Driver Group Game Picks for Phoenix


The 2022 NASCAR Cup Season has been the wildest I have ever seen, but they made it to Phoenix and now it is time to crown a championship. Before I get into the Driver Group Game picks for the championship race, I want to say THANK YOU!!! My goal every year is to provide you the best picks and teach you a little bit about how to be a better Fantasy NASCAR player. I appreciate you giving me the chance to be your “Fantasy NASCAR Crew Chief.” The 2022 season is almost complete and I already cannot wait for the 2023 season. Now onto Phoenix….



This is Championship Weekend and that means NASCAR needs a Championship schedule. The Cup Series will have a 55 minute practice session and then they will be able to make adjustments before qualifying the nest day. This is how the schedule used to be and it is refreshing to see this schedule back for the races at Phoenix.

The Driver Group Game lineups do not lock until 8 a.m. ET Saturday. That means we get to see the 55-minute practice Friday night before we have to make our driver decisions for Phoenix. I will post my picks in this article, but be sure to check back Friday night to see if I made any updates to the picks.

Here are the picks for the NASCAR Championship 500





CHASE ELLIOTT is the only driver in Group A competing for the championship. The Championship Four usually finish up front in this race so Elliott is my top pick in Group A. Unfortunately; I am out of allocations with the No. 9 car. Elliott needs to be in your lineup if you have any allocations left this week. I would use Elliott for the race and Ryan Blaney for qualifying points if I could.

KEVIN HARVICK (9): It is hard to believe that I have not used Harvick in any races this year. I want a safe pick this week and it does not get any safer than “The King of Phoenix.” Harvick has finished 6th, 8th, 6th, 7th, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 1st, 5th, 6th, 4th, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st and 1st at Phoenix since he joined Stewart-Haas Racing (fourth-place average finish since 2013). Most people in the garage say that the Richmond race in August is a practice race for Phoenix. Harvick won that race and he finished fifth at New Hampshire in July. Harvick is almost a lock for a top-10 finish Sunday.

RYAN BLANEY (5): Blaney will be the best pick in Group A if the data from the spring race at Phoenix transfers to the race this week. Blaney dominated the first race in the desert this year. The No. 12 car won the pole, led 143 laps, won Stage 2 and finished fourth. Blaney also finished fourth in the Championship Race at Phoenix last year. Blaney won the pole at Phoenix, Richmond and New Hampshire this year so he will have a great chance to score bonus points for qualifying, even if your do not plan to use the No. 12 car in the race.

GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Chase Elliott 2) Ryan Blaney 3) Kevin Harvick 4) Kyle Larson 5) Denny Hamlin 6) Martin Truex Jr. 7) Kyle Busch



CHRISTOPHER BELL will be competing for the championship and he is my second-best driver in Group B (behind Joey Logano). Bell needs to be in your lineup if you have any allocations left with the No. 20 car. Bell has two walk-off wins this year. I would not be surprised if he gets his third Sunday. I would replace Brad Keselowski with Bell if I could.

JOEY LOGANO (1): I saved my last allocation with Logano for the Championship Race. Team Penske looked great at Phoenix in March with the No. 12 car. I am sure the notes from Ryan Blaney’s race at Phoenix at March will go to Logano this week. Logano finished 3rd the last time he competed for a championship at Phoenix. Logano led 222 laps and finished sixth at Richmond in August. He is going to be tough to beat Sunday.

ROSS CHASTAIN (1): Will Chastain do anything to win the championship? I think that question was answered Sunday at Martinsville. I still cannot believe what a saw him do on the last lap at Martinsville. Chastain finished second at Phoenix in March so he has the talent to run well at this track. He talent and his willing to put it all on the line will make Chastain a dangerous driver for the rest of the field Sunday.

CHASE BRISCOE (3): Briscoe just missed out on transferring to the Championship Four. He would have had a good chance to be the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series Champion if he could have made it to the final round of the playoffs. Briscoe won the race at Phoenix and Stewart-Haas Racing has been good on the short, flat tracks this year. I plan to have Briscoe in my lineup this week.

BRAD KESELOWSKI (6): I planned on using Keselowski a lot this year when the groups for the Driver Group Game were released in February. So far I have only used Keselowski at the Superspeedways. The No. 6 team has found some speed late in the season. Keselowski almost entered the race Sunday off back-to-back top-five finishes, but his car from Martinsville was disqualified because it did not meet the weight requirements. I will watch practice to see what kind of speed Keselowski has for the race Sunday. The final pick for Group B will likely come down to Aric Almirola, Bubba Wallace or Keselowski.

GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Joey Logano 2) Christopher Bell 3) Ross Chastain 4) Chase Briscoe 5) Brad Keselowski 6) Aric Almirola 7) Bubba Wallace 8) William Byron 9) Alex Bowman 10) Chris Buescher



DANIEL SUAREZ (1): I have one allocation left with Suarez and I plan to use it Sunday. He will be busy this weekend helping Ross Chastain find speed for his car, but Suarez should be fast too. He finished ninth at Phoenix in March and he finished ninth at New Hampshire this summer. He is my No. 1 driver for Group C before the cars are on the track for practice.

COLE CUSTER (6): Stewart-Haas racing has had a lot of speed on the short, flat tracks this year so I plan to take a chance with Custer Sunday. He finished 14th at Martinsville last week and he finished 16th at Phoenix in March. Custer is racing for a spot in the No. 41 car next year (he could be replaced by Ryan Preece), so Custer has a lot to race for Sunday. I will see how fast the No. 41 car is in practice. If Custer has good speed, I will roll the dice with him in the Championship race.  

GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Daniel Suarez 2) Cole Custer 3) Erik Jones 4) AJ Allmendinger 5) Austin Cindric





Good Luck This Week!

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