Kevin Harvick (right) and Brad Keselowski (left) are projected to finish first and second respectively at Phoenix.
Here are the projections for Sunday's Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. Our projection system takes into account, among other factors, drivers’ past performances at the current track, pre-race on-track activity (practices and qualifying) and probability of finishing the race. All of the data is then adjusted for the track type (in this case, a 1-mile tri-oval) and time of year.
Projected Top 15 at Phoenix
This is the third and final race of the Eliminator Round, and none of the four spots in the Championship Round have yet been clinched. According to our projections Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin will advance (can clinch with finishes of 11th or better), Ryan Newman will advance (can clinch with a ninth-place finish or better) and Kevin Harvick will advance (by virtue of winning). The other four Chasers could advance with a win.
Kevin Harvick is eighth out of the remaining eight Chasers, but he’s heading to his best track. He’s won three of the last four Phoenix races and his five career wins there is most among all drivers (for context, the other seven remaining Chasers have a combined seven wins). Earlier this season Harvick led 72 percent of the laps en route to winning at Phoenix.
Brad Keselowski has drawn the ire of his fellow drivers but there’s no questioning his performance in elimination races. Keselowski finished second at Dover and won at Talladega, in a situation in which he needed a win to advance to the Eliminator Round.
Last week, Jeff Gordon went from battling for the lead to a 29th-place finish after cutting a tire following contact from Brad Keselowski. The good news for Gordon is following his five prior finishes outside the top 25 this season, he has four wins and a 1.2 average finish.