NASCAR’s penultimate swing on its “Goes West” tour has the series heading to Phoenix International Raceway for this Sunday’s Good Sam 500. This will be the shortest track of the season so far, one mile in length and could prove challenging for some especially with NASCAR’s new low downforce package.
Here are our favorites for Sunday’s fourth race of the year for your betting or fantasy racing leagues. The odds are current as of Wednesday morning and the Driver Ratings (stats that are a combination of various stats used to determine the best drivers on a given track) are from NASCAR are based on the last 22 races at Phoenix International Raceway (2005 – 2015).
Kevin Harvick (3-1) this week it’s Kevin Harvick and everyone else. Harvick is the king of Phoenix and leads all active drivers here with 7 wins, five of those coming in the last seven races. He has the second highest driver rating in the field 109.9 and the only way he won’t be a contender for the win this weekend is if he stays home.
Jimmie Johnson (7-1) has the highest driver rating in the field 112.6. Johnson has four wins here and has his rating shows runs pretty consistently. His last win here however , but that came in 2009. Yes, Johnson can win each and every week, he led the most laps last week and nearly pulled it off finishing third. He has to be factored in this Sunday and could be a player for a win in the final laps.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12-1) had a forgettable driver rating of 87.4, 13th best in the field. But he does have three wins here and won last November becoming one of only two drivers to win races at Phoenix in the last seven races. Earnhardt has been smiling the last few weeks and loves the new downforce package. He may be on the cusp of a win and that could come this Sunday.
Carl Edwards (15-1) is the only other driver besides Earnhardt to visit victory lane at Phoenix since 2012. He has the third best driver rating 99.2, along with two wins and has looked strong in the opening races of the season;. Had he not be caught up in a crash not of his own doing last week, Edwards was poised for a strong finish or a win. He has finished outside the top 10 here in the last two races but if he can turn things around he could easily be fighting for the win.
Kyle Busch (8-1) scored his only Phoenix Sprint Cup race win to date at Phoenix in 2005. Since then however he has run well enough, and consistently enough to amass a fifth highest driver rating of 97.3 . He wasn’t in this race last March due to his Daytona injury but did finish fourth here in the fall one race away from winning his first Sprint Cup title a week later at Homestead.
Longshots: Joey Logano (8-1) has the eighth best driver rating as Phoenix, 89.9, but has never won here but was third here last November. As strong as Logano had been running everywhere, it certainly can’t be counted out. Kurt Busch (7-1) has the fourth best driver rating at Phoenix, 98.4, and has a win here as well. He’s looked good the first three races out of the gate and if he avoids trouble Sunday could finally go all the way to victory lane.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Good Sam 500 will be run on Sunday March 13. Live coverage will be on Fox starting at 3:00 p.m. ET with the green flag coming at about 3:44 p.m. ET.