Early Week Driver Rankings for Phoenix


This is it… The final chance for the playoff drivers to secure their spot in the championship race at Homestead is already here. Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick already have their tickets. Who will be the two drivers to join them? The newly reconfigured track at ISM created some exciting racing in the spring. I expect it to be even better this week. The Bluegreen Vacations 500 can be seen Sunday at 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC.

NASCAR will have a normal schedule this week. There will be two practices Friday. The first practice is at 2 p.m. ET (NBCSN) and final practice will be at 5 p.m. ET (NBCSN).  Qualifying will be Saturday at 12 p.m. ET (NBCSN). The cars will be inspected Saturday before qualifying so we do not have to worry about any cars failing inspection and starting from the back this week.

* I will provide Garage Talk Notes this week but the article will only consist of stats to help your prepare for the race. I will not be available Friday night to monitor the radios and get info from the Garage.

The cars will have the 750 HP engines with the 2” splitter, 8” spoiler and no aero ducts this week. It is the same package they used in all of the short, flat tracks this season. The drivers who ran well at Phoenix in the spring and the races at New Hampshire and Richmond should be up front Sunday.

My early week pick for the pole is Kyle Busch. The No. 18 car started 4th in the spring race at Phoenix and it has quailed in the top 4 in all of the races on the short, flat tracks this season. Busch won the pole for the first race on the reconfigured track at Phoenix last November. He is almost a lock to start on the front row Sunday.

Each week I use different stats in my model to create the best rankings possible to give you an edge on the completion. This week I used Driver Ratings at the short, flat tracks, Average Running Position at short, flat  tracks, Driver Rating at the Phoenix, Average Running Position at Phoenix, Green Flag Passes in the short, flat track races this season and momentum from the last 4 non-Superspedway oval track races.


Here are the early week driver rankings for Phoenix…


1. Kyle Busch
2. Denny Hamlin
3. Kyle Larson
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Chase Elliott
7. Ryan Blaney
8. Joey Logano
9. Aric Almirola
10. Brad Keselowski
11. Kurt Busch
12. Clint Bowyer
13. Erik Jones
14. Ryan Newman
15. Jimmie Johnson
16. Matt DiBenedetto
17. Austin Dillon
18. William Byron
19. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
20. Daniel Suarez
21. Alex Bowman
22. Darrell Wallace Jr.
23. Paul Menard
24. Ty Dillon
25. Chris Buescher
26. Michael McDowell
27. David Ragan
28. Daniel Hemric
29. John H. Nemechek
30. Ryan Preece
31. Corey Lajoie
32. Parker Kligerman
33. Landon Cassill
34. Ross Chastian
35. J.J. Yeley
36. Quin Houff
37. Bayley Currey
38. Garrett Smithley
39. Timmy Hill


* I will post my final driver rankings Saturday night.

**Stats from Driveraverages.com and NASCAR Media. Career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

*** Photos from NASCAR Media


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