The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Phoenix Raceway this weekend, and after back-to-back races at 1.5-mile ovals, a trip to a one-mile, low-banked track like Phoenix will be a bit of a curveball for both drivers and anyone building NASCAR DFS lineups at DraftKings.

Flat tracks like Phoenix put track position at even more of a premium, and there will probably be a little more pit strategy in play during Sunday's Instacart 500 than we have seen the last couple of weeks. Phoenix is also known for some chaotic, five-wide restarts that can shuffle the running order and tear up cars.

We also have to deal with a potential change for the driver hierarchy because Phoenix uses the 750-horsepower package, not the 550-horsepower package that we have seen at Homestead and Las Vegas. Last year, Team Penske and Chase Elliott's No. 9 team had the most consistent speed at these 750-horsepower tracks. A lot can change in the offseason, but until I see otherwise on the track, I am leaning on this core of drivers in most of my lineups.

While I am somewhat confident that I can peg the small group of drivers who will hog the majority of the dominator points this weekend, I also think this is a track where you can roll the dice on some low-priced options and stack the rest of your roster. Remember those restarts I mentioned? Well, a string of crazy restarts towards the end of the race would keep many drivers on the lead lap and allow some to steal quality finishes. Don't be surprised when a driver, who was running 26th most of the day, ends up 16th and swings a GPP contest.

Must-Own Drivers

Chase Elliott ($11,500)

Elliott was a DFS force at Phoenix last year, leading the most laps and recording the most fastest laps in both events. He was out front for 93 laps in the spring and led 153 laps in the fall, and Elliott topped 50 fastest laps in both starts. Elliott should hog his share of dominator points, and he could easily finish as the No. 1 scorer at DraftKings.

Joey Logano ($11,100)

He has been one of the best in the series at 750-horsepower tracks, and Phoenix has been no exception. Logano has four straight top-10s here, and he has led at least 60 laps and logged at least 25 fastest laps in each of the last three races. He led 60 laps in a win here last spring, and he led 125 laps and recorded 47 fastest laps in a third-place effort in the fall.

Brad Keselowski ($10,400)

Keselowski turned in a pair of strong performances at Phoenix last year. He led 82 laps and logged 30 fastest laps in the spring event, and he led 16 laps and recorded 47 fastest laps in a runner-up effort in the fall. Starting on the pole, Keselowski should pile up plenty of dominator points and potentially finish as the top scorer at DraftKings.

Cash Plays

Kevin Harvick ($11,900)

The nine-time Phoenix winner hasn't been as dominant since the track was reconfigured, but he still has top-10 finishes in all five races to go with a 5.6 average finish. He also has the place differential category working in his favor from the 18th starting spot. Harvick probably won't lead the most laps, but he has enough differential points available to post a strong score regardless.

Aric Almirola ($9,000)

It has been a brutal start to the year for Almirola, but he is in the perfect position to exploit the differential category on Sunday when he starts back in 32nd. He has a 10.2 average finish in the last five Phoenix races, notching three top-10s. If Almirola ends up in the top 20, he will have a solid point total, but his ceiling is much higher, and his ceiling is even higher. He should be one of the safest DFS options Sunday.

Matt DiBenedetto ($8,500)

Given Team Penske's success at the 750-horsepower tracks, it should be no surprise that DiBenedetto, who drives the same equipment, also performed well. He has three straight top-15s at Phoenix, including finishes of 13th and eighth last year. Not only is DiBenedetto is a top-10 threat who is available at a mid-range price, but he has plenty of spots to gain from Row 10.

Kurt Busch ($7,700)

Busch doesn't have much place differential upside from the 12th starting spot, but this is a cheap price tag for a driver who has been among the most dependable at Phoenix. He has finished 12th or better in all four starts over the last two seasons, posting a 9.0 average finish. Busch should be able to provide 30+ points on finishing position alone.

Bubba Wallace ($7,200)

It hasn't been a great start for Wallace and the 23XI Racing team, but Wallace has an 18.2 average finish in five starts at Phoenix on the current layout, and he managed a top-15 here last fall with Richard Petty Motorsports. Starting 25th, Wallace should at least finish with a positive place differential and a decent point total for a low price.

Enter this week's NASCAR contests at DraftKings

GPP Specials

Kyle Busch ($10,800)

Busch hasn't been his dominant self since midway through the 2019 season, but Phoenix has remained one of his best tracks. He finished third here last spring, and in the five races since the track was reconfigured, he leads all drivers with two wins, a 3.6 average finish, and 363 laps led. Busch is worth sticking in a few lineups as a contrarian dominator.

Denny Hamlin ($9,900)

He has been a little boom or bust at Phoenix in terms of dominator points, but there is no denying his upside. Hamlin led 143 laps and recorded 99 fastest laps in a win here in the fall of 2019, and he 193 laps and logged 50+ fastest laps in 2017. When looking for pivots to the obvious dominator plays, Hamlin has to be on the shortlist.

Kyle Larson ($9,600)

Fresh off his win at Las Vegas, Larson could be a contrarian dominator candidate again this weekend. In his last four starts at Phoenix with Chip Ganassi Racing, he posted a 4.2 average finish and never finished worse than sixth. Set to start on the front row with Hendrick Motorsports equipment, Larson has a great chance to spend some time out front and contend for the win.

Tyler Reddick ($7,900)

His results from Phoenix in his rookie year left a lot to be desired, but a cut tire in the spring event ruined what was shaping up to be a top-5 run. He tends to be a high-risk, high-reward DFS option in general, but he has the potential for a big point total from the 23rd spot. I love him as a contrarian to Aric Almirola and Kurt Busch this weekend.

Ryan Newman ($6,600)

Newman's strong runs are few and far between these days, but Newman can still slide into the top 15, especially at flat tracks like Phoenix. I don't expect him to be highly owned from the 19th starting spot, but this isn't a bad price for a driver with a chance to flirt with a top 10. Newman could be a cheaper pivot to Matt DiBenedetto.

Justin Haley ($5,000)

If you are looking for a punt play Sunday, I will take my chances with Haley, who starts back in 29th. He has finished between 24th and 29th in all three of his starts this year, so he has a good chance to at least break even in the place differential category Sunday. I think Haley ends up with about the same score as Anthony Alfredo and Daniel Suarez, and he is priced a notch below those two.


NASCAR guru Brian Polking has been committed to producing Fantasy NASCAR coverage for nearly a decade and written countless articles for his devoted audience who swear by his advice year after year.