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

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Darlington Raceway, Cook Out Southern 500

The regular season is in the books and the playoffs starts this weekend. Congratulations to the sixteen drivers who have a shot at winning a championship. I feel a bit bad that Jimmie Johnson didn’t make the playoffs in his final year of full-time racing in the series, but I would still like to congratulate him on his seven championships and wish him the best in the future. Who knows, he still has a shot at winning some races this year.

COOK OUT SOUTHERN 500

The series heads back to Darlington Raceway to kickoff the first round of the playoffs. Known as “The Lady in Black” and “The Track Too Tough To Tame” Darlington has a unique configuration as it is shaped somewhat like an egg with one end of the track narrower than the other end. This creates some headaches for the crew chiefs and drivers as they try to get their cars to handle well on both ends of the track. At 1.366 miles in length, Darlington will be the longest track in the first round of the playoffs.

Kevin Harvick: I’m going to pick Kevin to win this race a cement his spot in the second round. In his last nine starts Kevin has won twice, finished in the top five eight times and in the top ten in that one other race. He is by no way a lock to win this weekend, but with the way he has run this year he is one of the front runners when it comes to picking drivers for your lineup.

Denny Hamlin: Denny is the reason why Kevin isn’t a lock this weekend. Let’s look back at Denny’s last twelve races at this track. Three wins, eight top five, and ten top ten finishes. I think this is going to be a good race between the two drivers who have shown the most consistency this year. Winning this race takes a lot of pressure off of the driver who picks it up if he is in the playoffs.

Kyle Busch: In his last ten Darlington races, Kyle has finished second twice and come away with eight top ten finishes. This team hasn’t shown that they can put a whole race together yet this year, but this is one driver who could put a run together over the next ten races and come away with another championship. Going to be tough sledding for him unless he can make his way to victory lane a few times though.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has finished in the top five in three of his last four starts here including a win. This team has had some really great runs during the season and they seem to go in streaks. If he can get on one of those streaks again he will have something to say about this years champion.

Erik Jones: Erik didn’t make the playoffs and won’t be returning to the #20 next season. However, in his five career races at Darlington, Erik has a win and has never finished worse that eighth. I think there’s just something about this track that he likes and he is someone you will want to take a shot with this weekend. He could come away with another win and take one away from the playoff group.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has four top seven finishes in his last five starts here including a third place finish in the first race of the double header weekend back in May. Not a lot of people are giving Kurt much of a chance to win this years championship, but if he takes it one race at a time and can pick up a win when he needs it he could be around yet for the championship race.

Chase Elliott: Chase has been up and down at this track even though he has only run six races here. His best finish was a fourth place finish which was also the first race of the double header weekend back in May of this year. He has also been involved in accidents twice in those six races. I’m not sure if this is the weekend to have him in my lineup and I think there are better drivers for me to go with.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has five top ten finishes in his last seven starts at Darlington including a win back in the 2016 season. This team seems to start off a bit slow in the races and then comes on after the first or second pit stop when they can adjust their car. I’m not sure how he will do without any practice or qualifying this weekend, but never count him out either.

Matt DiBenedetto: Matt has finished in the top ten in two of his last three starts here and been in the top fifteen in all of those starts. He really has nothing to lose by taking some chances as hardly anyone outside his team and fan base believes he can win this championship. I’m all for him going outside the box if he has to and taking the chances when they present themselves.

Joey Logano: Still looking for his first win at this track, Joey lead some laps in the last race here before ending up with a sixth place finish in that race. He has never been very consistent here, but runs better here in the fall than he does in the spring races. I don’t know if that has to do with temperatures or that the team is more in sync at this time of the year.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DARLINGTON RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Denny Hamlin

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Erik Jones
  • Kurt Busch
  • Matt DiBenedetto
  • Austin Dillon

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Tyler Reddick
  • Christopher Bell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Erik Jones
  5. Brad Keselowski

Dark Horse: Erik Jones

Stay Away From: Clint Bowyer

Big 18: Kurt Busch

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Daytona International Speedway, Coke Zero Sugar 400

Last chance for all drivers not qualified for the playoffs to do it this coming weekend. A win will get almost any driver in and give them a shot at a championship. Will the coronavirus knockout any of the drivers who make the playoffs?

COKE ZERO SUGAR 400

This week the series heads back to the Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coke Zero Sugar 400. A restrictor plate race for a chance to make the playoffs or for those already qualified to pick up some more valuable playoff points. The end of this one could be exciting to watch.

Denny Hamlin: I’ll go with Denny to come away with another Daytona victory as he heads into the playoffs. He has won two of the last five races he has run at Daytona and it always seems like he is in contention in these races. As we all know, anything can happen here and just because I think he might win doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll use him in my lineup this week. Remember, you don’t want to use up your best drivers this week because of the potential for a big wreck that can take out a third of the field or more.

Kurt Busch: This kind of surprised me, but Kurt has only won one restrictor plate race in his career. However he has finished in the top ten in just over half of his seventy-seven career starts in this type of racing. Not necessarily a winner, but a great shot at a top ten and that is about all one can ask for when it comes to restrictor plate racing.

Aric Almirola: Aric has finished in the top ten in fifteen of his last twenty restrictor plate starts including a win at Talladega back in the 2018 season. Those are super stats and he should have another great car this weekend. I think he will have a good chance at coming away with another top ten finish heading into the playoffs.

Ryan Newman: Ryan has finished in the top ten in twelve of his last fifteen restrictor plate races. Albeit some of these races are non-points races at Daytona this is still a pretty telling stat. After being involved in a horrific crash late in the Daytona 500 while leading, Ryan came back and finished a disappointing twenty-fourth at Talladega this year. Will he be able to put that crash out of his mind and be able to compete like he did before that happened?

Austin Dillon: Austin has a win at Daytona and seven top ten finishes in only fourteen career points races he has run at this track. He was also involved in a terrible crash at Talladega a few years ago, but seems to have put that behind him I’m sure I’ll have him in my lineup this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson: With three career points race wins at this track, Jimmie is tied for the most wins among active drivers for this track with Denny Hamlin. However he has also been involved in an accident in five of his last eight starts here. Which driver will be in the car this week? Will it be lucky Jimmie or unlucky Jimmie?

Clint Bowyer: Clint has one of the best finish averages at Daytona of active drivers yet most of his best finishes came early in his career. In fact, since joining Stewart-Haas Racing, Clint has only finished in the top ten twice and top twenty three times in seven starts. One of those finishes was a second, but can he contend late in this race?

Matt Kenseth: Another interesting set of statistics that I didn’t realize. Matt only finished in the top ten once in ten starts at Daytona for Joe Gibbs Racing. In his last three races with Roush/Fenway Racing before going over to Gibbs, Matt finished first, second, and third. I think he is going to have a decent car and if he can get together with Kurt Busch, these teammates might be able to help each other out in the draft.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has six career restrictor plate wins in his career. However, he has only won one points race at Daytona and only finished in the top ten in four races out of twenty-two starts. I would have thought that someone who could win at Talladega quite a few times would have better stats here even if he didn’t win races.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Kyle Busch

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Austin Dillon
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • Ryan Newman
  • Matt DiBenedetto

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Bubba Wallace
  • John Hunter Nemechek

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kurt Busch
  3. Jimmie Johnson
  4. Aric Almirola
  5. Kyle Busch

Dark Horse: Matt Kenseth

Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.

Big 18: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.