Yahoo: Top 30 Drivers
Yahoo / Fox / NASCAR: Quick Picks
Just two races remain in the 2016 Sprint Cup season, and Sunday's Can-Am 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will set the final four for the championship finale next weekend.
Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards are already locked in, and four drivers are right on top of each other for the final two spots. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch probably need a win to advance, but that certainly isn't out of the question.
Harvick sits atop this week's driver rankings, and after surviving must-win scenarios in each of the first two rounds of the Chase, he will try to do it again at track where he has been almost unbeatable lately.
As a result, there will be two main lineup strategies this weekend. You can either play it safe and build around Harvick, or you can take a chance on an alternate and hope Harvick's mastery in the desert comes to an abrupt end. The latter is a risky strategy, but if it works out, you could gain a lot of ground on a lot of people.
1. KEVIN HARVICK, #4 BUSCH BEER/JIMMY JOHNS, STEWART-HAAS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Harvick has been the best driver in the series at Phoenix for a while now, and it's really not even close. He has finished either first or second in eight of the last nine races at the track, picking up six of his eight career wins at the track during that span. In fact, he has won five of the last six races at PIR, including the March race this season.
2. JIMMIE JOHNSON, #48 LOWE'S/KOBALT TOOLS, HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS [YAHOO CLASS A]
His 7.8 average finish at Phoenix is the best in the series, and in 26 starts, Johnson has logged 19 top 10 finishes. He is also a four-time winner at PIR, and he has finished 11th or better in six of his last seven starts here, notching four finishes of sixth or better during that span.
3. KYLE BUSCH, #18 MARS BRANDS/INTERSTATE BATTERIES, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS A]
Busch is a former winner at Phoenix, but it is his recent consistency at the track that is most appealing for fantasy owners. He has finished in the top 10 in six of his last eight starts at PIR, finishing fourth last fall and fourth again in the March race this season.
4. JOEY LOGANO, #22 SHELL-PENNZOIL, TEAM PENSKE [YAHOO CLASS A]
Since joining Team Penske, Logano has cracked the top 10 in five of his seven starts at Phoenix, leading 30-plus laps on three separate occasions. He logged a career-best third-place finish here last fall, and I expect a similar run this weekend as he tries to clinch a spot in the championship race.
5. CARL EDWARDS, #19 ARRIS/STANLEY, JOE GIBBS RACING [YAHOO CLASS B]
Edwards punched his ticket to the finale with his win last weekend, and he could easily return to victory lane Sunday. He is a two-time winner at Phoenix, and his 10.2 average finish in the last 10 races here ranks third. Not to mention that Edwards finished second by inches at PIR in March.