NASCAR conducted their prerace inspection Saturday evening for the race Sunday at Phoenix. Three cars failed inspection three times, so they will start in the back for the Instacart 500. They include: Kyle Larson, William Byron and Cody Ware. I had Larson and Byron in my lineups so I decided to make so changes. I hate when this happens because it always backfires on me, but I tend to play it safe in games where we are limited in the amount of times we can use each driver during the season. Here are the updates…
Driver Group Game
I originally had Kyle Larson listed as my Group B driver. I still think Larson is going to be a fantastic pick Sunday, but his 9 allocations are very valuable. I would rather save my allocation with Larson for the races when he starts up front, than when he starts third-to-last. There will be many races when Larson starts in the top-five this season.
I replaced Kyle Larson with Kurt Busch. His stats at Phoenix are not great but he is very consistent. Busch usually finishes between 8th and 12th at this track. He will have the new Hendrick/Childress engine under the hood for the first time so maybe that will be the extra speed Busch needs to finish in the top-five Sunday.
You can replace Kyle Larson with Ryan Blaney if he is an option in Group B. I would prefer Blaney over Kurt Busch, but that is not an option in the default settings because Blaney is a Group A driver.
If you want to take a chance, you can use Christopher Bell as a replacement for Kyle Larson. Bell should start on the front row since Larson is going to the back. Bell was not very good at this track last year in his Cup Series car, but he was awesome in the Xfinity Series. He should be better this year in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
I originally had Kyle Larson and William Byron in my starting lineups and Denny Hamlin in the Garage. There is a competition caution on lap 25 so there is time for Larson and Byron to gain some track position, but I am going to play it safe. Just like in the Driver Group Game, I want to save my allocations with Larson for the races when he starts up front. The main reason I was starting Byron was because of his starting position. Now that he is going to the back, Byron does not have the same fantasy value.
I will move Denny Hamlin out of the Garage and start the No. 11 car in the race. I will replace William Byron with Ryan Blaney. The No. 12 car has finished 3rd, 3rd, 6th and 37th (wreck that was not his fault) in the last four races at Phoenix. Blaney should start in the third row and have a good chance to score Stage points and finish in the top 10.
I was planning on fading Kevin Harvick Sunday because he has not looked great this season, but my plans have now changed. I will use Harvick as my Garage driver and if “Mr. King of Phoenix” shows up Sunday, I will put him in the starting lineup.
Good luck this week!
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