Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, South Point 400

The first round of the playoffs is in the books and Cole Custer, William Byron, Ryan Blaney, and Matt DiBenedetto have been eliminated from contention. Kevin Harvick leads the last twelve drivers in the standings and has a comfortable 62 point lead ahead of the cutoff position. I think Denny Hamlin is the only other driver who can relax a little, but one mistake by any driver could cost them a spot in the third round. The second round has a wildcard race at Talladega and then a road course race in Charlotte, so there will be some position swapping coming up.

SOUTH POINT 400

This week the series heads out west to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the South Point 400. This will be the race all of the playoff drivers will want to win because no one wants to head to Talladega needing a win or worrying about getting caught up in a big wreck there and then going to a road course which can always be hard on equipment.

This is a mile and a half track with multiple racing grooves. All of the drivers will have chances to work on their cars to get them handling so they have a shot at the win towards the end. Mistakes early in the race might be overcome, but towards the end they will spell disaster.

Martin Truex Jr.: I’m going to go with Martin to win this week. He has won two of the past six races he has run at Las Vegas including winning this race last season. He also has five top five finishes in his last eight starts here. He came close to winning in the first round and know he is going to have to step up his game to guarantee his spot in the third round.

Kevin Harvick: It’s hard not to pick Kevin to win every race at this point of the season and he’s been very good at this track. He has two wins in his last eight starts here and finished second in this race last year. He has also finished first or second in six of the last ten stages run here which tells you he runs up front for the most part all through these races.

Joey Logano: Joey has won the last two spring races here and has finished in the top ten in each of his last nine starts at this track. This team doesn’t seem to be quite where they were earlier in the year, but this could be the track where they get it all put back together again. All in all a pretty decent selection if you want to try and make up ground in your league and know the players above you will pick Martin or Kevin.

Brad Keselowski: Let’s take a look at Brad’s last ten starts at Las Vegas. In that stretch of races he has three wins and seven top five finishes. Those are pretty good stats at any track. Brad has shown that he can win on any given week this year even though he hasn’t been consistent. This is one of those tracks where he should be good though.

Chase Elliott: Chase has also shown that he can get the job done this year, but once again this team doesn’t seem to be in the groove they were in earlier in the season when they were winning races. He is either pretty good or pretty bad at this track with three top ten finishes and three finishes in the thirties in his seven starts here. Might be better to save him for the road course race.

Ryan Blaney: Even though he got knocked out of the playoffs he isn’t going to give up on trying to win races yet this season. Ryan has five top seven finishes in his eight career starts and we have already discussed how good the other two Penske drivers have been at this track. Ryan could be a contender once again this weekend.

Denny Hamlin: Here was a surprise to me. Denny only has three top ten finishes here in his last eleven starts and has only scored points in three stages in that stretch. This might not mean much as we have seen him compete all year with Kevin Harvick on this type of track. There are better places to use him left on the schedule though.

Kyle Busch: Kyle knows he’s going to have to start winning if he want to make it into the next two rounds. He was very disappointed after the Bristol race when he finished second to Kevin. He hasn’t run real well on this type of track all season, but hasn’t been bad here in the past. This is his home town track and he hasn’t won here since the 2009 season. Not sure if this is the point of the season where they put it all together on this track type.

Aric Almirola: Aric is a driver who isn’t great here, but has one of the best average finishes in his last six starts. In fact his best finish in those races was a sixth place finish, yet his average finishing position is under twelve. He is going to have to run better and probably win a race if he wants to keep advancing.

Austin Dillon: Austin is on a bit of a roll lately and has surprised some people including myself with his consistency. He finished fourth here this spring, but like Aric he hasn’t been great at this track in his career. He has only two top five finishes at this track in ten starts. He has no other top ten finishes here either. This could be a make or break week for him.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Brad Keselowski

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Ryan Blaney
  • Aric Almirola
  • Alex Bowman
  • William Byron

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Tyler Reddick
  • Cole Custer

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Ryan Blaney

Dark Horse: Alex Bowman

Stay Away From: Matt Kenseth

Big 18: Alex Bowman

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bass Pro Shops Night Race

Congratulations to Brad Keselowski who guaranteed his spot in the second round of the playoffs with his win at Richmond Saturday night. With one race left to go in the first round there is still a good chance that some of the drivers outside the top twelve can move up this week and knock someone out who is currently in.

Right now Ryan Blaney sits in sixteenth place, twenty-seven points and three other drivers below the cutoff. He is going to really have to step it up this week if he wants to advance. Otherwise the drivers in the tenth through twelfth spots are only four points apart and then the thirteenth and fourteenth place drivers are only three and eight points behind the cutoff position. That tells me this is going to be an exciting race all the way through with strategy on getting stage points part of the equation.

BASS PRO SHOPS NIGHT RACE

So, the drivers head back to the Bristol Motor Speedway for another Saturday night race and the running of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. As I already mentioned, this is the last race in the first round of the playoffs and there are a lot of drivers who have to perform at their best or go home knowing they won’t win a championship this season. We know that you’ll see a lot of bump and run racing, especially with those who are trying to point their way into the second round. It’s going to be a no holds barred type of race this week.

Kyle Busch: I’m going to pick Kyle to win his first race of the season and secure his spot in the second round without having to worry about points. In his last seven starts at Bristol he has lead more laps than any other active driver, and has won three of those races. He also has five top five finishes in his last six starts here. This is where he shows if he has a shot at winning a championship this year.

Ryan Blaney: Even though he is in the last spot in the standings for the playoff drivers right now the good news for him is that he has run very well at Bristol throughout his career. In fact, only Kyle Busch has lead more laps at Bristol in the last seven races out of all active drivers. Ryan very well might have to win this race to advance and I know he is going to do everything and anything to get to the front. The question is, how many drivers is he going to trade paint with to get there?

Clint Bowyer: Currently Clint is in the last spot eligible for the second round and is only three points ahead of the cutoff. Like Blaney, the good news is that Clint has run very well here lately. In his last ten starts Clint has eight top ten finishes including two runner-ups. The last of those runner-up finishes came this spring. He’s going to need another good run to stay in the playoffs.

Kurt Busch: Kurt trails only his brother Kyle in wins at this track with six in his career. He has three top five and five top ten finishes in his last six starts here. That’s good for him seeing he is only seven points above the cutoff position and is another driver who can’t afford to have anything go wrong this week if he aims to advance in the playoffs.

Jimmie Johnson: We talk about him almost every week and wonder if he’ll win a race yet this season. Well, once again he has a shot this weekend. In his last twelve starts at Bristol, Jimmie has one win, six top five finishes and has only finished outside the top twenty once. I’m not sure if this team can put a whole race together and get a win, but he could be in contention towards the end of the race.

Joey Logano: In his last ten starts here, Joey has one win and seven top ten finishes. He has also lead over three-hundred laps in those races. The question is which team and car are going to show up this weekend? Is it one of the cars he has dominated in or a car that he has struggled to get the handling to where it needs to be to compete. I think he is just going to try to point his way into the second round and stay out of trouble unless he has one of those dominating cars.

Brad Keselowski: Last week’s winner can relax a little bit this week, but he would like to pick up another win and get some more playoff points. He won here in May and finished third last August which is good for his confidence. The other part of that equation is that in the seven prior races to those finishes he never finished in the top fifteen.

Matt Kenseth: With four wins and fifteen top five finishes in thirty-seven career starts, Matt is my dark horse this week. He finished sixteenth in the spring race and I think he can improve on that this weekend. I think he is a little disappointed that he hasn’t run better this season, but remember, he almost won at Indy earlier this year so we know he can still win races.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin has two career wins and has finished in the top ten in seven of his last ten starts at Bristol. Seeing he is already in the next round I think he will be relaxed and he’ll run a clean race. I think he’ll continue to try and pass those who are ahead of him no matter if they are in the playoffs or not, but he won’t wreck them unless he is really a lot faster than they are and they refuse to get out of his way.

Denny Hamlin: Denny is another driver with two wins at this track including the race last August. I think he is solidly into the second round and doesn’t need to do much in this race unless he has a really good car. There really isn’t another track left on the schedule that is similar to Bristol, so I don’t see any of the drivers experimenting this week.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kyle Busch
  • Driver Name

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Ryan Blaney
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Kurt Busch
  • Matt Kenseth

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Christopher Bell
  • Tyler Reddick

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Ryan Blaney
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Clint Bowyer
  5. Kurt Busch

Dark Horse: Matt Kenseth

Stay Away From: Aric Almirola

Big 18: Kyle Busch

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Richmond Raceway, Federated Auto Parts 400

Kevin Harvick had a little luck on his side to win this past weekend and cement his spot in the second round of the playoffs. That’s what it takes to win a championship in this series. Sometimes you have the best car and don’t win, which is what happened to Martin Truex Jr. in my opinion. The playoff driver who took the biggest hit was probably Ryan Blaney who was docked 10 points for unapproved adjustments to his car before the race even started. He also lost his crew chief for the race and finished a disappointing 24th. The bottom eight are all close enough to the cutoff that the next two races should have some excitement in them.

FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400

This week the series heads to the Richmond Raceway for the running of the Federated Auto Parts 400. This is a three-quarter of a mile fairly flat race track which means a whole different setup from what the drivers had last weekend. Small pit road means there are likely to be some issues during pit stops for some drivers also.

Martin Truex Jr.: I’m going to go with Martin to bounce back from last weekend’s race and win this week. He won both races here last year and has lead almost one-thousand laps in his last seven starts here. Last week he probably had the best car. This week he takes advantage of it and locks his spot in the second round.

Kyle Busch: This has been a Joe Gibbs Racing dominated track the past two seasons. As I said before Martin won both races last season and Kyle won both races in 2018. Kyle came away in tenth place in the standings after last weeks race even though he doesn’t have a large cushion. This might be the week that he breaks into the win column though and moves into the second round of the playoffs. He’s always been very good here.

Denny Hamlin: Another of the Gibbs drivers, Denny has been very good at this type of track all year and throughout his career. This team always seems to have great handling cars and then they shoot themselves in the foot in some way during the race. That can’t happen in the playoffs. In his last nine starts at Richmond Denny has only finished outside of the top six once.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin is no stranger to great finishes here either. In his last eleven starts he has come away with eight top five finishes. He has won here twice in his career and now that he is guaranteed a spot in the second round all he’s looking for is another win and more playoff points. Win or finish anywhere else in the field. Only two positions in his mind this week.

Joey Logano: Joey actually has the best average finish out of all active drivers over the last six Richmond races. He has one win and two runner-up finishes in those starts. He really needs to have a good run to get back in the groove he was in earlier in the year. Now is the time to step up your game and make the most of your chances.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has been very good here in his career also. In fact in his last twelve starts here Brad has only finished outside the top eleven once and that was still another top twenty finish. Like his teammate, Joey Logano, this team needs to get back into the winning groove they were in earlier this year too. You need to be more consistent in the playoffs as one bad race could end up knocking you out or contention.

Ryan Newman: Ryan is my dark horse this week. Last season in his first year with Roush/Fenway Racing, Ryan finished in the top ten in both of the Richmond races. Even though his lone win here came way back in the 2003 season, Ryan has finished in the top ten in four of his last six starts. I’m willing to take a chance on him this week as we are running out of starts for some drivers.

Clint Bowyer: Clint was my stay away from driver last week, but this week he is a potential starter for me. He ran well last week where he came away with a tenth place finish and he has always been better at this track. He has finished in the top ten in each of his last four starts here and has two career wins at this track.

Chase Elliott: Two years ago Chase had two top five finished. Last year he had two top fifteen finishes. I think this year he might go back to a top five finish and maybe even win the race. This team has consistently shown they can run on any type of track and compete for the win. He isn’t afraid to trade a little paint and this team seems to communicate well as they adjust on their car during the race.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has three wins at this track in his career, but the last of those came back in the 2008 season. However, He hasn’t finished worse than twelfth in his last eleven starts. He might not win this weekend, but once again he should be competitive and come away with at least another top ten finish. Might be worth taking a chance on yet again.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS RICHMOND RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Kyle Busch

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Ryan Newman
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Kurt Busch

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ty Dillon
  • Christopher Bell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT RICHMOND RACEWAY

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Joey Logano

Dark Horse: Ryan Newman

Stay Away From: Matt DiBenedetto

Big 18: Ryan Newman