Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma
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Practice speeds correlate with good finishes at Sonoma. Some drivers are good at road racing, and some aren’t. If a driver can hit their marks in practice, then they can hit their marks in the race.
Stages could play a major role in determining finishing position. This claim, that stages will affect strategy, has been trotted out a lot this season, and it has never happened. This week, it will finally happen. Near the end of a stage, cars 10th and back or even 5th and back, will come down pit road, get service, and stay on the lead lap. When the stage ends, the leaders will pit and will fall behind the drivers that stopped early. Sonoma is a hard place to pass. There is not a guarantee that the original leaders will work their way back to the front. That is until the next caution or the end of the stage. It’s going to be weird in wine country, which means it’s just a normal day for wine country.
Dig into the statistics and find the best plays for this weekend’s NASCAR event with the Daily Fantasy NASCAR Spreadsheet:
Top Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks (plus $9,000)
The Daily Fantasy NASCAR circuit heads to wine country for a road course. There will only be 110 laps this weekend. That’s almost no hog points. Bump up place differential and finishing position points in your algorithm.
Joey Logano does not burn up the NASCAR practice leaderboard at Sonoma. NASCAR pays out for the race leaderboard, not practice. Logano has top 5 finishes in the last two Sonoma races. Do you know what his practice speeds were for those races? He ranked 25th, 25th, 10th, and 16th. This year he was 10th and 16th, again. Logano is close enough to the front to finish well, and far enough back to score place differential points.
Clint Bowyer missed the final round of qualifying by fractions of a second. This is a top 5 car with a top 5 road course driver. Top 5 might be conservative. Bowyer finished 3rd at Sonoma in 2015 for an MWR team that was hosting going out of business sales. He was fast last year in an HScott Motorsports jalopy (he finished 40th when the car burst into flames in middle of the race). The Sonoma stats are sick. In 11 races, Bowyer has 6 top 5s and 8 top 10s. No other driver is close to his top 5 and top 10 finish percentage. He’s in the Lightning McQueen sponsored car and it won last weekend because Disney is illuminati.
Jimmie Johnson is not starting in the top 5. None of my top tier picks are. It sounds crazy, but I expect crazy. With the stages, we’re going to see early pits, no pits, fuel mileage racing, and generally a wacky strategy race. Johnson and the 48 team play three dimensional chess while the rest are playing checkers. Larson, Truex, and Kyle Busch are flat out fast, but this is not a speed week. Larry McReynolds said that when the stages were announced, Sonoma was the first race he thought of. Which means Chad Knaus designed a winning gameplan 6 months ago. What if he only finishes 10th? That’s 48 points and likely a top 5 DFS score.
Middle Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks ($7,000-$9,000)
Matt Kenseth stinks at Sonoma, but not really. This catchy stat – “Kenseth has 1 top 10 in his career at Sonoma” – makes Kenseth look like garbage. He’s not good, but there’s a lot of spin in that stat. Watch this. Matt Kenseth has 4 top 20s in his last 6 Sonoma races. Feel better about starting Matt Kenseth in the back (on fresh tires, too – he opted out of qualifying). He has 10 career top 20s at Sonoma.
Kasey Kahne has 4 straight top 10s at Sonoma (8 straight top 20s). In 2014 he drove from 30th to 6th; in 2015, 26th to 8th; and last year, 19th to 9th. He was the 11th fastest in practice #1 and his long run speeds weren’t far off of the leader’s. A top 10 at Sonoma should ease the rumors about Kahne’s future. The last 5 Sonoma winners earned their first win of the season at Sonoma, and they weren’t favorites.
Value Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks ($6,000-$7,000)
We’re looking for place differential and finishing position. If we can get them both, then awesome. Sometimes it’s foolish to chase both.
Ty Dillon is starting in the back. With only 110 laps, Sonoma is not a high scoring race. Dillon can earn a top 10 DFS score with 40 to 45 fantasy points. In real life, Dillon needs to finish 19th for that to happen. This is his first run at Sonoma, but I’m sure Dillon logged plenty of hours in the Chevy simulator this week. His practice speeds suggest that he’s more of a 25th-30th place car. He’s more of a cash game play, but don’t rule him out in GPPs. We are going to see the field flip-flop often with the stage ending cautions. Also, the the #13 Geico car was usually solid for Casey Mears in the past at the road courses.
Punt Tier Daily Fantasy NASCAR Picks (sub $6,000)
Alon Day made his Xfinity debut at Mid-Ohio (road course), and he finished 13th for a small team (Carl Long). In the 2015 NASCAR Whelen Euro Series he finished the season in 2nd place. Four of the six tracks in the series are road courses. Alon Day prepared for Sonoma on iRacing. It worked; in practice #2, he was the 23rd fastest (better than any of the punts).
Track Cheat Sheet: Sonoma
- This is the first of two road course races this season. Sonoma is considered the technical road course (Watkins Glen is the super speedway of road courses). This is more of a short track than an intermediate track.
I am a promoter at FanVice and am also a user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of FanVice and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.