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NASCAR DFS: Shriners Children’s 500 Picks

The NASCAR Cup Series stays out on the West coast this weekend. We go from Vegas to Phoenix for the fourth race of the year. It’s time to see the debut of the new aero package on short tracks. We’ll touch on that shortly, but it doesn’t seem like the drivers are crazy about the alterations. Phoenix is a one-mile flat track with a dog leg that kicks out at the start/finish line where we may see upwards of seven-to-nine cars fan out wide. This is a technical track. It’s very tricky for DFS. We will lose the back markers to being lapped. Other drivers will have their own issues whether it be the wrong setup, a penalty on pit road, wrecking, etc. You have to formulate the perfect NASCAR DFS lineup build. Let’s take a look at the Shriners Children’s 500 picks for NASCAR DFS contests for Sunday’s race.

Before we get started, it’s worth mentioning the new aero package. The short track package faced a lot of criticism last year. And it was warranted. But following Friday’s practice session, many drivers were unhappy with the new package. A few compared it to the old package. The word is that it’ll be difficult to pass in traffic. We don’t like seeing that. We want the best cars to move up. This rumor/news is a hazard to our DFS success. Fortunately, qualifying was a bit chaotic. We have drivers in good equipment starting deep in the field. Let’s take a look at Sunday’s Shriners Children’s 500 picks for you NASCAR DFS lineups.

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Shriners Children’s 500 Picks: The Top 10

  1. Denny Hamlin (#11 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  2. Ty Gibbs (#54 Joe Gibbs Racing)
  3. Chase Elliott (#9 Hendrick Motorsports)
  4. Erik Jones (#43 Legacy Motor Club)
  5. William Byron (#24 Hendrick Motorsports)
  6. Tyler Reddick (#45 23XI Racing)
  7. Noah Gragson (#10 Stewart-Haas Racing)
  8. Chase Briscoe (#14 Stewart-Haas Racing)
  9. Michael McDowell (#34 Front Row Motorsports)
  10. Carson Hocevar (#77 Spire Motorsports)

An interesting lineup for sure. Denny Hamlin and Ty Gibbs will attract exposure in DFS because of where they start. I would aim to be slightly higher on Gibbs than the field. Everyone will easily flock to Hamlin for the easy dominator points. But nobody else truly stands out in the top 10. Sure, this is a track where passing is a challenge. But there aren’t too many threats to win in the top 10. Hamlin, Gibbs, Elliott, Byron, and maybe Briscoe stand out. I include Briscoe since his lone Cup Series win came at Phoenix two years ago. The last seven winners from Phoenix came from drivers starting within the top eight. Does the first Phoenix race of 2024 buck that trend?

Which Value-Priced Shriners Children’s 500 Picks Got A Points Movement Bump?


  • Bubba Wallace – $7,700; Starting P22
  • Alex Bowman – $7,500; Starting P25
  • Josh Berry – $7,200; Starting P36
  • Ryan Preece – $6,900; Starting P27
  • Austin Dillon – $6,800; Starting P30
  • Corey LaJoie – $6,300; Starting P35
  • Austin Cindric – $6,200; Starting P34


  • Brad Keselowski – $8,500; Starting P18
  • Bubba Wallace – $7,500; Starting P22
  • Alex Bowman – $7,200; Starting P25
  • Ryan Preece – $6,800; Starting P27
  • Josh Berry – $6,200; Starting P36
  • Austin Dillon – $5,500; Starting P30
  • Austin Cindric – $5,200; Starting P34
  • Core LaJoie – $4,800; Starting P35

I was fairly selective with this group. And I know there are cheap options such as John Hunter Nemechek, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Harrison Burton that start closer to the front with a better chance to stay on the lead lap. But I chose the above drivers because I think they offer enough position differential where they can maintain the lead lap. Bubba Wallace, Alex Bowman, and Brad Keselowski have the best equipment. Austin Cindric does too. And he was mentioned in this week’s NASCAR DFS preview article. Do not load up on these guys. One or two can be included. But given how this track hasn’t produced many natural cautions and it’s been difficult to pass, we shouldn’t rely on too much position differential.

Which Higher-Priced Drivers Got A Similar Bump?

  • Kyle Larson – Starting P17
  • Ryan Blaney – Starting P16
  • Joey Logano – Starting P23
  • Kyle Busch – Starting P31

This is where most will lean heavily on position differential. With Phoenix, I apply position differential like I would at a road course. Take it when it’s given to you. I’ll mix in all four drivers. However, I won’t go too overboard on Kyle Busch. He’s prone to things out of his control and things within his control. He induced his own penalties on pit road. Busch has also seen a change-up in pit crew members ahead of this weekend’s action. If there’s a driver to be underweight on out of this group, it would be Busch. The car will have speed. However, it’s already hard to pass and he could struggle to move up. If he garners plenty of ownership, I may seek leverage elsewhere. An early problem for Busch could be difficult to overcome.

Shriners Children’s 500 Picks


  • Denny Hamlin – $10,500; Starting P1
  • Christopher Bell – $10,000; Starting P13
  • Joey Logano – $9,500; Starting P23
  • Bubba Wallace – $7,700; Starting P22
  • Austin Cindric – $6,200; Starting P34
  • Carson Hocevar – $6,000; Starting P10

This lineup obviously takes its own risks. But it’s built around Hamlin and Bell collecting the dominator points. Logano, Wallace, and Cindric provide the position differential. However, Cindric isn’t a lock to stay on the lead lap. We’re just hoping that’s the case. He’s in great equipment, for sure. But we need him to flex the talent and upside he flashed in the Xfinity Series. Carson Hocevar is where we gamble a bit. He’s with Spire Motorsports and qualified well. At his price tag we’re hoping Hamlin and Bell log the dominator points and Hocevar can just finished in the top 15.


  • Ryan Blaney – $13,500; Starting P16
  • Denny Hamlin – $12,500; Starting P1
  • Christopher Bell – $11,500; Starting P13
  • Bubba Wallace- $7,500; Starting P22
  • Corey LaJoie – $4,800; Starting P35

Again, we take some risks with this lineup. However, we still try to cater to FanDuel’s strengths. Yes, it’s risky playing Hamlin with FanDuel’s scoring. But we know the pole sitter has a path to winning at Phoenix. Seven straight winners here have come from the top eight. Three of those have come from the pole. We have four other drivers that have good enough equipment to move up and stay on the lead lap. I do expect LaJoie to lose the lead lap, but he can still pay off his price tag if he can finish 22nd and even be off the lead lap.

White Flag Thoughts Before You Go 

Personally, I’ve gone back and forth with how I want to play this week. We had a profitable week at Vegas and we don’t want to give it all back at Phoenix. Cash games might be hard to gauge this week simply because we can’t commit to too many drivers starting deep in the field. Passing is incredibly difficult and this race will give a slight glimpse into what we can expect next week at Bristol. I may opt strictly for Tournaments. But when buildings lineups, just note you don’t need to target too much PD. Go for the dominator points and take some lineup risks with cheap drivers who qualified in the top 20.

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