NASCAR DFS: Ruoff Mortgage 500by Dale Money March 12, 2022 0 comments
The west coast tour concludes this weekend in the desert with the Ruoff Mortgage 500. As the host of the Championship 4 race in November, Phoenix Raceway will provide an early look at how these Next-Gen cars handle this low banked tri-oval. Many aspects of this Sunday’s events will be new to teams, but the tires will not be. Goodyear will present the same tire compound to Next-Gen teams as it did for a test session in Phoenix in January. Each Cup team will receive one set of Goodyear tires for practice, one set for qualifying, and then nine sets for the race (eight race sets and one transfer from qualifying).
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With this race scheduled for 312 laps, dominators will be a top priority when making lineups. The lead is unlikely to be controlled by one driver. In last season’s championship race, three drivers led 273 of the 312 laps. Among those three drivers, Martin Truex Jr. led the least number of laps with 72.
As many as six individual winners have been crowned at Phoenix in the last six races: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Truex Jr., and Kyle Larson. The likelihood of a new winner this weekend is therefore high. Several drivers have been successful in the desert without winning, including Brad Keselowski, Blaney, Aric Almirola, and William Byron. Every one of them has a chance at being a first-time winner.
In light of how this season has played out so far, a late-race caution is very likely. During each of the three races so far, the restart has occurred within the last four laps. Our third overtime win in a row is very likely. This week, the Money Train delves into the DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Phoenix, AZ. The selections are broken down between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK). Best of luck to everyone with lineups this weekend.
Chase Elliott (12,500 FD | 10,700 DK)
Last week, Elliott, who had lost out on what could have been a potential victory at Fontana, showed a lot of patience and resolve. Ultimately, he would finish ninth. In Phoenix, Elliott has been as dominant as you can ask of a driver over the last six races. With 340 laps led, he ranks second only to Logano. You should also note that he has led at least 94 laps in two of the last three visits.
Although Elliott has only been able to pick up the single Phoenix victory, if he continues to lead laps in bunches, it’s only a matter of time before the No. 9 driver cashes in again. The driver who led the most laps in Phoenix over the last seven races has won five of them. Watch Elliott closely in qualifying on Saturday. The ideal starting position would be among those top three rows.
Ryan Blaney (11,000 FD | 9,600 DK)
Previously, we mentioned that Blaney has yet to close the deal at Phoenix. Among the drivers who have failed to win, Blaney stands out as the most dangerous judging on performance alone. His best chance came in March 2019, when he led 94 laps en route to a third-place finish. Blaney gave us a glimpse of what he might be capable of here in the Next-Gen. During the final day of January test sessions, he led all drivers with a lap time of 27.292. After finishing 36th last week, he will be overlooked compared to some other names. Thus, he is available at a reasonable price, allowing you to add another dominator to your team while remaining competitive. You can pick him up on DK for just $9,600.
Christopher Bell (9,000 FD | 8,300 DK)
The performance Bell gave last weekend was impressive. Despite starting from pole to begin the race, he would end up needing to dig deep. Late in stage two, Bell spun out and tore up a tire on his way back to the pits. What looked like a dismal top 20 finish turned into a respectable top 10. Bell has found success on one-mile intermediate tracks. Last year, he finished runner-up to Almirola in a dark-shortened race at New Hampshire. With the race getting darker, you could see Bell gaining on the leader. Had the race been run to its full length, he had the car to give Almirola a genuine run for his money.
Aric Almirola (8,500 FD | 7,900 DK)
Having announced his intention to hang up the gloves at the end of the 2022 season, it was anyone’s guess how Almirola would respond. So far, he’s been racing like a man with unfinished business. No other driver has finished in the top six in each of the first three races. Despite his recent success, Almirola stays low-key. There is no reason why this magical run can’t continue for at least one more race. Five top-10 finishes in 2017 and 2018 highlight his career at Phoenix. Don’t wait until the price rises to jump on the bandwagon.
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