This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.
Call 811 Before You Dig 200
Location: Avondale, Ariz.
Course: Phoenix Raceway
Format: 1.0-mile oval
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to the scene of the season finale this week. Austin Cindric won the race and the 2020 championship last fall, but AJ Allmendinger is the driver with the wind in his sails this week after becoming the fourth different winner in the last four races when he won at Las Vegas last week. Last week's runner-up, Daniel Hemric, will start from pole alongside Brandon Jones, who finished third last week and is the defending winner this weekend. Cindric will start third, the same position he won from last the fall.
Phoenix Raceway is a track-position circuit. The only winner to start outside of the top 10 there after 2006 was Christopher Bell, who started 38th and led 94 laps in the fall of 2018. That was the furthest back from which anyone has won, and only three other times in the 38 Xfinity Series races did the winner not start inside the first five rows. Each of the three manufacturers have won in the last three races, and there hasn't been a back-to-back winner here since Kyle Busch won three in a row in 2015-2016.
Key Stats at Phoenix Raceway
- Number of races: 38
- Winners from pole: 10
- Winners from top-5 starters: 32
- Winners from top-10 starters: 34
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 1
- Fastest race: 116.317 mph
Previous 10 Phoenix Winners
2020 fall - Austin Cindric
2020 spring - Brandon Jones
2019 fall - Justin Allgaier
2019 spring - Kyle Busch
2018 fall - Christopher Bell
2018 spring - Brad Keselowski
2017 fall - William Byron
2017 spring - Justin Allgaier
2016 fall - Kyle Busch
2016 spring - Kyle Busch
Phoenix Raceway's configuration makes it unique in the Xfinity Series schedule. The circuit races like a short track or even a road course. The uniqueness of each turn requires teams to balance their settings. Mechanical grip will be what everyone is searching for, and managing tire wear alongside track position will be the tightrope teams try to balance throughout the race distance. Like both short tracks and road courses, Phoenix is a track position circuit. Four-tire calls will be the choice of the day for teams, but those plans could be upended by late cautions. Teams with nothing to lose could opt for two- or no-tire stops in a bid to move forward for restarts and hope they can hold off the cars with more grip charging up from behind or another quick caution to get back on cycle.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Noah Gragson scored his first top-five finish of the season last week, but he should also have a win by now, too. He has been on the wrong side of luck this season but starts inside the top 10 this week and has not finished lower than 11th in his four track visits. Hemric heads into this week's race with three straight top-three finishes. He was second last week in Las Vegas, starts on pole this week and has four top-10s from six series starts at Phoenix. Justin Haley has three consecutive top-10s entering this week, too. He will start fifth Saturday and has not finished worse than 12th in four track starts. His average finish in that span is 8.0. Last week's race was the first top-10 finish of the season for Michael Annett. He will start eighth on Saturday, and his best track finish came last fall with a fourth-place run. Jeremy Clements remains in playoff contention with two top-10s from the first four races. His 10th-place Phoenix finish last fall was his best result at the track. The visit to Las Vegas was a tough one for Landon Cassill, but he remains a value deep in fantasy rosters at Phoenix. He will start 18th this week and had a best finish of sixth at the track in 2008 with JR Motorsports.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Justin Allgaier is still looking for his first top-10 finish of 2021. He made progress last week with a 14th-place finish at Las Vegas, however. He will start 12th in Saturday's race and has two wins at this track. Jones will start on the front row alongside Hemric this week. He enters this week's race with three finishes of fourth or better at his back and as the defending winner of this race. Brett Moffitt crashed out of last week's race but has two top-10s from the first four races this season. He has two Xfinity Series starts at Phoenix, both were last season, and he finished 19th in those tries. Last week saw newcomer Santino Ferrucci demonstrate an ability to race forward in the field. He started 23rd and finished 13th in that race and will start 14th this week. Brandon Brown bounced back from a tough Homestead race last week with an 11th-place finish at Las Vegas. He finished 12th in the two Phoenix races last season. Matt Mills lost ground last week in Las Vegas and will start back in 38th position this week. In five Phoenix starts his best finish is 19th.