Back we go to Phoenix for the second time this season, for the second-to-last race of the year. Phoenix is a relatively short, flat track, so handicappers can group it loosely with the other short-flats on the circuit when trying to get a handle on how the race is likely to unfold.
That’s what I did. First I crunched the qualifying, practice and race data from all the 2010 short-flat races, which includes, Phoenix, Martinsville, New Hampshire and Richmond. Then I crunched just the Phoenix numbers to bias the results toward that track. Finally, in my new, improved methodology, I also cranked out the loop data from the above short-flats and just the 2010 Phoenix race as well, and I added those numbers to the mix.
I came up with this top 11:
- Jimmie Johnson
- Jeff Gordon
- Ryan Newman
- Kyle Busch
- Clint Bowyer
- Juan Pablo Montoya
- Joey Logano
- A.J. Allmendinger
- Carl Edwards
- Jeff Burton
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Johnson, Gordon and Kyle Busch had great cars at Phoenix in the spring, and the numbers say they will shine again this weekend. Newman had a pretty good car and was able to pull out the win at Phoenix I.
I’m a little surprised to see Logano and Allmendinger rate so high, but that’s what the numbers say.
Also, keep your eye on Dale Jr. in the prelims: The numbers place him just outside the top 10, he was strong at Phoenix in the spring (a mechanical problem hurt his finish) and he was strong at Martinsville a few weeks ago.
My Yahoo! Fantasy Picks
If you’ve got a Johnson start remaining, I say run him now. I don’t, so I’ll go with Gordon and Kyle Busch.
I also like Montoya and Edwards this week.
I’m out of Newman and Bowyer starts, so I’ll activate Logano, Burton, Dale Jr., and Kevin Harvick.
I like Matt Kenseth and Jamie McMurray next, in that order.
Allmendinger is tops by far this week, but I burned him up long ago. I like Sam Hornish Jr. next, followed somewhat distantly by Scott Speed, Paul Menard and Regan Smith, in that order.
I’ll go with Hornish and Speed.