Fantasy Live Picks for Phoenix


The NASCAR Cup Series complete the “West Coast Swing” this week when the take the checkered flag at Phoenix Raceway. This will be a unique race for the Cup Series. NASCAR is bringing a new aero package to the tack and most drivers have said the 30% less downforce on the cars should be “a game changer.” Hopefully the new aero package will improve the racing on the 1-mile tracks. The United Rentals 500(k) can be seen Sunday at 3:30 pm ET on FOX.



The Fantasy Live picks continue to score well (Thank goodness for the Garage pick). Hopefully you were able to follow me on Twitter (@MrFantasyNASCAR) and got my message to put Joey Logano in the Garage. If so, your team scored 199 points and has 565 points for the season. That is good enough to outscore 93.3% of the entries. That is not too bad, but there is still more work to be done.


NASCAR allowed the teams to practice for 50-minutes Friday because they have a new aero package that the teams have not been able to work with this year. I am posting my picks based mostly off of the drivers who had speed in practice. I am not going to completely ignore the past stats at Phoenix, but if a driver has good track history and he ran fast laps in practice, he is in my lineup this week.

Here are the picks for the PENNZOIL 400


KYLE LARSON (9): I wanted to save my allocations with Larson for the intermediate tracks and the tracks where running the wall is important (the two races at Darlington), but the No. 5 car is too fast to fade Sunday. Larson posted the fastest speed in practice and was fastest on every long runs speed chart. It looks like the No. 5 team hit on the setup this weekend, so I will use an allocation with Larson at Phoenix.

WILLIAM BYRON (9): I used Byron last week and he was the highest-scoring driver in the Fantasy Live game. Can Byron win back-to-back races in the Cup Series? Byron only posted the 20th fastest speed in practice, but the No. 24 car came to the pits and the team put the No. 5 car setup in the car. Byron went out and was posting laps as fast as Kyle Larson. The No. 5 and No. 24 look fast again this weekend.

DENNY HAMLIN (10): Hamlin said on his podcast that the Chevy’s would have the advantage on the intermediates, the Fords would be the best pushers at the Superspeedways, so the Toyota’s better run well on the short, flat tracks. It looks like the Toyota’s are fast. Hamlin posted the 19th-fastest speed in practice. The teams were allowed to work on their cars after practice and Hamlin said it is a completely different car than what he had in practice. Hamlin qualified on the pole, so he has the track position to score well Sunday.

RYAN BLANEY (9): It has been a while since Blaney has been in Victory Lane. That could change Sunday. He has finished the last three races at Phoenix in the top-four and he probably could have won the race last November, but Joey Logano was racing for the championship so Blaney did not pass him. The No. 12 car posted the second-fastest speed in practice. This is a good race to use an allocation with Blaney.

KEVIN HARVICK (8): It is going to be tough to fade the No. 4 car Sunday. Harvick is known as the “King of Phoenix” because he has dominated the races at this track for over a decade. Harvick has finished his last 19 races at Phoenix in the top-10. He did it in many different area packages. The changes to the car should not slow down Harvick this week so I will have the No. 4 car in my lineup.

(GARAGE PICK) TYLER REDDICK (10): Reddick finished third in this race last year. Can he do it again with his new team? Reddick has one of the fastest long-run cars on the long-run speed chart. The No. 45 car was fourth-fastest on the 15-lap speed chart and the 20-lap speed chart. These cars are going to slide around Sunday and that should play into Reddick’s driving style. I will have Reddick in the Garage and if his car has as much speed as I expect, I will use him in the race.


Good luck and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCARI will send out a Tweet during the race to let you know if I plan to swap out one of my drivers for my Garage pick.