2022 Ruoff Mortgage 500 at Phoenix Predictions and Pick

| March 9, 2022 4:43 pm PDT

Last week, Kyle Larson almost came through as my top pick. A late caution propelled him from sixth to first, but Alex Bowman passed him on the final lap. Now, we’ll shift our focus to Phoenix.

The 1.0-mile oval is an important race on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule. The track will host the Championship 4 in November, so it’s important for championship-caliber teams to run well this weekend.

Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Larson split the Phoenix races last season. Will they make an appearance in my top picks? Let’s check it out.

Kyle Busch (+750)

Kyle Busch had an eventful weekend at Las Vegas. He wrecked a few minutes into practice, forcing him into a backup car. The car was competitive, with Busch running up front. He took the lead with under 50 laps to go and was on his way to victory.

Unfortunately, a late caution and pit stop dropped him out of the lead. Busch will look to avenge that defeat at Phoenix.

In 2018, Phoenix Raceway reconfigured its track. It happened in the middle of the year, so the first Phoenix race included the old layout. Check out Busch’s numbers in the first three races on the new configuration.

  Finishing Position Laps Led (of 312)
2018 1st 117
2019 1st 177
2019 2nd 69

I’d say it didn’t take long for him to adjust to the new layout. Even before the reconfiguration, Busch led 75+ laps in three of his last five Phoenix races. Like most tracks, he has excelled at Phoenix.

Busch hasn’t led laps in his last four Phoenix races, but he has a pair of top 10 finishes. Last week’s performance shows that Busch is still capable of competing for wins. We should see that on Sunday.

Chase Elliott (+800) 

Chase Elliott hasn’t been much of a factor this season. He had a great car two weeks ago at Auto Club, but contact with Kyle Larson ended his chance to win. Elliott ran up front last week but ultimately settled for a ninth-place finish. He should find more success at Phoenix.

Elliott showed up to Phoenix in 2016 and had immediate success. He opened his career with five straight finishes of 12th or better. Elliott led 106 laps in the 2017 Phoenix race.

Over the last four races at Phoenix, it’s hard to find a better driver than Elliott.

  Finishing Position Laps Led (of 312)
2020 7th 93
2020 1st 153
2021 5th 0
2021 5th 94

It was only a matter of time before Elliott won at Phoenix. In 2020, he dominated the Championship 4 race, leading 153 laps en route to his first career championship. It looked like he might replicate that last season but fell back to fifth.

You can never count him out at Phoenix. Elliott had success at the track from day one and hasn’t slowed down. Surprisingly, his 2020 victory is the last time he won on an oval. He would love to end that streak.

Joey Logano (+900)

Joey Logano was a big disappointment at Las Vegas. He typically runs well there, but we barely saw Logano in the top 10 as he finished 14th. Logano should have a bounce-back effort at Phoenix.

Before Phoenix’s reconfiguration in 2018, Logano had a few good results. He led 30+ laps five times, and won the Fall 2016 race. While Kyle Busch was the best driver immediately after the reconfiguration, Logano took the spotlight in 2019.

  Finishing Position Laps Led (of 312)
2019 9th 93
2020 1st 60
2020 3rd 125
2021 2nd 143
2021 11th 0

The most surprising thing about that stretch is one victory. You can argue Logano has had the winning car in four of the last five Phoenix races. He battled Chase Elliott for the 2020 Championship, finishing third.

In this race last year, Logano was the car to beat. He dominated most of the race, but Martin Truex Jr came alive late, taking the lead with under 30 laps to go.

We know Logano can lead laps at Phoenix, but can he close the deal? He would love to bounce back from a disappointing performance with a big victory.

Kevin Harvick (+2000) 

I never thought I’d see the day where Kevin Harvick had (+2000) odds at Phoenix but here we are. It hasn’t been an ideal start to the 2022 season for Harvick. He has one top 10 finish, while only leading one lap. That’s not great for me, considering he was one of my preseason 2022 Championship 4 contenders.

In the mid-2010s, it wasn’t a matter of if Harvick would win at Phoenix. People were wondering how many laps he would lead. I mean, check out this stretch.

  Finishing Position Laps Led (of 312)
2013 1st 70
2014 1st 224
2014 1st 264
2015 1st 224
2015 2nd 143
2016 1st 139

At that point, he probably had minus odds to win at Phoenix. We haven’t seen the same dominance, but Harvick continues to put up good numbers at the track.

Since the reconfiguration, he has a pair of races with 65+ laps led. He has finished top 10 in all seven races, but he has yet to visit victory lane. I’m not using that as a reason to pick against him on Sunday.

Harvick has been quiet this season, but if you give me (+2000) at Phoenix, I’m taking it all day.

Who Will Win the 2022 Ruoff Mortgage 500? 

  • Joey Logano

Joey Logano had a rough performance at Las Vegas, but I think he shakes that off to score his first victory of the season. He is in a bit of a drought, with his last non-dirt win coming in 2020. We’ve seen how dominant he is at Phoenix. I think he closes the deal on Sunday.

Sunday’s race will be live at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX. Fans can wager on their top pick by using the top NASCAR betting sites.

Nicholas Sterling

Nicholas has been a Sports Writer with GamblingSites.com since May 2021. He has a rich sports background, writing about NASCAR, NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, Golf, etc. Nick is always ready for a new challenge.

He enjoys rooting on D.C. sports teams, including the Commanders, Wizards, and Capitals.

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