Phoenix! Fresh off seeing the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series, it’s now hosting another title hunt in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship race. The quirky 1-mile track in the Arizona desert has been challenging drivers and teams alike since it was opened in 1988. That will be the same this week with the Cup Championship on the line for four drivers. Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Christopher Bell, and Kyle Larson make up the Championship Four — the youngest group ever — and should put on a great show to end the 2023 NASCAR Season. Like always we’ll have all of the data, practice and qualifying results, DFS strategy and trends, and the top NASCAR plays for Sunday’s race, along with a special three-man pod breaking down the field. So let’s start breaking down the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship for DraftKings and FanDuel!
Phoenix Raceway NASCAR DFS Trends
The first thing that stands out is that Phoenix is a track position track, in a sense. What do I mean by that? Well, for DFS, and the Championship, the drivers who’ve started up front have been optimal in each of the last three championship races. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re just loading up on everyone starting in the top-10. Nope. Passing is a thing that can happen here, more than you might think in fact. If we look at the last three championship race optimal builds, at last three drivers in each build started outside the top-20 and moved up 10 spots or so to become optimal plays. The dogleg section of the “front stretch” is a real game changer for passing here, especially on restarts, and long run speed really makes a difference. While it’s generally thought that Phoenix is a single-groove track that’s not actually the case. The bottom line can be faster but speed can be made up by the wall as well throughout different parts of the race. With 312 laps in the race distance, we’re going to need likely two dominators in our builds with the rest being PD plays. We’re also going to have to get a bit different in our builds for cash and GPPs as there are bound to be a lot of similar builds this week. The cat is out of the bag about using two championship drivers in the same builds and so the cheap drivers will really make the difference in builds this weekend.
|Positive Place Differential||20||18||21||22||17||19.6|
|Six+ Place Differential Spots||9||7||13||7||8||8.8|
|Double-Digit Place Differential||4||4||7||3||2||4|
|Double-Digit Fast Laps||8||10||8||7||9||8.4|
|20+ Laps Led||3||2||3||4||4||3.2|
|50+ Laps Led||2||2||3||3||2||2.4|
|100+ Laps Led||1||2||2||1||1||1.4|
|Lead Lap Finishers||24||20||20||24||24||22.4|
|Top-10 Finish %||4||4||5||2||1||32%|
Similar Tracks To Phoenix Raceway
Phoenix in generally considered a unique track on the schedule, and it can thought of that way. However, there is another track that is close enough to be considered for this weekend. That track is Richmond. Phoenix is often referred to as a backward Richmond as they’re both similarly shaped, despite Richmond being a quarter-mile shorter than Phoenix. The setups on the cars and the driving styles during the races are very close. True that Martinsville and Bristol and New Hampshire also run the short track package, they are far too different of racing styles to be considered comparable to Phoenix.
Practice And Qualifying Results For NASCAR Championship
The following table shows how drivers rank between short-run and long-run practice speeds compared to where they qualified for the race. It’s designed to show who may be able to move up and who may be able to hold their spots for the race on Sunday.
|Driver||Avg. Prac to Qual||Qual||1-Lap||5-Lap||10-lap||15-lap||20-Lap||25-Lap|
|Martin Truex Jr||-13||2||13||19||14||15|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||1||24||23||22||24|
DraftKings Scoring Trends At Phoenix
The following chart shows the average DraftKings points scored by starting spot over the last five races at Phoenix. The drivers and why or how they started there have been removed so a purer idea of strategy at this track.
FanDuel Scoring Trends At Phoenix
The following chart shows the average FanDuel points scored by starting spot over the last five races at Phoenix. The drivers and why or how they started there have been removed so a purer idea of strategy at this track.