Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Bank of America 500 at Charlotte
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The 2015 Charlotte fall race was postponed because of rain. The 2016 Charlotte race was postponed because of rain. Anyone want to guess what the forecast is for this weekend?
This is the second year in a row that a Hurricane will affect the Charlotte fall race.
We might as well race arks. My favorite Daily Fantasy N-ARK-CAR (or NASC-ARK) picks are Clint “The Bouy” Bowyer and A.J. Allmen-Dinghy. My fade is Landon Cassill because he has “land” in his name.
That’s how the article starts this week.
Dig into the statistics and find the best plays for this weekend’s NASCAR event with the Daily Fantasy NASCAR Spreadsheet here.
- Kyle Busch – The #18 car is trending in the right direction. Perception isn’t fair to Truex. He’s been on top all year. There is nowhere for him to go. Still, the perception is that Kyle Busch appears to be a tad faster than Truex. That may be true, and the difference may be insignificant. The rub against Kyle Busch is that his team makes too many mistakes. He had the best car at Chicago. He sat on the pole and controlled stage #1 of the race. Then his pit crew sabotaged his day. Kyle Busch has never won a cup race at Charlotte. He’s won exhibitions (the million dollar all-star race), but he’s never won a point race. You may remember the temper tantrum he threw when he finished second to Austin Dillon in the Charlotte Memorial day race. He has extra motivation, but so does every driver. This is first race of the second round of the playoffs.
- Martin Truex, Jr. – 2, 31, 18, 14, 31, 45, 25, 42, 33, 23, 34. Those are Martin Truex’s fast lap points in the last 11 intermediate track races. 0, 38, 18, 12, 26, 58, 16, 38, 14, 19, and 19. Those are Martin Truex’s laps led points in the last 11 intermediate track races. It seems like a sure thing. He’s not as fast as Kyle Busch, but he’s more consistent. The last intermediate race during the day was at Chicago. Truex’s laps led points at Chicago are suppressed because he was hit with a speeding penalty. He still managed to get to the front and win the race. More importantly, Truex scored the most fantasy points at Chicago. His 100 points were 31 more than the second most.
- Kyle Larson – In the Memorial day race, Larson missed qualifying and he had to start in the back. The same thing happened earlier this season at Charlotte’s sister track, Texas. In that race, Larson raced from the back all the way to a second place finish. That wasn’t the case at Charlotte. Larson hit the wall in practice and he hit the wall in the race. This is what I wrote for the Chicago race: “Larson could be a 3rd to 7th place driver all day. He may make it over the hump and win in the end, but this doesn’t look like a race where Larson leads the field for a significant portion of the race.” That’s exactly what he was. Larson needs top five speed in practice, a car that he expresses his pleasure to drive, and a starting position inside the top 3 to be a hog. If he qualifies poorly, then he’s definitely in play.
- Jimmie Johnson – Wins are the only thing that matters. Fast laps and laps led are made up. Johnson is rarely a fantasy NASCAR standout. That’s crazy. The seven time champ is a fantasy NASCAR after thought. That’s not always the case. At Dover, Charlotte, and Texas, Johnson scores fantasy points along with his wins. A FanVice member (Mr26Excitement) pointed out in the slack chat that Dale Jr. said on his podcast the Dover setup is very similar to the Charlotte setup. Charlotte is identical to Texas. Johnson has 11 Dover wins, 8 Charlotte wins, and 7 Texas wins. These are his best tracks. He won at Dover in the spring after starting in the back. He won at Texas in the spring after starting in the back. He almost won at Charlotte in the spring but ran out of gas. Who cares if he won? Did he score hog points? He scored 28 hog points at Texas, 30 at Charlotte, and 20 at Dover. Johnson ended up with the 4th most fantasy points last week at Dover. His score was aided by place differential points, but what’s new? He can’t qualify, sometimes he doesn’t even qualify, and other times he goes straight to the back like a kid misbehaving in the lunch line.
Chase Elliott – The #24 car was fast at Chicago because they were cheating. They were fast at Dover last week. Chicago and Dover have been good tracks for Elliott, but that doesn’t matter this year. No one is faster than Truex or Kyle Busch. Harvick is great at a lot of tracks, but he can’t compete with them. How did Elliott do it? He probably cheated. Elliot was the last car to pass the pre-race inspection at Dover. That sounds suspicious. Put your tin foil hat on. The winning car must go through post race inspection. Elliott gave up the lead on the very last lap. If he wins, he’s inspected and busted, and he doesn’t advance to the next round of the playoffs. If he finishes second, then he’s fine. Another theory is that NASCAR cannot take the negative publicity of punishing the #24 car again, while other cars are suspected of cheating. Maybe the #24 was cheating, and they were calling NASCAR’s bluff and just got passed at the end. Do you remember the Talladega playoff race where Kevin Harvick intentionally wrecked the field to end the race and save his playoff spot? Harvick was caught on camera, but NASCAR looked the other way. NASCAR will play god in the regular season and invent rules and rules packages on the spot. In the playoffs, NASCAR is the divine watchmaker dreamed up by Deists that does not interfere in our daily toils. Elliott is fast because he’s cheating, so he’s in play.
Kevin Harvick – I’ve buried Harvick this season, but his team deserved it. They haven’t had the car, so they’ve never been a play. As the week’s progress, the #4 team gets closer to the Toyotas. Every week is another opportunity to tweak the new Stewart-Haas Ford. His Chicago performance can easily be misinterpreted. He’s not back. He’s not a driver to beat. He’s fast enough to lead laps when Truex and Busch both make mistakes. That’s not very flattering, but that’s better than where he was months ago. Last week, Harvick put some fast laps on the scoreboard. He’s a pivot play. I still do not trust him on the pole. He started last fall’s Charlotte race (day race) from the pole, and he was passed by Chase Elliott before the competition caution.
Erik Jones – He has a fast Toyota. I don’t believe that he can lead laps, but he can run fast laps. With ownership seemingly playing a major role in pricing, this is a Jones week. If you’re riding the pricing wave this is an opportunity to steal some hog points. A lot depends on where everyone qualifies, and where the value lies. Jones is a decent driver in a great car, but the rookie is capable of making a mistake. A slick race track during the day and an aggressive driver with nothing to lose is a terrible combination. The risk is acceptable if Jones shows speed in practice and qualifies in a position to lead laps or gain place differential points. If he qualifies in between, then he’s relegated to being a risky GPP play.
Brad Keselowski – Gun to your head – BK will lead +20 laps or he’s a top 10 car? Easy. BK will lead +10 laps or he’s a top 10 car? I’m still going with top 10 car. The speed isn’t there. DraftKings wants $9,900 for Keselowski. Let’s take a gander at his laps led at intermediate tracks. Keselowski led 104 laps at Michigan. For some, considering Michigan an intermediate track is a stretch. Let me throw some more shade. I’m not going to go deep into the details, but I wrote this before the Michigan race, and I was right. BK won the pole at a one groove race track. That was a huge advantage. He won the pole because Truex got bumped from round two at the last second, and he had an extra lap on his tires in round three which proved beneficial. I said I wasn’t going to get into the details. Here are the facts. BK faded at Michigan. He’s done nothing at intermediate tracks. I sound so mean. I’ll never make friends in this industry. There is no way a third rate driver is going to give me exclusive race track access. I’m not a sycophant. I am a raw liability blowing kisses. I didn’t choose the skux life, the skux life chose me.
Denny Hamlin – Let’s go through the checklist. Does he drive a Toyota? Yes. Ohh, very good. Is his last name Truex or Busch? No. Get out of my face! Hamlin is pivot life. He cheated at Darlington and it worked. I picked him in my article and we loved him in the FanVice slack chat that weekend. I would like to pretend that I knew he was cheating. I didn’t, but sometimes you just get that feeling that somebody is really fast. If you get that feeling this weekend, then play Hamlin. Before Darlington, Hamlin did NOTHING at intermediate tracks. If he looks sneaky fast this weekend, then I am very interested. Hamlin can take an almost fast enough car …almost fast enough… to the front through pit strategy. He’s due for a championship, and this weekend could be the beginning of that run. Full disclosure, I said something along those lines last year, and well, that didn’t happen.
Matt Kenseth – NASCAR media loves Matt this weekend. Do you remember when everyone used to be named Matt? There was always three Matts in a class. Now, there aren’t any Matts. Do your civic duty and name your kid Matt. Here’s Jeff Burton’s theory: This is a day race, so the groove will move around. The experienced drivers will know how to communicate the track changes to the team in order to get the correct setup. That sounds nice, but a fast car is a fast car, and clean air is clean air. Kenseth has a top 10 average running position in his last six intermediate track races, but he hasn’t led a lap at an intermediate tracks this year, not one lap.
Joey Logano – 10, 8, 6, 7, 0 ,0 , 0, 2, 0, 3, and 1. You can probably guess that those numbers are from the 11 intermediate track races this year, but what stat is it? Those are fast laps. I’m not paying $9,600 for that. That’s like buying a Neo-Geo, or a Cd-i. Let’s just jump down the failed video game system rabbit hole: Atari Jaguar, Nintendo Virtual Boy, Sega 32X.
Jamie McMurray – Here’s the McMurray rule. If he qualifies 10th, you can get cute with him in GPPs. If he qualifies poorly, and practices well, then he’s a lock (last week at Dover). That being said, the rules may go out the window this week. He’s too expensive. No one will play him this week, so his salary will crash. Don’t get excited. Talladega is next week; his salary won’t matter.
Kurt Busch – His sponsorship for 2018 is still up in the air. He needs to race well to seal the deal. He’s as cheap as you’ll get him, but he’s not a must play. If he qualifies poorly, then we can all swarm to him like he’s last week’s Jamie McMurray. He’s been okay at intermediate tracks this year.
Sub 8k Drivers
Daniel Suarez – His price makes more sense this week, but he’s still underpriced. He’s a top 15 driver. When he qualifies inside the top 15, he makes for an interesting GPP play. He doesn’t score a lot of points and his points per dollar return isn’t amazing. That’s the confusing part of daily fantasy NASCAR. When we look at points per dollar, we compare it to other DFS sports. That’s flawed. Fantasy NASCAR is a zero sum game. When Suarez scores points, those points are points that other drivers cannot score. In other sports, everyone can go off. If Suarez finshes 10th and starts 10th, that’s not sexy, but that means other drivers get pushed back. Look through the past optimal lineups. It’s not all home runs in NASCAR. It’s not like other sports. It’s lap leaders and the drivers that fit. Suarez is the definition of a guy that fits. If he does well, another good or value driver fails. He’s a game theory play. If he qualifies poorly, then there is no theory involved. Just play him.
Ryan Newman – In his last five Charlotte races, he has 4 top 10s (7 top 10s in his last 10 races). The gut reaction is to say he’s a cheap Suarez, but he’s not. Suarez has a much better car. Newman no showed at Chicago, but he finished with a top 10 at Charlotte in May. I tend to side with the most recent day race. Newman was 17th on the long run in the most important practice at Chicago and his average position was 21st in the race. That sounds like a typical RCR car.
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. – Somehow he’s still in the playoffs. At the beginning of the year, Stenhouse worked the cautions perfectly. Not so much anymore. After the drivers called out NASCAR for the Deus Ex Machina debris cautions, Stenhouse’s stock has dropped. Same old Stenhouse with less wrecks. He has two restrictor plate wins. This is a cheaper version of Dale Jr.
Austin Dillon – If you’re rostering RCR cars, you’re hoping for some luck. Dillon isn’t as cheap as he was. He’s been fine at the intermediate tracks. This is Suarez with your fingers crossed. Dillon needs breaks for a top 10 finish.
Ty Dillon – He’ll finish 17th to 23rd. If that works based on qualifying position, then take him. He’s a cash guy with limited upside unless he flubs qualifying.
Aric Almirola – He’s cheap, and one of the best 6K drivers at intermediate tracks. When he qualifies top 25, you’ll have to make a tough choice. If you need to squeeze in hogs, then I don’t mind Almirola starting inside the top 25. We all want to take punts that move through the field, but passing is hard. In a day race, punts don’t pass they get passed. Almirola can easily hold his position and carry you to the GPP win.
Trevor Bayne – His numbers have mirrored his teammate Ricky Stenhouse. His average running position at intermediate tracks: 11, 15, 14, 18, 15, 17, 17, 28, 17, 36, and 24. Those numbers are going in the wrong direction. We need a poor qualifying effort. Honestly, when was the last time you heard about Trevor Bayne? That tells you enough.
For post-practice analysis, visit the FanVice.com Slack Chat.
Track Cheat Sheet: Charlotte
- Charlotte is THE cookie-cutter 1.5 mile oval. The banking in the turns is fairly steep and cars will top 200 mph early in a run. Passing up front will be rare. It will happen on chaotic restarts and late in a long green flag run.
- This is the first scheduled Charlotte day race in some time. The last two Charlotte fall races were during the day, but that was due to rainouts. Teams had very little practice time, and that practice time was spent in preparation for a night race. Be careful with track history stats this week,.