Fantasy NASCAR Analysis: (FREE) -Quaker State 400 presented by Walmart at Kentucky
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Kevin Harvick – As always, ignore 2017 (he was good in the 2017 Kentucky race, but he got hit with a pit penalty during the caution before the overtime finish). Go back to 2016. In the first year of the Kentucky repave, Harvick scored the most fantasy points.
Kyle Busch – If he’s in clean air, he’s unbeatable. In traffic, he sucks. That’s what happened at Chicago. That’s what happened last year at Kentucky. The guy hates his pit crew, but they are the reason he’s good. Think about it. Is he a better driver than the elite drivers? No. Is his car that much better? It’s a little better than most, but it’s not better than Harvick.
When he wins, his pit crew gains him spots. If they do not gain Busch spots on pit road, he stays in traffic. If they lose him spots, it’s over. The closer to the front that he starts, the more I like Kyle Busch.
Martin Truex, Jr. – He’s been great at Kentucky the last two years (anyone running in first at Kentucky is hard to pass), but he’s also been great everywhere over that span. He’s not elite this season, and it has shown at the intermediate tracks. At Chicago, he passed cars 5 through 40, but he could not get to the front.
At Michigan, a track where Truex has been lights out, he was nowhere to be found. Truex has not improved this year, but everyone else has. Making matters worse is that his pit crew is not a top 10 pit crew. They have to be mistake free to give Truex a chance.
Kyle Larson – He drove from the front to the back twice at Kentucky last year. His teammate, McMurray, was fast, too.
Brad Keselowski – The track history is there, but does he have the car? This race will turn into long green flag runs, and you know Keselowski will stay out longer than anyone else. He won this race in 2016 by saving fuel. That’s his only chance, but it’s not improbable. Normally, you can scratch BK’s name off the list at intermediate tracks, but there is just enough flukiness in Kentucky to consider him.
Clint Bowyer – His price makes him almost unplayable. This feels like the Michigan race all over again, but without the lucky rain shortened win.
Joey Logano – The price is okay, but if a combination of Harvick, Busch, and Truex scores the most points, then it seems unlikely that Logano or the other top drivers in this price range are optimal. Logano has been a top 10 driver at Kentucky in the past, but that won’t work. The Logano play needs two of the supposed “Big 3” to have bad luck, or Kyle Larson needs to be a top hog.
Denny Hamlin – Same DFS spot as Logano. Their intermediate track programs are equal.
Aric Almirola – He led laps at Chicago before his pit gun woes. At some point, treating Almirola as a place differential only play will burn DFS players.
Jimmie Johnson – He got taken out on a restart at Kentucky last year. His average running position at intermediate tracks ranks 19th. How can you spend $9,100 for Jimmie Johnson? He started in the back at Chicago and only managed to score 55 fantasy points.
Chase Elliott – In his words, he’ll scrape and claw for a 10th place finish. He was a little better at Chicago, but that’s a track where crew chief Alan Gustafson always cheats, I mean, always does well. His price puts him in the player pool, unless he starts in the front four rows.
Kurt Busch – Too cheap. He’ll be one the most popular plays. His average running position at intermediate tracks is the third best this season. Ignore last year’s Kentucky result. His engine blew on the last lap.
Ryan Blaney – He’s a little cheaper this week, but I would prefer Kurt Busch. If you pair two $8,000 driver, then you need to double punt. Kentucky is a lap turner. There aren’t a lot of wreck to make a punt work, let alone two punts.
Jamie McMurray – He had a top 10 car at Kentucky last year. He’s had a top 15 car this season. It depends on his qualifying effort.
Erik Jones – Kurt Busch and Erik Jones seem like a great combo. If you add Harvick and Kyle Busch, that leaves $11,000. You can go with two decent punts, or a true sub $5K punt and a low $6K driver. Neither of those look optimal.
Mid Range Lotto Drivers – I can write up blurbs for each of the following drivers, but it doesn’t matter. If these drivers work, then it’s for reasons that no one can predict. The driver that is in the winning GPP lineup will not make a mistake on pit road, will not wreck, and will get a lucky dog wave around or two. You can’t predict that. You can build 150 lineups to to get exposure to all of these drivers, and you’ll have a better shot.
- Alex Bowman
- Daniel Suarez
- Ryan Newman
- Austin Dillon
- Paul Menard
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
- Matt Kenseth
Value Range Criteria
- Fast in practice
- Qualifying towards the back or…
- Starting near 20th, if you believe this is a lap turner and a value driver will use track position to stay on the lead lap. However, if this race goes EXTREME green (which I think it will, then the car starting near 20th still goes a lap down, but they don’t have the place differential possibilities of the car that is also a lap down, but started 30th).
- Current form at intermediate tracks
- Kasey Kahne – Mercurial.
- A.J. Allmendinger – In the last three 1.5 miles tracks, he’s finished 1 lap down in each race. He earned a the lucky dog in each of those races, and he still could not finish on the lead lap.
- William Byron – Seems too cheap.
- Chris Buescher – At Chicago, he was faster than his teammate, Allmendinger, in practice and in the race.
- Darrell Wallace, Jr. – Ran well at Kentucky last year.
- Go cheap
- Pick a guy near the back
- Hope that your car finishes
- Hope restart wrecks take out 5 cars starting ahead of your car.
- …or don’t punt
- Lock in Kyle Busch. You have $7,180 for five players.
- Throw in a punt. Let’s say Ray Black, Jr., you have $7,600 for four players
- You can swap punts, but most of them are priced up this week. It might make more sense to play two drivers in the $6,000 range, than to play expensive punts or to have too much exposure to Ray Black, Jr.. Obviously, qualifying will help make this decision.
- Let’s take a $6,000 tier driver. We have around $8,000 left for three picks.
- Did you think I was going to tell you who to pick? You know that publicly building lineups violate community guidelines, and they will snitch on me so fast.
- If I go down to a $7,000 tier driver, then I need double digit place differential points, or at least 5 place differential points and a 15th place finish.
- If I play a $10,000 driver, then I believe that Kyle Busch has an issue on pit road. It has happened, but it’s more likely that he leads nearly every lap. There just isn’t any competition. You’ll get low ownership with one of these drivers and it could be the key to winning a GPP, or it could be the reason your lineups finish on the outside of the money.
- With my final three picks, I am looking for
- As many place differential points that I can get.
- A top 5, but I will settle for a top 10 if…
- The fppk is acceptable or if it’s an extremely safe top 10 with guaranteed +5 place differential points.
A cup driver has won the last 5 Kentucky July races (Cup drivers do no compete in the September Kentucky race), and 9 of the last 10. Kyle Busch has won the last two Kentucky Xfinity summer races.
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Good Luck! ~ Pearce