The MENCS competes at ISM Raceway (I call it Phoenix) this week in the Ticket Guardian 500(k). This is one of the shortest races of the season so track position will be very important. I would not recommend using any driver who starts outside the top 20 unless he is your only option.
Here are my picks for Phoenix…
Kevin Harvick (8): Harvick has been the master at Phoenix since the track was reconfigured in 2011. He has won 6 of the 11 races and led 1,167 laps. Harvick lost some of him mojo the in the last three races at Phoenix, but I expect him to get it back this week. The No. 4 team is looking like the team from the 2014 and 2015 seasons. That is bad news for the competition. Harvick led 855 laps in those four races and had an average finishing position of 1.25. He is a great driver for your team this week.
Group A Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Kyle Busch 3) Kyle Larson 4) Denny Hamlin 5) Martin Truex Jr. 6) Brad Keselowski 7) Joey Logano 8) Jimmie Johnson
Chase Elliott (8): Elliott has not won a race in the MENCS yet, but that could change Sunday. Elliott had one of the cars to beat in the November race at Phoenix. He finished second, but he said he learned a lot from that race. Elliott has looked very fast in practice and he starts 3rd this week. Phoenix ranks as his 4th best track so do not worry about burning an allocation with him.
Jamie McMurray (8): It was a gut call to put McMurray on my team this week. I have not hears McMurray as excited for a race weekend as much as he was in his post-race interview at Las Vegas. McMurray was excited to race in the Xfinity Series and MENCS races at one of his favorite tracks. McMurray qualified 8th and looked fast in practice. If you have him on your roster you need to use him and save an allocation with one of your better drivers.
Group B Rankings: 1) Chase Elliott 2) Erik Jones 3) Jamie McMurray 4) Aric Almirola 5) Austin Dillon 6) Ryan Newman 7) Paul Menard 8) Clint Bowyer
Alex Bowman (7): Bowman is a must start this week. Phoenix is his best track and it is not even close. He won the pole, led 194 laps and finished 6th at Phoenix in the same car he will be driving Sunday. Bowman qualified 4th and looks like he will have a chance to finish in the top five again this week.
Group C Rankings: 1) Alex Bowman 2) William Byron 3) Michael McDowell 3) Chris Buescher 4) Darrell Wallace Jr. 5) David Ragan
Good luck this week!
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