 32 points, 21st gets 21 points and 31st gets 10 points.

However many spots they lose or gain on the track is added to or subtracted from the score. Then, if the driver leads a lap, they will earn 0.25 points for each lap led and 0.45 points for each fastest lap.

DraftKings NASCAR Scoring Rules

Here’s my lineup for this week. I think you have to go with powerhouse names if you’re going to win; managing the salary cap will be of utmost importance.

See also
4 Burning Questions: Will NASCAR Finally Get New Short Track Package Right?

Ryan Blaney ($11,200)

Stats that matter: three straight runner-up finishes at Phoenix, career average finish of 11.6 at Phoenix and two top fives in the first three races of 2024.

I mean, Blaney’s due. Right?

He’s been red-hot to start the 2024 campaign, and he has shown plenty of speed to boot. He’s also been carrying the flag for Ford this season, who has seen its share of struggles.

Now bear in mind, Blaney has no Cup wins at Phoenix. He does, however have an amazing record here with not only the three straight runner-up finishes, but a career average starting spot of 6.1.

From a fantasy perspective, he’s a lock to score in fast laps, laps led, and finishing position. You have to take YRB this weekend.

Ross Chastain ($9,000)

Stats that matter: Won the 2023 season finale at Phoenix, three top five finishes in his last four starts at Phoenix and two top 10s in the first three races of 2024.

Once again this week, I’m betting on Chastain having a great run in the desert.

Sure, this is a different desert than last week, but like Blaney, he is on a hot streak of his own. If not for mistakes in the Daytona 500 and last weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he may have two wins already this season.

Phoenix has always been kind to Chastain while he’s been with Trackhouse. Ever since joining the team in 2022, he has 3 top fives including last season’s win. The only outlier was when Denny Hamlin ran him up the track late in last year’s spring race.

Chastain will be out to get that win this weekend, and as everyone knows, he’ll do anything to get it. Bet on that tenacity when filling out your lineup.

Kyle Busch ($9,200)

Stats that matter: three career Phoenix wins, 26 career top ten finishes in 37 starts at Phoenix and four top ten finishes in his last five races at Phoenix.

Rowdy sure has a good record at Phoenix.

He’s finished in the top ten there in an incredible 70% of his starts. I feel like that alone is enough to warrant his spot here. Though, as is the case with a few tracks on the calendar, his time with RCR has produced a mixed bag in his lone season with the team.

He finished eighth last spring and a disappointing 25th in the fall.

As long as the No. 8 is tuned to Busch’s liking, he’ll be one to watch for sure on Sunday.

Chase Briscoe ($7,800)

Stats that matter: one career win at Phoenix, three top tens in his last 4 starts at Phoenix and a career average finish of 15.5 at Phoenix.

The first of two (yes, two!) SHR drivers on this list, this is undoubtedly Briscoe’s best track. His only career win came at Phoenix in 2022, and he had one of the highlights of his season there last year with a seventh-place finish.

Briscoe is looking to make his mark as the senior driver at his organization. To come to his best track and run well could very well be the first step in that direction.

Briscoe has shown good speed so far this season, even if he only has one top ten to show for it. At $7,800, he’s a steal.

See also
Friday Faceoff: Is the Single Lug Nut a Success or a Failure?

Noah Gragson ($6,600)

Stats that matter: Finished sixth last week at Las Vegas, one career Xfinity Series win at Phoenix and two top tens in three races this season.

Are you surprised to see Gragson here? Because I am.

Gragson is on a bit of a roll himself as of late, finishing ninth at Daytona and sixth at Las Vegas. The pressure of proving that he belongs is something he appears to be thriving on thus far in 2024.

His lone Cup Series start at Phoenix was very underwhelming, but that was in a lame-duck year for Legacy Motor Club. He does have a win in there in the Xfinity Series, though.

Look for Gragson to keep it going out in Phoenix.

Carson Hocevar ($6,000)

Stats that matter: two straight top-20 finishes to start 2024 and an average start of 19.3 in 2024.

Okay, so this one is a flier.

I have no statistics to back up taking Hocevar this week. He never won at Phoenix while in the Craftsman Truck Series, and his most recent finish was 29th in last season’s finale.

This was all the salary I had left to give, but I think Hocevar is a good use of the money. He’s amassed two straight top 20 finishes at both Atlanta Motor Speedway and Las Vegas, and at times he’s looked incredible behind the wheel.

Prop Bets and Locks

My betting slip was another heartbreaker last week, and Bell’s tire failure early last weekend ruined any chance I had at some cash. But fear not dear reader, as it’s a brand-new week!

  1. Byron (+200) to finish in the top three: The defending winner of this race in 2023 has had a really good start to this season outside of a freak accident with a trash bag at Las Vegas and a crash at Atlanta. Look for driver No. 24 to rebound this weekend.
  2. Brad Keselowski (+100) to finish in the top 10: Keselowski has never won at Phoenix in his career, and he hasn’t had a top ten finish at the track since 2021. But he’s getting closer and closer to that mark after finishing 15th last fall. I think he’s going to keep it up and find that top 10 on Sunday.
  3. Chase Elliott (+100) vs. Denny Hamlin (-130): Elliott has yet to finish in the top 10 in any race this season, and Hamlin has only been able to grab one. I think it’s past time that the 2020 champion finds a good result and gets the better finish.

That’s all I have for this week. Good luck and happy betting!

About the author

Garrett joined Frontstretch as a news writer in 2023, and became a fantasy racing and betting writer in 2024. Hailing from the heart of coal country in southern West Virginia,  he's a married father of three and currently enrolled in the Physical Therapy Assistant Program at New River Community Technical College in Beaver, WV. He has been a racing fan since 1998, primarily watching NASCAR, but branching out to F1 and IndyCar as his love for motorsports has grown.

Follow on X @Cook_g9

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter

A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Share via