Fantasy NASCAR Picks: Xfinity – Iowa 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa
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Now back to the great analysis from Pearce!
Short track Xfinity series races can get messy. In Cup series short track races, the lappers are good drivers or respectful losers that know their role. In the Xfinity series, the lap cars do not know who they are or what they are doing.
At Bristol, Christopher Bell was running away with the race until a lapper took him out. Thirteen cars did not finish that race because of 12 cautions.
Richmond is a less volatile short track, but it’s still small track with a lot of bad cars. There were only 3 wrecks, but the last one collected Allgaier, Lee, Briscoe, Gallagher, and Annett. Those guys are all DFS darlings. Be careful with ownership.
Last year, there were 4 wrecks in stage 3 of the Iowa fall race. There were 5 wrecks in stage 3 of the spring race. It’s not a wreck fest, but it’s a fast short track with a second groove.
There will be side by side racing and there will be wrecks. Cars racing for position will get roughed up. Lappers will get in the way. There’s going to be some tilt, but the fast cars will be the same fast cars that unload every week.
Elliott Sadler – Always a bridesmaid, never the bride. Sadler does not have to win to be in an optimal play, but often his fortune depends on others. When Sadler is an optimal play, it’s usually because Allgaier or Bell wreck. Sadler’s average finish at Iowa is 8th, and his average position on the DFS scoreboard is 10th. He’ll have a good real life racing day, but his fantasy potential isn’t there. At Richmond (similar to Iowa), Sadler was optimal because Allgaier wrecked several times.
Justin Allgaier – He was fast at Richmond (similar to Iowa), but Hemric doored him early in the race. This sucked all of the speed out of Allgaier. He wrecked again later in that race. Allgaier scored 38.5 hog points in the last Iowa race, but he ran out of fuel and lost 3 laps (finished 20th). At Bristol, Allgaier wanted to run the high line, but when Bell wrecked, he couldn’t rubber in the groove by himself. At Dover, he won.
Christopher Bell – I would pay $12,000 for Bell. Anyone that has watched any Xfinity series races this season knows that Bell has the best car. I would argue that he is the best driver, too. Sadler and Allgaier are good, but no one would argue that they are great. They have experience and very good equipment, but Bell will likely be racing on Sundays next year. He’s similar to Erik Jones who used to race the #20 car. He can lap the field, but he can also put the car in the wall.
Cole Custer – The SHR Ford #00 is very fast, so Custer always has a great starting position. The only way he hits value and fits in the optimal lineup is by leading laps. That means he needs to start on the pole, and Bell and Allgaier need to be slow in practice. Custer lucked his way into being optimal at Charlotte because of pit sequencing. Other than that, he’s been a fine cash play, but a wasted pick in GPPs.
Tyler Reddick – Tyler Wrecked-ick is fast, but that’s because he’s in a fast race car. He’s like a young superstar pitcher that’s more of a thrower than a pitcher. Reddick has led only 45 laps this year. That’s about 3 laps per race. He’s not elite, but he can earn s top 5. He can also wreck, or wreck the other cars that you rostered.
Daniel Hemric – This is the next Elliott Sadler. He’s too old to ever get a shot at a Cup car, so he’ll be in the Xfinity series forever. He races like Sadler. He’s not elite, but he’s consistently a top 10 driver. Hemric has the best average running position in the Xfinity series. His average running position at Iowa was 13th and 9th last year. That’s not bad for his rookie season.
Brandon Jones – We can’t write him off, but his price is too high. The drivers just above him and just below him are much better options. If Jones starts 15th or deeper, then he’ll make my pool. His average running position at Richmond was 13th. That’s actually one of his worst races this year.
John Hunter Nemechek – He has Truck series experience at Iowa (win last season), but he hasn’t looked good in the #42 car.
Matt Tifft – It’s easy to get him and Jones confused. They swapped rides in the offseason, and their results are very similar every week. Tifft needs place differential to turn the dial. It’s possible that he could fit into an optimal lineup with a near top 5 and a couple place differential. If only two cars get hog points, then I’d rather pay $8,900 for a top 5 non-hog, then $10,000 for a top 5 non-hog.
Ryan Reed – At Charlotte, he started last. All he had to do was not wreck, and he wrecked. That was the only time anyone ever wanted to play him outside of a plate race. His Iowa numbers aren’t bad, but Iowa is always a soft field. Add 5 spots to his finishes for a track adjusted result.
Austin Cindric – In the 60 car = Fade. In the 22 car = In play. He finished 5th at Richmond, but he only had the 9th best average running position. A 9th place finish seems like a reasonable projection.
Justin Haley – The #23 Gallagher Motorsports car is good, but not this good. Haley has raced at Iowa in the lower series, but he’s never driven an Xfinity car. He doesn’t know what this car is going to do on lap 200 or lap 250. This is a steep price for an unproven driver in a car that’s not elite.
Riley Herbst – He hasn’t even been in a Truck yet, and he’s priced above $8,000. Gragson was only $7,400 when he was in the 18 car. This is really testing the theory that anyone can drive the #18 car. We’ve always said it. Now it’s time to put your money, where you mouth is. If you really believe that anyone can driver the #18 JGR Toyota, then you should have no problem paying $8,200 for Herbst. This is Knight Rider, but with Baywatch David Hasselhoff driving. Hell, it might be cheeseburger eating David Hasselhoff driving. We just don’t know.
Ryan Truex – 11 non-plate race, 11 finishes of 16th or better. He wrecked in a 2011 Iowa race.
Shane Lee – The #3 car has improved as the season has progressed. Lee has been decent in his several races in the #3 car. He won the pole and led 58 laps in 2017 ARCA race at Iowa.
Kaz Grala – I thought Fury Racing was rushing to put this team together, it doesn’t look like it so far. This car makes Grala’s JGL car look like a joke. That’s the good news. The bad news is Grala was terrible in his first two Truck seasons at Iowa (finished 29th and 24th). His average running position was 23rd at Richmond. This is Grala’s last race with Fury Racing (4 race deal). He needs a sponsor. Grala may go all out to gain attention. That probably won’t end well.
Garrett Smithley – 25th-ley has finished 26th in the last two races. I’m not changing the name. In fact, he’s only finished 25th once this season. It’s usually 24th, 26th, or 27th.
Ross Chastain – Why is the crappy JD Motorsports car more expensive than the good JD Motorsports car? This is a glitch in the matrix. Chastain is a weekly 15th to 20th place driver. He lucked out and finished 4th at Iowa last year, but he’s been a top 20 driver in the last 5 Iowa races.
Michael Annett – At Richmond, he was 15th on short run and 12th on the long run in practice. His average running position was 16th, but he got into a wreck near the end and finished 20th. At his price, 16th and couple place differential points will work.
Ryan Sieg – On the podcast, I said he should be priced around $8,000. That was stupid. His $7,200 price tag is correct. Sieg earns decent finishes against soft fields and he’s put together some solid finishes at Iowa – 14th, 2nd, 15th, 21st, 12th, and 17th.
Ty Majeski – This car is cursed, and with Majeski in it, it’s double cursed. The price tag is appealing, but don’t fall for it. He will wreck. In his Xfinity debut last year at Iowa, he wrecked.
Jeremy Clements – He had top 20 speed at Richmond and finished 8th. He’s another driver that benefits from soft fields. He can beat all of the drivers above him – Majeski, Sieg, Anett, Chastain, Smithley, Grala, Lee, Herbst, and Haley.
Joey Gase – A little slower than Clements.
J.J. Yeley – The general rule is that if it’s not a plate race, then he’s start & parking. He might run half of the laps before he parks, but that’s still a park.
Alex Labbe – Canadian Champ. Canadian series is mainly short tracks. Labbe had a top 20 car and finished 16th at Richmond, but that seems to be his ceiling. He’s in play. You’ll pick your hogs, your punt, mid-range guy, then you have around $6,000 to $7,000 left, and you end building some Labbe lineups. It happens every week.
Vinnie Miller – He’s been overpriced all season. I have no clue why he is always priced above $6,000. It is the strangest thing.
Joe Nemechek – Matt Mills could end up in this car. You never know. It’s hard to rely on the 4th JD Motorsports car.
Josh Williams – He’s a little too expensive. He’ll start around 27th and finish 27th. I‘d rather save money and take a guy that starts in the back and gains positions when others wreck or park.
Josh Bilicki – At $5,900, no Bilicki Glitch this week.
David Starr – The guy has been good at Iowa. He’s been decent this year. He’s finishing in the mid-20s.
Spencer Boyd – Straight punt homie. Don’t like it. I get playing some Boyd to limit exposure to chalkier punts.
Tommy Joe Martins – Tojo is cheap again, plug him in. He has a top 30 in nine straight races. BJ McLeod Motorsports has been respectable this year.
Blake Jones – The #8 car for BJ McLeod Motorsports has been a go to this year. Tojo, Bayley Currey, and Ray Black have won people money. Now, it’s Blake Jones’ turn. He finished 7th in the 2015 ARCA race at Iowa.
Brandon Hightower – Maybe, if he starts last.
Timmy Hill – Start and Park.
Stan Mullis – Start and Park team (carl long), but since this is a one off, Mullis should try to run the full race. Mullis runs a timeshare company. That’s how he met Carl Long. The timeshare company is sponsoring the ride. Start & Parking would be a bad look for an already shady industry. That being said, do we really want to roster a timeshare salesman? I understand, “I’m not going back to the mill,” but “I’m not going back to the timeshare seminar” just doesn’t have the same ring. Mullis ran 241 of the 254 laps at Iowa last year with TLC Vacations on the hood.
Mike Harmon – The car is entered, but Harmon wasn’t listed as the driver. He’s likely trying to lease the car this weekend to the highest bidder, or park. The last time he finished a non-plate race was way back in Phoenix. Remember when he claimed he didn’t start and park at Fontana, and “NASCAR writer” Christopher Knight supported his claim? I want to believe that Knight feels dumb now, but Knight loves these guys. His Twitter timeline is nothing but birthday wishes to drivers. It’s kind of hard to be a journalist and a sycophantic fan boy at the same time. Brett Griffin (Bowyer’s spotter) burned him on Twitter for his lack of professionalism. Which should make this race a little more fun.
Jeff Green – Unabashed Start and Park.
Morgan Shepherd – Unabashed Start and Park.
Alrighty, there is the field breakdown – post qualifying, well as always we’ll figure it out in the Premium Slack chat.
Good Luck! ~ Pearce