After two weeks of action packed racing we should expect no less here in Las Vegas as the senior racing circuit heads west to run the 20th Annual Kobalt 400. It looks like there will be 39 drivers in this race which is the same as last week’s number which means all drivers have made the field before qualifying even started. The drivers will need to complete at least 267 laps if they want to take home the checkered flag this afternoon providing plenty of extra points to earn for laps led.
The track actually sits in Clark County which is about 15 miles northeast of the famed Las Vegas strip. The track itself is one and a half miles in length with banking in the turns ranging anywhere from 12 to 20 degrees. Since this is the 20th race run at this track we have a decent sample size to pull from when looking at which drivers we like best to rack up the most fantasy points. Through the first two races we find that two Stewart-Haas Racing drivers have the early lead in their quest for the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Championship. Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch have each done well but we have a long way gp before we can even think about the playoffs so let’s get down to the business at hand. Each week I will go through a few plays that I like for this week’s race along with a few lower priced plays that may pay big dividends when everything is all said and done. It is imperative to select a few lower tiered drivers if we want to grab a few studs for our lineups this afternoon.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. – $9,200 – Earnhardt seems grossly underpriced here as his history at this track would seem to indicate that he is one of the better drivers on this track. In the last 10 starts he has not won a race but he has racked up eight top ten finishes over that same time period. Furthermore since he has had Greg Ives as his crew chief Earnhardt has been able to drive the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet to a fourth and eighth place finish in the two races he has started. Earnhardt did have the third fastest speed in the final practice yesterday afternoon so starting 18th on the grid can provide plenty of fantasy points this afternoon.
Brad Keselowski – $10,200 – In the eight races Keselowski has started here in Las Vegas he has been able to take the checkered flag twice while finishing in the top ten four times. In fact, all of those top ten finishes have come over the last four starts which makes Keselowski almost a sure thing for today’s race. The #2 Miller Lite Ford turned in the fifth fastest time in the final practice and will roll of from the pole position when the green flag drops this afternoon.
Martin Truex Jr. – $9,500 – Truex looks like he has a decent set up for this week’s race as he will start from the front row next to the pole sitter. His three top ten finishes over the last ten games only tells half the story. The driver of the #78 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER BOATS Toyota has been able to bring home finishes of 11th, 2nd, 14th and 8th in his last four starts. It’s not out of the question for him to lead some laps here this afternoon and be in contention to win the race. Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson also make for a nice plays as Johnson is the only other active driver who has won two races at this track.
Ryan Newman -$7,800 – Newman comes into this one at an average salary but could net you some big fantasy points this afternoon. The driver of the #31 Caterpiller Chevrolet has finished in the top ten four times in his last six starts here which also includes a race where he had to bow out of due to engine failure. This year has seen him finish out of the top 20 in both races as he starts from the 21st position when the race starts up this afternoon.
Kasey Kahne – $8,200 – Draftkings has done a good job of pricing Kahne just about right here as at first glance, his price may seem a little high. On further speculation however we find that he has finished 10th, 17th, 8th and 2nd over his last four starts here in the desert. He has racked up two top ten finishes in the first two races and goes for the trifecta here in Las Vegas. The driver of the #5 LiftMaster Chevrolet turned in the fifth fastest lap in yesterday’s final practice and will start seventh in today’s race.
Ryan Blaney – $7,400 – Blaney has just two starts under his belt at this race track and has done pretty well in each of them. Last year he started 14th and finished sixth while the year before saw him finish 11 spots ahead of his 30th starting position. Blaney has shown a bit of maturity so far this season as he has finishes of 2nd and 18th so far this season. By starting third in today’s race he should have a chance to lead a few laps as well as stay out of the crashes that may take place behind him.
Paul Menard -$6,800 – Menard is another one of those drivers that may not hurt you today but could have a little bit of upside as well. He has finished no less than 15th in his last six starts here which includes a stellar third place finish three years ago. Menard will start the #27 Valvoline Menard’s Chevrolet from the 14th position on the grid and could be gaining some chemistry with his new Crew Chief in Matt Borland.
Trevor Bayne – $6,200 – Bayne’s price seems a bit deflated here as he has driven the #6 Performance Plus Motor Oil Ford into the top 12 in each of the last two races. If he can keep driving consistently there is no reason he can’t finish in the top 15 as he starts from the 20th spot on the grid. I wouldn’t expect miracles here but I could expect a decent return on his low salary.
That will do it for another week of looing inside the Monster Energy Nascar Racing Series. As usual, follow me on twitter @elctrceye and good luck in your contests today.