Daily Fantasy NASCAR Recommendations: I LOVE NEW YORK 355 at Watkins Glenn

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We are down to just five week’s left of racing before the Challenger round of the 2017 Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series begins. There will be 16 drivers that will qualify for the opening playoff round which saw Kyle Busch get himself out of any danger of not making the field by grabbing the win last week at Pocono.

The younger Busch brother joins 12 other drivers who have secured a playoff spot by virtue of winning a race and although Joey Logano won a race earlier in the season. He was stripped of that win which leaves him on the outside looking in just two spots behind the 16th spot. Clint Boyer is the driver ahead of him in 17th place who is just 17 points away from Matt Kenseth for the final playoff spot.

After a weekend in Long Pond Pennsylvania the Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series heads north for their only race at Watkins Glen International Speedway. This is the second of the two road courses on the schedule as we saw Kevin Harvick punch his playoff ticket in Sonoma back on June 25th.

It will take at least 90 laps to finish the race barring any bad weather so unlike most races, it may be wise to not concentrate on trying to grab the driver who leads the most laps. Thanks to Nascar running qualifying the day of the race the problem with that strategy will be the simple fact that we won’t know who is up front and who had struggled during qualifying until about two hours before the race is to begin. Over the last three races here in New York no driver has led 30 laps or more which is why it may be better to concentrate on place differential rather than laps led.

There were no less than seven Monster Energy regulars that ran in the Xfinity Series race yesterday and to no one’s surprise they all finished pretty well with the exception of Kyle Larson. In fact the only Xfinity driver to crack the top eight was Justin Allgaier who finished fourth. Much like last week it is very tough to come up with actual picks without knowing the starting lineup but we will do our best.

One has to think that after last week’s win at Pocono and yesterday’s Xfinity win, Kyle Busch ($10,300) should be one of the odds on favorites to win today’s I Love New York 355. The driver of the #18 M&M’s Caramel Toyota has also racked up nine top 10 finishes in his last 10 starts here and that’s about all one needs to know to roster him today.

Martin Truex Jr ($10,500), Kevin Harvick ($10,000) and Brad Keselowski would seem to round out the better plays out of the higher priced drivers. Again the discretion that has to be used here is where they actually start on the grid for tomorrow’s race. Keselowski has four top five Finishes in the seven starts he has had here at Watkins Glen so the price seems to be right on him today.

While Shrub aka Kyle Busch seems to be the favorite our gaze must stay in the bloodlines and take a peek at older brother Kurt Busch ($9,600) as well. The driver of the #41 Haas Automation/Monster Energy Ford is currently 10th in the standings with a win under his belt which means he will participate in this year’s playoffs. The interesting statistic here is the fact that Busch has finished no lower than 12th in any of his last eight road course starts over the last four years. This could explain why his salary jumped $1.1k from last week’s contest. It also doesn’t hurt that he had the second fastest speed in yesterday’s final practice.

As mentioned above Joey Logano ($8,600) needs a win badly to claw back into the playoff hunt and this just may be the weekend he punches his playoff ticket. He is currently in 18th place is 69 points away from the playoff cut line. The driver of the #22 Shell Pennzoil Ford has put up some impressive runs here at Watkins Glen which includes a win two seasons ago which was followed up by a second place finish last season. Logano came in second in yesterday’s minor league circuit race so a top five finish today is far from out of the question.

Matt Kenseth ($7,900) could use a win here to cement his playoff berth as his slim lead for the 16th and final playoff spot may disappear if a new driver wins a race. He would also have to stay ahead of Clint Bowyer who is just 17 points out of the 16th spot. The driver of the #20 Toyota Care Toyota has racked up four top 10 finishes in his last five starts here in upstate New York.

Moving down the grid a bit we find Paul Menard ($7,000) who has seen his salary rise a bit thanks to finishing higher than he had started in the last eight races this season. The driver of the #27 Dutch Boy/Menard’s Chevrolet finished fourth in yesterday’s Xfinity race and should be ready for this one today. The only downside is that Menard has only been able to finish in the top 10 just three times so far this season.

Last but not least we have a toss-up between Danica Patrick ($5,900) and Michael McDowell ($7,100). Even though Patrick has a lower price and has finished no lower than 21st in her four starts here McDowell may be able to come up and surprise a few folks this weekend. His speed has been very good in the first two practices and has finished well in his last two starts here culminating in a 17th place last season.  Patrick seems to be the cash play while McDowell should be used as a GPP play.

That will about do it for another week of looking into the world of Nascar. I will be back next week to break down the race from Michigan. In the meantime, follow me on twitter @elctrceye and good luck in your contests this weekend.