We make our first of two scheduled trips to Arizona for the TicketGuardian 500, one of the newer races on the schedule that debuted in 2005 and is one of four races that is measured in kilometers, not miles or laps. We came up just short again last week, but three of our five drivers finished inside the top-10, including the runner-up in Brad Keselowski, who was pegged with +750 odds. No time to hang our heads.
Here are five drivers to consider throwing on this week’s card. (Odds will be added once released.)
Kevin Harvick - There is simply no way you can put together a card in Phoenix and not include Kevin Harvick. Harvick has not only won this event five times and four of the last five years, but he’s finished no worse than sixth in his last 11 appearances at the ISM Raceway overall. Harvick has won nine races on this track in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. There’s also the fact Harvick has finished no worse than fifth in five of his last six races overall. He’s going to be the favorite and the odds won’t be great, but Harvick provides the best chance at a return this week.
Kyle Busch - Kyle Busch could have easily won any of the three races this season and has finished sixth or better in each of his last five races. You can expect another good showing this week considering Busch is averaging a third place finish his last three appearances at this event and has finished no worse than seventh in his last seven appearances at the ISM Raceway overall. Busch has also won multiple times at this track in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
Denny Hamlin - Denny Hamlin hasn’t done much since his Daytona 500 victory, but there’s a chance for a bounce back performance considering he’s averaging a finish of 5.6 in his last three appearances at this event. Overall, Hamlin has finished in the top-10 in six of his last nine appearances at the ISM Raceway, and he won this event in 2012. Hamlin has also finished in the top-10 in eight of his 13 career appearances at this particular race, so he’s a driver worth considering, especially when he’s a driver who you can often get with odds at 10 to 1 or greater.
Chase Elliott - Chase Elliott is coming off his first top-10 showing of the season and has now finished in the top-10 in eight of his last 12 races overall. You can expect Elliott to continue building on these showings when he finished third in this event last year and is averaging a finish of 9.5 in his six appearances at the ISM Raceway in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Elliott also finished runner-up in the 2017 Can-Am 500, so he’s the real dark horse this week when you consider his quiet success on this track despite the small sample size.
Ryan Newman - Ryan Newman is lucky to finish inside the top-10 these days, but if you’re looking for a true long shot this week and tired by playing the same 10 drivers, he’s worth a look. Newman is not only one of three drivers to win this race at least twice, but he’s finished seventh or better in five of his last nine appearances. We also had Newman when he won this race back in 2017 at +8000 odds. This is one of the few tracks where Newman still has decent showings, so might as well get him in while you can.