Phoenix! Fresh off seeing the Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in the World Series, it’s now hosting another title hunt in the NASCAR Cup Series Championship race. The quirky 1-mile track in the Arizona desert has been challenging drivers and teams alike since it was opened in 1988. That will be the same this week with the Cup Championship on the line for four drivers. Ryan Blaney, William Byron, Christopher Bell, and Kyle Larson make up the Championship Four — the youngest group ever — and should put on a great show to end the 2023 NASCAR Season. Like always we’ll have all of the data, practice and qualifying results, DFS strategy and trends, and the top NASCAR plays for Sunday’s race, along with a special three-man pod breaking down the field. So let’s start breaking down the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series Championship for DraftKings and FanDuel!

Phoenix Raceway NASCAR DFS Trends

The first thing that stands out is that Phoenix is a track position track, in a sense. What do I mean by that? Well, for DFS, and the Championship, the drivers who’ve started up front have been optimal in each of the last three championship races. However, that doesn’t mean that we’re just loading up on everyone starting in the top-10. Nope. Passing is a thing that can happen here, more than you might think in fact. If we look at the last three championship race optimal builds, at last three drivers in each build started outside the top-20 and moved up 10 spots or so to become optimal plays. The dogleg section of the “front stretch” is a real game changer for passing here, especially on restarts, and long run speed really makes a difference. While it’s generally thought that Phoenix is a single-groove track that’s not actually the case. The bottom line can be faster but speed can be made up by the wall as well throughout different parts of the race. With 312 laps in the race distance, we’re going to need likely two dominators in our builds with the rest being PD plays. We’re also going to have to get a bit different in our builds for cash and GPPs as there are bound to be a lot of similar builds this week. The cat is out of the bag about using two championship drivers in the same builds and so the cheap drivers will really make the difference in builds this weekend.

 RaceRaceRaceRaceRace 
 12345AVG
Positive Place Differential201821221719.6
Six+ Place Differential Spots9713788.8
Double-Digit Place Differential447324
Double-Digit Fast Laps8108798.4
20+ Laps Led323443.2
50+ Laps Led223322.4
100+ Laps Led122111.4
Lead Lap Finishers242020242422.4
Top-10 Finish %4452132%

Similar Tracks To Phoenix Raceway

Phoenix in generally considered a unique track on the schedule, and it can thought of that way. However, there is another track that is close enough to be considered for this weekend. That track is Richmond. Phoenix is often referred to as a backward Richmond as they’re both similarly shaped, despite Richmond being a quarter-mile shorter than Phoenix. The setups on the cars and the driving styles during the races are very close. True that Martinsville and Bristol and New Hampshire also run the short track package, they are far too different of racing styles to be considered comparable to Phoenix.

Practice And Qualifying Results For NASCAR Championship

The following table shows how drivers rank between short-run and long-run practice speeds compared to where they qualified for the race. It’s designed to show who may be able to move up and who may be able to hold their spots for the race on Sunday.

DriverAvg. Prac to QualQual1-Lap5-Lap10-lap15-lap20-Lap25-Lap
William Byron-41743329
Martin Truex Jr-13213191415  
Kevin Harvick-231264441
Kyle Larson-5411511118 
Bubba Wallace-45217121262
Denny Hamlin-1161816202112 
Erik Jones-17717203127  
Ross Chastain28576854
Chris Buescher091912853 
Tyler Reddick-210818101310 
Ty Gibbs11198139  
Ryan Preece-4122925171473
Christopher Bell11134112  
Todd Gilliland-171432322929  
Ryan Blaney131532211 
Daniel Suarez-91624282323  
Joey Logano51769181019 
Kyle Busch10181351715 
Michael McDowell0191621162618 
Chase Elliott820211496  
Austin Dillon-921313028   
Carson Hocevar32227271919146
Alex Bowman3232211272516 
Ricky Stenhouse Jr124232224   
Harrison Burton7251415221820 
Chase Briscoe92625232116135
Austin Cindric7272626152211 
Aric Almirola8282829262098
Corey Lajoie12930243028  
Ryan Newman-6303636    
Brad Keselowski2131101077177
AJ Allmendinger83215312524  
Ty Dillon033333333   
JJ Yeley4343434323021 
Justin Haley19352013    
BJ McLeod1363535    

DraftKings Scoring Trends At Phoenix

The following chart shows the average DraftKings points scored by starting spot over the last five races at Phoenix. The drivers and why or how they started there have been removed so a purer idea of strategy at this track.

FanDuel Scoring Trends At Phoenix

The following chart shows the average FanDuel points scored by starting spot over the last five races at Phoenix. The drivers and why or how they started there have been removed so a purer idea of strategy at this track.