FanShield 500 Picks, Odds & Predictions 3/8/2020
Race: FanShield 500
Date: Sunday, March 8, 2020
Location: Phoenix Raceway
This series will wrap up its West Coast trip at Phoenix Raceway with the FanShield 500, which is known to be the location where the Championship could be decided. This is because Homestead-Miami Speedway moved their race to an earlier spot on the schedule. This works for race fans as we'll likely not see the rainouts we've seen in the past. This will also be a fun race because we'll get to see how drivers run on this track and it will potentially give us a preview of what to expect later in the season.
Last week saw a confident Alex Bowman for the entirety of the weekend. Starting with the wave of the green flag, Bowman put foot down and cruised. Bowman got his first stage win in the first leg of the race when he took it from his second row start to the front of the pack. Ryan Blaney was the winner of the second stage but ended up having to pit in the last stage with a tire issue, giving Blaney a pretty comfortable win. The Hendrick Motorsports driver will now start to focus on the playoffs.
Auto Club 400 Results
It was a good day for Alex Bowman. He was able to take home his first career stage win at the Auto Club 400 and then wrapped that up with his second career race win while dominating the final run of the race. To start the race, he faced off with Jimmie Johnson and Clint Bowyer through the opening laps and ended up taking the lead after the first pit stop of the race. This would be telling going forward.
Bowman led five times in this race for 110 of the 200 laps. It was second career win and it was his first victory in Fontana. Lap 133 was where he took the top spot, gave it back for a short stint during some pit stops during the green flags. However, he regained the lead for the last time on lap 167 when Brad Keselowski pulled into pit road giving up his spot. Ryan Blaney then pulled into pit road after holding the second spot which gave Bowman the almost 9 seconds of leeway ahead of Kyle Busch.
In talking about his upcoming race, Bowman was 35th and 23rd on this track last season and he'll be looking to make major strides so he can be ready for the championship this season. In 2016, Bowman started on pole at Phoenix Raceway and it was the only time he finished in the top 10.
Ryan Blaney made a great run from the second stage of the race and almost got his 3rd straight 2nd place finish in as many races. It's looking like Blaney is going to be a force to be reckoned with this season. He ended up finishing the race in 19th, but that doesn't tell the story of his race. He was catching up to Bowman and looked to be in a position to make a move when he had to pull into pit road with a tire issue. It's not the finish he deserved but he'll be looking to make up for that as soon as possible. In his eight races in Phoenix, Blaney has started from the pole on two of those occasions and earned a 3rd place finish in both visits to Phoenix last season.
Whoever thought they should be sticking a fork into Jimmie Johnson this year might want to reconsider because he didn't get the memo. Johnson finished in the 7th spot in Fontana, making it his second top 10 finish of the season. Over the course of time, Johnson has been good in Phoenix. In his 33 starts there, he's won the race four times while finishing in 8th and 14th in the two races he participated in last season. He'll be looking to make an impact this weekend so don't be surprised to see Johnson finishing towards the top of the ranks.
Kyle Busch finished the runner-up after not having much luck in his first two races. He wasn't having a great race, but over the course of the race the Joe Gibbs Racing team member made enough adjustments to his car to get him in the top five for the final stage of this race. Toyota is looking to be better this season and Phoenix is a great place to do it. Busch hasn't finished lower than 2nd place in this race since 2017 and he's won the race three times.
Odds for the FanShield 500 are as follows:
Kyle Busch 7-2
Martin Truex Jr 9-2
Denny Hamlin 6-1
Kevin Harvick 6-1
Joey Logano 12-1
Brad Keselowski 12-1
Chase Elliot 12-1
Ryan Blaney 12-1
Kyle Larson 18-1
Alex Bowman 18-1
Who will win the FanShield 500?
Guy's Pick: Take Kyle Busch (7/2)
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