Early Week Driver Rankings for Phoenix

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The MENCS travels across the country for another flat track race at ISM Raceway (Phoenix). This is the final chance for the playoff drivers to secure a spot in the championship race next week. Joey Logano, and Kevin Harvick have their spots secure. Who will join them in the final four? You can see the race at 2:30pm ET on NBC.

The MENCS will have a normal schedule this week. There will be one practice Friday (1:35pm ET on NBCSN) and two practices Saturday (11:30pm on CNBC and 3pm ET on NBCSN). Qualifying will be Friday evening at 7pm ET on NBCSN.

The race this week at Phoenix could be a lot different from what we have seen in the past at ISM Raceway. The track did not change. It still has the same banking (or lack or banking) and the shape is the same. The start finish line was moved from what was the front-stretch to the backstretch. That could change how the drivers race to the flag at the end of the Stages and the race.

There is an open space on the new front-stretch (called the dogleg). Drivers often take a shortcut through the apron to try and gain track position. This week drivers will likely dive-bomb through the apron and slide onto the track at the start, finish line. This could make this race a lot wilder than it usually is.

My early week pick for the pole is Chase Elliott. I am going out on a limb here but I have a good feeling about Elliott this week. He qualified 3rd for the spring race at Phoenix and this team has a lot more speed than they had when the season began. Elliott also qualified 2nd for this race last year. The No. 9 car will have a great chance 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 the results from the flat track races, driver ranking at the flat tracks, average finishing position at Phoenix,  driver ranking for the season, and driver ranking over the last 6 races (We want drivers who have momentum).

Here are the early week driver rankings for Phoenix…

Driver

1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Chase Elliott
4. Joey Logano
5. Martin Truex Jr.
6. Erik Jones
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Brad Keselowski
9. Aric Almirola
10. Kurt Busch
11. Denny Hamlin
12. Kyle Larson
13. Ryan Newman
14. Alex Bowman
15. Daniel Suarez
16. Ryan Blaney
17. Jimmie Johnson
18. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
19. Jamie McMurray
20. Austin Dillon
21. William Byron
22. Matt Kenseth
24. Paul Menard
25. AJ Allmendinger
26. Regan Smith
27. Ty Dillon
28. David Ragan
29. Michael McDowell
30. Chris Buescher
31. Bubba Wallace
32. Matt Dibenedetto
33. Ross Chastain
34. Corey Lajioe
35. J.J. Yeley
36. Landon Cassill
37. Reed Sorenson
38. Jeffrey Earnhardt
39. Joey Gase
40. Timmy Hill

* I will post my final driver rankings after qualifying Saturday evening.

 

*Stats from Driveraverages.com and career stats from Racing-Reference.Info

 

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