Another race and another Kevin Harvick victory, though this time he won’t be able to use it come playoff time as it was an encumbered win for two different L1 level penalties in post-race inspection. Now we head to the second race in the NASCAR goes West section of the schedule from ISM Raceway, previously known as Phoenix International Raceway. The track has been undergoing some modifications over the last year and change and this Sunday’s race will be the last one run in its current setup, that is with the dogleg as Turn 2. By the time the fall race, the last chance to seal a spot in the championship race, there will be a whole new track layout with the start/finish line moving to what is now the backstretch, making turns 1 and 2 become 3 and 4 instead.

ISM Raceway is a 1-mile track that is also a nearly flat track all the way throughout. There is slight banking, but it’s not anything like most of the other tracks run on the schedule. That flatness means that speeds will generally be kept slower as turning is much harder at slower speeds. The driver that can get in the bsest braking pattern throughout the day will likely wind up in front when it counts. This track in the desert is very similar to one found across the continent in New Hamphire as Loudon is another flat 1-mile oval. The thing that really distinguishes ISM is the dogleg turn which allows for a maneuver known as the “dive bomb” in which a driver will cut the corner on what would normally be the apron and sweep up next to who they are trying to pass by the time they reach the straightaway.

Just as a heads up, the number on the race this week indicates kilometers to be run, not miles or laps. There are 312 laps in the race at one mile a lap gives you 312 miles which is the equivalent of 500 kilometers. Now that we have our metric lessen for the day. Lets move on. For the track type info (the table with 18 races) the data comes from the tracks that are similar in construct to ISM Raceway and races from 2015 and sooner.

Track Data

Last Four Races at ISM Raceway (scroll right on a mobile device)

    Avg. Avg. Avg.   Top Top Top Top Laps
Driver Races Start Run Pos. Finish Wins 5s 10s 15s 20s Led
Kevin Harvick 4 13.3 7 4 1 3 4 4 4 139
Joey Logano 4 5.8 8.8 15.5 1 1 1 2 3 140
Ryan Newman 4 18.8 19.5 18 1 1 1 2 3 6
Kyle Busch 4 9.3 6 4 0 3 4 4 4 189
Kyle Larson 4 4 15 14.3 0 2 2 3 3 15
Chase Elliott 4 7.8 6.3 7.8 0 1 3 4 4 140
Denny Hamlin 4 7.3 9.3 13.8 0 1 3 3 3 197
Erik Jones 2 9.5 7 6 0 1 2 2 2 0
Kurt Busch 4 10.5 14 14.3 0 1 2 2 2 1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 4 19.8 23 18 0 1 2 2 2 0
Brad Keselowski 4 13.8 11 16 0 1 1 2 3 0
Martin Truex Jr 4 17.3 13.8 17 0 1 1 3 3 0
Ryan Blaney 4 5.8 12 14.5 0 0 2 2 3 11
Alex Bowman 1 1 2 6 0 0 1 1 1 194
Jamie McMurray 4 9.5 12 12 0 0 1 3 4 0
Jimmie Johnson 4 12 15.3 24.3 0 0 1 2 2 13
Austin Dillon 4 15 16.5 20 0 0 1 2 3 0
Daniel Suarez 2 18.5 18.5 12.5 0 0 1 1 2 0
Aric Almirola 4 22.8 20.3 15.3 0 0 1 2 3 0
Paul Menard 4 18.3 21.8 21 0 0 1 2 2 0
Kasey Kahne 4 16 15 18.5 0 0 0 1 3 0
Clint Bowyer 4 25.5 22 20.3 0 0 0 2 2 0
Ty Dillon 3 24 18.7 14 0 0 0 2 3 0
AJ Allmendinger 4 20.8 21.3 20.8 0 0 0 0 2 0
Darrell Wallace Jr 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Justin Marks 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ross Chastain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
William Byron 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Matt DiBenedetto 4 28.8 28 25.3 0 0 0 0 1 0
Michael McDowell 4 28 27.3 26.5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Trevor Bayne 4 23.3 26.3 27 0 0 0 0 1 0
DJ Kennington 2 38 34.5 30.5 0 0 0 0 0 0
David Ragan 4 30 28.8 30.8 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chris Buescher 4 31.5 30 31.5 0 0 0 0 0 1
Jeffrey Earnhardt 3 37 36 33.7 0 0 0 0 0 0
Corey LaJoie 2 32 34.5 34.5 0 0 0 0 0 0
Gray Gaulding 2 36.5 37 36.5 0 0 0 0 0 0
  Fast Top 15 Pass Avg. High Low Pos. Laps Led High to Low to
Driver Laps Rate Diff. Rating Rating Rating Diff. Pts/Race Avg Rating Avg Rating
Kevin Harvick 101 91% 4 111.8 140.4 97.9 9.3 8.69 28.6 13.9
Joey Logano 43 83% -12 96 125.6 78.7 -9.7 8.75 29.6 17.3
Ryan Newman 52 48% 9 75.8 102.2 37.2 0.8 0.38 26.4 38.6
Kyle Busch 96 98% 6 111.8 129.6 97.7 5.3 11.81 17.8 14.1
Kyle Larson 60 56% 0 93.5 124.1 78.5 -10.3 0.94 30.6 15
Chase Elliott 101 99% 4 109.1 115.9 101 0 8.75 6.8 8.1
Denny Hamlin 67 81% 10 100.7 117.2 83.8 -6.5 12.31 16.5 16.9
Erik Jones 27 100% 9 105.5 110.2 100.7 3.5 0.00 4.7 4.8
Kurt Busch 0 58% -7 81.6 105.3 65 -3.8 0.06 23.7 16.6
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 11 16% 7 67.7 80.9 54.8 1.8 0.00 13.2 12.9
Brad Keselowski 42 78% 4 90.5 119 68.9 -2.2 0.00 28.5 21.6
Martin Truex Jr 41 70% 11 88.8 115.5 66.8 0.3 0.00 26.7 22
Ryan Blaney 3 78% -7 82.9 85.2 81.3 -8.7 0.69 2.3 1.6
Alex Bowman 58 100% 4 138 138 138 -5 48.50 0 0
Jamie McMurray 36 77% -6 88.4 98.7 70.2 -2.5 0.00 10.3 18.2
Jimmie Johnson 80 68% 17 89 105.1 58.6 -12.3 0.81 16.1 30.4
Austin Dillon 6 51% -2 76.5 92.1 65.9 -5 0.00 15.6 10.6
Daniel Suarez 0 29% -8 71.6 73.5 69.6 6 0.00 1.9 2
Aric Almirola 1 29% 13 66.7 83.3 46.8 7.5 0.00 16.6 19.9
Paul Menard 1 8% -7 63.1 73.4 45.8 -2.7 0.00 10.3 17.3
Kasey Kahne 27 60% 7 77.1 98.8 62 -2.5 0.00 21.7 15.1
Clint Bowyer 6 40% 4 62.7 85.8 35.3 5.2 0.00 23.1 27.4
Ty Dillon 1 17% 2 73.3 82.1 63.8 10 0.00 8.8 9.5
AJ Allmendinger 1 11% -7 60.5 69.6 53 0 0.00 9.1 7.5
Darrell Wallace Jr 0 0% 0 0 0 0 0   0 0
Justin Marks 0 0% 0 0 0 0 0   0 0
Ross Chastain 0 0% 0 0 0 0 0   0 0
William Byron 0 0% 0 0 0 0 0   0 0
Matt DiBenedetto 0 0% -2 48.1 57.7 39.9 3.5 0.00 9.6 8.2
Michael McDowell 3 0% 0 49.5 57.1 41.5 1.5 0.00 7.6 8
Trevor Bayne 0 0% -2 52.6 60.3 46.2 -3.7 0.00 7.7 6.4
DJ Kennington 0 0% 4 34.8 40.8 28.8 7.5 0.00 6 6
David Ragan 5 0% -5 44 51 34.8 -0.8 0.00 7 9.2
Chris Buescher 0 0% -5 41.8 46.5 37.2 0 0.06 4.7 4.6
Jeffrey Earnhardt 0 0% -4 29.8 34.7 23.2 3.3 0.00 4.9 6.6
Corey LaJoie 1 0% 2 33 38.7 27.3 -2.5 0.00 5.7 5.7
Gray Gaulding 0 0% -5 28.1 31.5 24.7 0 0.00 3.4 3.4

Top-15 Drivers at Last Eight Races at ISM Raceway (scroll right on mobile device)

    Avg. Avg. Avg.   Top Top Top Top Laps
Driver Races Start Run Pos. Finish Wins 5s 10s 15s 20s Led
Kevin Harvick 8 9.8 4.4 2.6 4 7 8 8 8 994
Joey Logano 8 5.6 7.1 10.4 1 3 5 6 7 263
Ryan Newman 8 17.1 15.5 13.0 1 2 3 6 7 12
Kyle Busch 7 8.6 7.4 9.0 0 4 6 6 6 190
Brad Keselowski 8 10.3 8.6 10.8 0 3 5 6 7 59
Kurt Busch 8 9.0 12.0 14.4 0 2 5 5 5 1
Denny Hamlin 8 10.0 12.3 13.8 0 2 5 5 6 221
Kyle Larson 8 6.3 13.8 15.1 0 2 3 5 6 15
Chase Elliott 4 7.8 6.3 7.8 0 1 3 4 4 140
Jamie McMurray 8 9.4 11.9 11.1 0 1 3 7 8 1
Jimmie Johnson 8 11.0 13.5 19.8 0 1 3 5 5 57
Erik Jones 3 8.7 9.0 10.3 0 1 2 2 3 0
Martin Truex Jr 8 16.3 13.0 15.4 0 1 2 6 6 0
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 8 18.9 22.5 20.0 0 1 2 3 5 0
Kasey Kahne 8 14.4 15.8 17.0 0 1 1 3 5 0
  Fast Top 15 Pass Avg. High Low Pos. Laps Led Rating
Driver Laps Rate Diff. Rating Rating Rating Diff. Pts/Race Range
Kevin Harvick 474 96% 4 130.2 150.0 97.9 7.2 31.06 52.1
Joey Logano 123 87% -5 105.7 125.6 78.7 -4.8 8.22 46.9
Ryan Newman 66 60% 9 85.6 110.4 37.2 4.1 0.38 73.2
Kyle Busch 118 93% 3 105.2 129.6 76.2 -0.4 6.79 53.4
Brad Keselowski 133 88% 3 101.1 122.4 68.9 -0.5 1.84 53.5
Kurt Busch 65 72% -1 90.8 118.1 65.0 -5.4 0.03 53.1
Denny Hamlin 79 68% 6 91.5 117.2 63.7 -3.8 6.91 53.5
Kyle Larson 62 62% -5 90.9 124.1 74.7 -8.8 0.47 49.4
Chase Elliott 101 99% 4 109.1 115.9 101.0 0 8.75 14.9
Jamie McMurray 56 79% 0 91.0 112.1 70.2 -1.7 0.03 41.9
Jimmie Johnson 138 69% 22 91.6 111.8 58.6 -8.8 1.78 53.2
Erik Jones 28 96% 0 98.0 110.2 83.1 -1.6 0.00 27.1
Martin Truex Jr 54 69% 8 89.2 115.5 66.4 0.9 0.00 49.1
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 11 12% 2 66.9 80.9 54.8 -1.1 0.00 26.1
Kasey Kahne 39 53% 5 79.5 105.7 62.0 -2.6 0.00 43.7

Top-15 Drivers on Similar Tracks (since 2015) (scroll right on mobile device)

    Avg. Avg. Avg.   Top Top Top Top Laps
Driver Races Start Run Pos. Finish Wins 5s 10s 15s 20s Led
Kevin Harvick 18.0 9.1 7 7.5 3 13 14 16 16 865
Kyle Busch 16.0 7.9 6.2 7.5 2 9 13 14 15 830
Joey Logano 18.0 8.6 10.2 9.4 2 9 13 15 16 331
Denny Hamlin 18.0 8.4 9.9 10.1 2 6 12 15 15 540
Kyle Larson 18.0 10.2 12.6 12.4 1 6 8 13 15 90
Kurt Busch 18.0 7.2 10.8 12.0 1 5 12 13 14 350
Ryan Newman 18.0 17.3 16.2 14.5 1 3 6 11 15 35
Brad Keselowski 18.0 11.1 8.2 9.9 0 6 10 15 17 297
Martin Truex Jr 18.0 10.8 10.1 12.4 0 4 10 14 16 904
Jimmie Johnson 18.0 10.8 12.1 12.8 0 3 9 15 15 102
Jamie McMurray 18.0 12.2 12 12.4 0 2 6 12 17 5
Kasey Kahne 18.0 13.8 14.8 16.5 0 2 6 8 12 0
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 18.0 18.4 20.7 18.3 0 2 4 8 12 0
Chase Elliott 13.0 13.0 11.4 13.9 0 1 4 9 11 141
Erik Jones 7.0 10.0 15.7 17.1 0 1 4 4 5 0
  Fast Top 15 Pass Avg. High Low Pos. Laps Led Rating
Driver Laps Rate Diff. Rating Rating Rating Diff. Pts/Race Range
Kevin Harvick 645 92% 4 112.9 150 58.9 1.6 12.01 91.1
Kyle Busch 490 94% 4 114.5 149.2 73.7 0.4 12.97 75.5
Joey Logano 185 79% -1 98.8 125.6 61.3 -0.8 4.60 64.3
Denny Hamlin 335 78% 3 101.3 137.8 63.7 -1.7 7.50 74.1
Kyle Larson 194 69% -1 93.4 125.8 63.7 -2.2 1.25 62.1
Kurt Busch 159 78% -2 95.1 148.1 52.8 -4.8 4.86 95.3
Ryan Newman 76 53% 4 79.9 110.4 37.2 2.8 0.49 73.2
Brad Keselowski 421 89% 6 103 133.1 68.9 1.2 4.13 64.2
Martin Truex Jr 460 81% 6 103 134.9 54.6 -1.6 12.56 80.3
Jimmie Johnson 181 75% 9 93.9 116.5 58.6 -2 1.42 57.9
Jamie McMurray 90 74% -2 88.5 112.1 64.5 -0.2 0.07 47.6
Kasey Kahne 121 60% 5 81.3 107.9 58.5 -2.7 0.00 49.4
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 48 22% 3 69.8 88.6 51.2 0.1 0.00 37.4
Chase Elliott 146 75% 4 91.1 115.9 64.8 -0.9 2.71 51.1
Erik Jones 76 71% 0 82 111.3 24.2 -7.1 0.00 87.1

DraftKings Points Changes for March Phoenix Race

  17 Race Season DK Pts +/-
Driver Total Avg DK Pts. Season AVG
Kyle Busch 103 40.65 62.35
Chase Elliott 80 23.65 56.35
Ryan Newman 77.5 40.05 37.45
Ricky Stenhouse Jr 59 21.65 37.35
Daniel Suarez 57 13.375 43.63
Kevin Harvick 57 67.7 -10.70
Kyle Larson 56.75 37.25 19.50
Brad Keselowski 56.5 44.55 11.95
Jimmie Johnson 48.5 17.9 30.60
Denny Hamlin 46.5 42.3 4.20
Erik Jones 39 27.55 11.45
Aric Almirola 38 39.188 -1.19
Martin Truex Jr 38 44.45 -6.45
Clint Bowyer 34 36.25 -2.25
Trevor Bayne 30 25.875 4.13
Jamie McMurray 27 22.2 4.80
Ty Dillon 27 19.125 7.88
Austin Dillon 25.5 44.5 -19.00
Chris Buescher 23.25 39.625 -16.38
Michael McDowell 21 23.688 -2.69
Paul Menard 20 39.063 -19.06
Matt DiBenedetto 16 23.5 -7.50
Kasey Kahne 14.5 21.4 -6.90
Joey Logano 12.5 50.8 -38.30
AJ Allmendinger 12 26.563 -14.56
David Ragan 8 26.625 -18.63
Gray Gaulding 8 21.063 -13.06
Kurt Busch 5.25 29.2 12.40
Jeffrey Earnhardt 4 23.25 12.07
Ryan Blaney 1 52.55 -51.55
Corey LaJoie -1 13.5 -14.50
    Average +/- 19.32

Top-10 and Bottom-10 Value Drivers

Top 10 Value     Bottom 10 Value  
Justin Marks 9.94 37 Daniel Suarez 1.81
Chris Buescher 7.08 36 Jimmie Johnson 1.99
D.J. Kennington 6.48 35 Chase Elliott 2.41
Kevin Harvick 5.94 34 Corey Lajoie 2.87
Ryan Blaney 5.90 33 Jamie McMurray 2.92
Austin Dillon 5.78 32 Alex Bowman 2.94
Paul Menard 5.35 31 Ty Dillon 2.99
Joey Logano 5.35 30 Ricky Stenhouse Jr 3.05
Ryan Newman 5.20 29 William Byron 3.08
Jeffrey Earnhardt 5.17 28 Erik Jones 3.32

Drivers to watch this week:

Kevin Harvick: Harvick isn’t just on this list because of what he’s done the last two weeks, which was pure domination, but because of what he does at this track in addition to that. In the last four races here, he is tied for the highest average finish at 6.0, he has a win, three top-fives, and four top-10s with 139 laps led. However if you look at the last eight races here, Harvick has won four of them with eight top-10s and 994 laps led, more than 700 ahead of the second place driver on that list. The issues from last week my hamper him a bit, but there’s a reason that he’s the most expensive guy for Sunday.

Kyle Busch: The only thing that really separates Busch and Harvick is the fact that the latter has a win here recently and the former doesn’t. That’s about it and in fact, Busch has 50 more laps led over the last four than does Harvick. The 18-car was in the running all day at Vegas but just couldn’t find the speed necessary to take it to victory lane. That being said, he is the reigning highest scoring driver of this race with 103 points scored in this race a year ago. In last March’s race he led 114 laps which helped bolster his point total, as did the 55 fastest laps he ran too. He is gunning to get on the board in 2018 and this maybe the place for him to break through.

Chase Elliott: Phoenix has been kind to Chase in the past with a top-five, three top-10s, and four top-15s in the last four tries. He also led 106 laps at this race a year ago to put up the second-highest score of the race at 80 points. The 106 run up front last year account for all but 34 of his total in the recent history here. Chase has run in the top-15 an astonishing 99% of the time in the last two years here, which is best in the field for anyone with three or more races in that time. He also has the third highest average driver rating, following only the two guys ahead of him in this section who are tied for the best mark.

Alex Bowman: Bowman the Showman certainly put on a show at his home track back in November of 2016 when he replaced Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the 88-car for the week. He led 194 of the 312 laps that day and came home P6 after starting on the pole. He’s had a fast car in spurts so far this year but coming home for a race for the first time as a full-time MENCS driver could get his mojo going at another level. Bowman is in the mid-tier price level once more this week and could bring some nice value if his car is tuned like it was in 2016.

Ty Dillon: Dillon makes this list as the cheap driver that I love this week. He has the only positive double-digit position differential in the field over the last four races and has two top-15s and three top-20s to his credit in that span. He may not lead any laps or get you many, if any, fast laps, but at $6,400 for Sunday’s race, there are certainly far worse places you could look to save money on the budget.