Fantasy NASCAR

2017 Darlington Raceway, Bojangles’ Southern 500

After a well deserved week off, the series heads into the home stretch with no more breaks until we crown a champion after the next twelve races. Two to go before the playoffs start. Will we see a new winner outside the top sixteen who will knock out one of the drivers trying to get in on points, or will we see a fight for the final spots given on points. These next two weeks are going to be full of exciting racing.


This week the series heads to the Darlington Raceway for the running of the Bojangle’s Southern 500. This track, also known as ‘The Lady in Black’, and ‘The Track Too Tough To Tame’, is a 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval with different banking at each end of the track. This makes setting up the car a bit different to get it to handle well at both ends too. You will hear a lot of drivers telling their crew chief how the car handles in turns one and two and how it handles in turns three and four. The crew chief who can make their driver the happiest on both ends of the track will have the best chance of winning this race.

This race also brings back the retro paint schemes of past drivers to honor them this weekend. You will see many of the colors and configurations from years past which is pretty neat. You will see these in both the Xfinity series and the Monster Energy series races. Schemes from the likes of Dale Earnhardt Sr., Rusty Wallace, Davey Allison, Mark Martin, Darrell Waltrip, and Richard Petty, just to name a few, will be on display in this race.

Denny Hamlin: I am taking Denny to win his second race at this track and second race on the season. Denny has finished in the top five in six of his eleven start at this track and in the top ten in nine of those races. He is the most consistent driver at this track and if he can avoid mistakes on pit road, such as speeding penalties which he picks up a lot of, he will be in position to get that second win at the end of this race.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie leads all active drivers with three wins at Darlington in his eighteen starts. Along with that comes nine top five and twelve top ten finishes. This is the time for this team to start stepping up their game for the playoffs and this is one of the tracks where they can really turn it on. If he struggles this week it doesn’t necessarily mean they are out of sync, but that they are still doing some testing for the playoffs.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin one this race last year and would like nothing better than to repeat and add to his already impressive playoff points. It is most likely that he will clinch the regular season championship this weekend which will give him another fifteen playoff points to add to his already large margin over his closest competitor. If he wins one of the next two races it is going to be almost impossible to knock him out of the playoffs before the final race of the season.

Kevin Harvick: In his last four starts at Darlington, Kevin has done nothing more than sit on the pole twice, win a race, come in second one race, lead almost 500-laps, and finish in the top five every time. This makes me think we should really have him on our team just in case Denny falters in the practice sessions. I don’t think that will happen, but if it does Kevin is the driver you will probably want to start instead.

Brad Keselowski: Brad is still looking for his first career win at this track. However, he did sit on the front row in his last two starts and led almost 250-laps in those races. On the other hand, this team has started out towards the front quite a bit lately, but never comes away with the finishing position they think they should. This is either due to pit strategy, a tire issue, or getting caught up in something on the race track with another driver. In any case they haven’t been performing at their best lately.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has only run three races at this track in the Cup series. In those three races he has never finished outside the top ten with his best finish being a third place last year. This team has been pretty stellar all season and this week should prove no different. I look for Kyle to run towards the front of the pack most of the day and be a contender at the end once again.

Joey Logano: Joey needs to win one of the next two races to make the playoffs. He won the race in Richmond earlier this year, (where the series will be heading after the Darlington race) but his car didn’t pass post race inspection and NASCAR penalized him by saying the win didn’t count for making the playoffs. This team has really struggled for most of the season after the penalty. Even when they qualify well and run well in practice they never stay up front for long. So, in his last two races at Darlington, Joey has started and finished in the top five. I don’t know if that is enough to give this team the confidence they need to get the win this weekend to propel themselves into the playoffs.

Kyle Busch: Kyle picked up his second win of the season at Bristol in the last race run. In fact, he won all three races he ran at Bristol, which is a nearly impossible feat to accomplish for any driver no matter how good your equipment is. Kyle got his lone win at this track back in the spring of 2008. However, in his last seven starts here he hasn’t finished worse than eleventh. He has also led laps here in nine of his twelve starts and started in the top ten in his last five races. This guy had some bad luck for most of this season and if he can get that changed he will be one of the top odds on favorite to win another championship.

Matt Kenseth: Matt is one of the smartest drivers in the series. He knows what he needs to do to make the playoffs on points and he won’t jeopardize himself by doing something that will knock him out of a race. If his car is good enough he will fight for the win, but if not he will just go out and get the best finish he can and try to maintain his points position. Matt has finished in the top ten in eight of his last eleven starts at Darlington including a win back in the spring of 2013.

Ryan Newman: This is kind of hard for me to believe, but Ryan hasn’t won here in eighteen starts. However, he does run consistently well here with seven top five and twelve top ten finishes which is similar to what Jimmie Johnson has done here in his career. Ryan ran very well at Bristol a couple of weeks ago coming away with a sixth place finish in that race. This team has performed much better this year than the past few years and this is a track where they might surprise some people.


Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Kevin Harvick

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Kyle Larson
  • Ryan Newman
  • Kurt Busch
  • Kasey Kahne

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Daniel Suarez
  • Erik Jones


  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Jimmie Johnson

Dark Horse: Ryan Newman

Stay Away From: Trevor Bayne

Big 18: Denny Hamlin

Fantasy NASCAR

2017 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race

Congratulations to Kyle Larson who made a great move on an overtime restart on Sunday to take another win away from Martin Truex Jr. The third win of the season for Larson gives him another valuable 5 playoff points and kept them away from Truex. Erik Jones was a contender the whole race a finished third which ties a career best for him. Ryan Newman and Trevor Bayne rounded out the top five.


This week the series heads back to the Bristol Motor Speedway for the running of the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race. This is a Saturday night race so make sure you have your rosters set in time. This is one of the most exciting races on the circuit every time the series comes here. The action can be fast a furious throughout the race because it only takes about fifteen seconds for a driver to complete a lap on the approximately half-mile track. Some of the paint schemes are pretty cool too and look great under the lights.

Kyle Busch: I am picking Kyle to go back to victory lane this week at Bristol. Kyle has five wins and thirteen top ten finishes in his twenty-four starts at this track. He has also led more laps than any other active driver at this track. If this team would stop making mistakes during the race they would win a lot more races than they do. I think everything comes together for them once again this weekend and they revisit victory lane.

Matt Kenseth: Matt is still looking for his first win of the season and he wants to get it now so he doesn’t have to worry about how he is going to make the playoffs. He was having a great race at Michigan last weekend as he was in third position on the final restart of the race, but he must have cut a tire or something as he fell way behind the leaders on the final two laps and finished twenty-fourth. He has four wins at this track and twenty-one top ten finishes in his thirty-five starts here.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin has two wins and sixteen top ten finishes in his thirty-three starts at Bristol. He has led quite a few laps in the last five races here and has looked a bit more like he has the past couple of seasons. I think this team is poised for a strong run in the playoffs and they will run well once again this weekend and be in position to pick up another win on the season.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie also has two wins at this track in his career and he has come away with eighteen top ten finishes in thirty-one starts. This team hasn’t been real consistent lately, but we know they can turn it on in a hurry when they have to as evidenced by his championship run last year. I think this team will be fine once the playoffs start and they should run will once again this weekend.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has five wins just like his little brother at this track. I would love to see these two going at each other for the win at this track. And I would like to hear the interview after the race to see what they would have to say about each other. Kurt really hasn’t run well enough to win a race since winning the Daytona 500 back in February and if he wants to contend for the championship this season they are going to have to step up their program and this is a good track for him to turn the corner at.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: This is the track where Ricky has been the most consistent during his short career. In his nine starts here he has three top five and five top ten finishes. His best finish was a second place finish that he came away with in this race last year. He is a good dark horse to have on your team this weekend. It would be a big boost to this team to win a race that wasn’t on a restrictor plate track as we head into the playoffs.

Chase Elliott: Chase has come away with two top ten finishes at Bristol in only three starts. He came close to getting his first career win in this series last weekend at Michigan. I still think this team is going to get a win before the end of this season. The question is will it come before the start of the playoffs or during the playoffs. Right now he is in on points, but one bad finish might just knock him out of the playoffs.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale needs a win in the worst way so he can make the playoffs in his final full-time season at Hendrick Motorsports. He has one win at this track and finished second in the spring race here last season. This is a track where he might be able to pull a big upset and really shake up the playoff participants. They seem to be getting a little better lately, but still have a lot of issues to clean up if they want to win a race and make the playoffs.

Clint Bowyer: Clint almost has to win in the next three races to make the playoffs in his first season at Stewart-Haas Racing. Clint finished second here this spring and if he can avoid the unfortunate incidents on the track which have plagued him for most of the season he could pick up the win here this weekend and catapult himself into the playoffs. There are a couple of tracks left before the start of the playoffs where this team could get their first win of the season and sneak into the playoffs and Bristol is one of those tracks.

Denny Hamlin: Denny has one win at Bristol in his career. He has also finished in the top five six times and the top ten eleven times in his twenty-three starts here. The real statistic here to look at is that he has start in the top five in seven of his last nine races here including three poles. If you have this kind of consistency you will get a great pit stall and sooner or later everything should fall into place for you and you will get the win.


Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Kyle Busch
  • Denny Hamlin

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Kurt Busch
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Ryan Newman

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Daniel Suarez
  • Ty Dillon


  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Jimmie Johnson
  5. Kurt Busch

Dark Horse: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Stay Away From: Ryan Blaney

Big 18: Ryan Newman

Fantasy NASCAR

2017 Michigan International Speedway, Pure Michigan 400

Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. who picked up his fourth win of the season and another five playoff points. He now has eighteen more playoff points than Jimmie Johnson, who is his closest competitor. Plus, by leading the point standings he will receive another fifteen points at the end of the regular season which gives him a huge advantage over every other driver in the playoffs. I’m not sure this is what NASCAR had in mind when they introduced stage racing this season.


This week the series heads back to the Michigan International Speedway for the running of the Pure Michigan 400. This is a two-mile D-shaped race track that will have the drivers running in excess of 200 mph this weekend. This track is very similar to the Auto Club Speedway in California, so we can look at the racing histories of drivers at both of these tracks.

Chase Elliott: I think Chase gets his first ever Cup win this weekend and he won’t have to worry about getting in the playoffs on points. He has finished second in all three of his starts at this track and in the top ten in both of his starts at the Auto Club Speedway. This week everything comes together for him and he picks up that final spot and his first checkered flag in this series.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is still looking for his first win at this track and the way he has been running lately he just might get it this weekend. This team has been the cream of the crop no matter what type of track they have been running at and they are making the right calls in all of those races to keep themselves in contention. It’s hard not to have Martin on your team every week right now.

Kyle Busch: Kyle is the only driver who has had cars as fast as or faster than Truex over the past two months. The only difference is something bad always seems to happen to Kyle to take him out of contention. Last week he got caught up in an accident with Brad Keselowski which essentially took him out of the race for the win. I think these two are going to battle each and every week for the rest of the season with one of them winning the championship.

Kyle Larson: Kyle might have struggled the last three races, but he has won the last two races at this track. If there is any one thing that can break a driver out of a bad stretch it is going to a track where you have won the past couple of races. I look for Kyle to rebound this weekend and be another on a long list of contenders.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie is in one of those stretches he seems to get into every year where they are not really serious contenders in races. He has led more laps at Michigan than any other active driver and yet he only has one win at this track. It always seems like something goes wrong for him at this track during the race. He has won six times in California at a similar track, so I think we need to seriously consider having him on our roster here this weekend.

Matt Kenseth: Matt has won three times at this track with his last win coming here in August of 2015. Matt would really like to get a win so he doesn’t have to worry about another new winner on the season or racing against Clint Bowyer to get the last playoff spot on points. They came close a couple of times in the past few races and this should be another track where he has a good shot at getting his first win of the season.

Joey Logano: Joey has two wins at this track, but I just don’t think this team looks like they are ready to compete for wins right now. I don’t know what has been wrong with this team lately, but it seems like they have neither the speed or the handling in their cars right not to be in contention. Joey really needs a win to make the playoffs and he is running out of time with only four races left before the start of those playoffs.

Brad Keselowski: Brad is still seeking his first win in his home state. He would like to win this race more than any other on the circuit and he could do just that this weekend. He has finished in the top ten here in six of his last seven starts and has completed all but four laps in his sixteen career starts here. He has also led laps here in nine of his past ten starts which tells us that he has a car that can run up front here every time he comes to this track.

Jamie McMurray: Jamie has finished in the top ten here in four of his past five races. He is a teammate to Kyle Larson who won the last two races here. Jamie is my dark horse this week and could pull off a small upset. He is currently in the playoffs on points, but a win would give this team more confidence heading into the playoffs. We should be able to tell during the practice sessions if they are going to have a car that is capable of winning this race.


Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Brad Keselowski

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Chase Elliott
  • Kyle Larson
  • Jamie McMurray
  • Ryan Blaney

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Erik Jones
  • Daniel Suarez


  1. Chase Elliott
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Kyle Larson
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Kyle Busch

Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray

Stay Away From: Kurt Busch

Big 18: Chase Elliott