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Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Pennzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube

The Hendrick teams looked very good last weekend at Homestead-Miami and continue to improve the speed and handling of their cars. Two years ago they couldn’t really compete and now they are looking to be every bit as good if not better than the competition. Let’s see if they can keep it up this coming weekend.

PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY JIFFY LUBE

This week the series heads out west to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the running of the Pennzoil 400 Presented by Jiffy Lube. This is the second intermediate track in as many weeks with both tracks being fairly similar in configuration. That means we should look at the drivers who ran well last week and use them this week as they should be good once again.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin looked very good last weekend and has been one of the most consistent drivers on the intermediate tracks the past few seasons, so I’m picking him to win this week’s race. He won the fall race here two years ago and has finished in the top five in four of his last six starts. There will definitely be some competition for him this week, so it won’t be a cake walk to get the win.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin won here back in the spring of 2018 and has finished first or second in six of the last twelve stages run at this track. He has also lead more laps than any other active driver over the last six races here. He came on late in the race last week and that should give them a good idea on how to setup the car for this week. He should be a contender once again.

Joey Logano: Joey won the last two spring races at this track. I’m not sure what to think about his performance last weekend and if that will carry over to this weekend. It’s kind of a toss up on whether or not to have him on your roster this weekend. I think we can wait and see if last week was a fluke or if this team has some work to do to become more competitive.

Brad Keselowski: In his last eleven starts at Las Vegas, Brad’s worst finish is thirteenth and that is the only time he has finished outside of the top ten in that stretch. In fact, he has three wins and seven top five finishes in those eleven races. He looked good early on in last week’s race before having to pit late. I think they should be fine once again this weekend.

Kyle Larson: Kyle is back and looked very good last weekend. I think this team will only get better as the year progresses and they should win some races. It’s a long season, so we can probably wait a little longer to make sure last weekend wasn’t a fluke. I’m guessing that all of the Hendrick teams are going to do well throughout the year though.

William Byron: Last week’s winner made it look easy as he won going away. Even when they dropped some spots in the pits he easily made it back to the front and stayed there with no one close at the end. This tells me that the Hendrick teams have found something and with a few years under their belts in this series they are working well with their individual teams and making the right decisions during the race.

Kyle Busch: Still not the finish this team expects or wants, but much better than last season. I think they will continue to build on what they did last week and eventually will be a contender on a weekly basis once again. This is Kyle’s hometown track and he hasn’t won here since the 2009 season, but he has finished in the top ten in four of his last six starts here. Once again we can probably hold off on having him in our lineup until they show us they have improved even more.

Alex Bowman: Another top ten for a Hendrick driver in last week’s race. Alex runs well on this type of track and should have a fast car once again this weekend. They probably learned a few things about their car and can learn more from some of their teammates about what they did to run a bit better than Alex last week. I see this team running well again.

Denny Hamlin: Denny was running with the leaders for most of the race until he once again got caught speeding in the pits. He really tries to push the envelope a little too much and too often entering and leaving the pits which puts him behind the eight ball. He needs to learn that he can take a bit of extra time getting into his pit stall because these penalties, especially late in the race, are killers.

Michael McDowell: Surprising me once again, Michael had another great run last weekend. He has now finished in the top ten in each race this season and that was done on three different types of tracks. If he can do it again this weekend more people will start taking notice. I’m not sure if this team can keep it up, but I’m pulling for them. Always nice to see one of the smaller teams do well on the track.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • William Byron
  • Kyle Larson

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Michael McDowell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Kyle Larson
  4. William Byron
  5. Denny Hamlin

Dark Horse: Michael McDowell

Stay Away From: Kyle Busch

Big 18: Martin Truex Jr.

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Dixie Vodka 400

We now head into the third race of the season and the third different type of track as the teams remain in Florida. That means this is the third set of totally differently build cars that the drivers will be using this week. That’s a lot of work for the teams to do in three short weeks although they probably had most of the work done in the off-season.

DIXIE VODKA 400

As mentioned above, the teams are once again in the state of Florida this week as they head to the Homestead-Miami Speedway for the running of the Dixie Vodka 400. This is one of those mile and a half tracks that are still prevalent on the circuit, though NASCAR has added some new tracks to the schedule.

Kevin Harvick: I have to go with one of the most consistent drivers from last year to win this race. We will be able to tell more after the first couple of races on the intermediate tracks about which teams and drivers have improved or fallen back on these tracks from where they were last year. Kevin was one of the drivers who was good each and every week last year on this type of track.

Chase Elliott: Last year’s champion got better and better as the year progressed last season. So far this year he is looking like a legitimate contender to retain that title. This race will tell us if the Hendrick cars have continued to improve after they all got better as the season went on last year. Once again he was very tough throughout the playoffs.

Denny Hamlin: Denny and Kevin fought it out week after week in the middle of the season last year. There’s no reason to think this team won’t be a contender most weeks again this year as they try to win their first championship together. They just need to be more consistent in the pits, both the crew and the driver. They need to cut down on their mistakes in this part of the race.

Kyle Busch: Though he had a rough season last year, Kyle still remains one of the best drivers on the circuit. We’ll find out if the team chemistry has gotten better this year which will allow Kyle to start winning multiple races early this year and get this team a chance to get ready for the playoffs and get their confidence back. He has been good at this track the last three seasons.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin was a bit disappointed with his teams performance on the intermediate tracks last year because they were so used to dominating for a couple of years previous to that. It seemed like he didn’t have a car that handled well at the beginning of races and had to make adjustments to get him towards the front, but they found it hard to win races. We’ll see if they figured something out for this year when there will be very few races that have practice sessions once again.

Joey Logano: All of the Penske drivers had fast cars on a weekly basis last season and Joey has always run well here. He won here back in the 2018 season and had a top five finish the year after. It seems as if this team has a good car early in the race they can compete, but if they miss on the initial setup it becomes a very long day for them.

Ryan Blaney: Another of the Penske drivers, Ryan is usually somewhere in the mix towards the front of the field. I think he still needs to learn to be a little more patient early in races and that will come with more experience. This is another team that can win almost every week if they can stay out of trouble of their own making.

Aric Almirola: Aric has excelled on the intermediate tracks the last couple of years and needs to make one more step in the right direction to start winning more races. We know the Stewart-Haas teams have the speed to win. This team just needs to believe in themselves more and not try to second guess when it comes to making decisions on adjustments during the race.

Brad Keselowski: Brad went on a streak of winning races on the intermediate tracks last season and he’s a past champion who knows what he needs to do to win races. With a fast car and with his crew together for the second season we might see a bit of that consistency early on this year.

Kyle Larson: Let’s not forget that Kyle is back now after being reinstated following a suspension last year. He is now with Hendrick Motorsports. I want to wait and see how the team works together before I start using him on my fantasy teams. It’s a long season so there’s no reason we can’t wait and see how the team gels before we use up some of his starts.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Aric Almirola
  • Kyle Busch

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Bubba Wallace

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Chase Elliott
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Kyle Busch
  5. Martin Truex Jr.

Dark Horse: Christopher Bell

Stay Away From: Ryan Newman

Big 18: Kevin Harvick

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Daytona Road Course, O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 At Daytona

Once again a restrictor plate track doomed me as a couple of my drivers were involved in the early race wreck at Daytona. Congratulations to Michael McDowell, who picked up his first ever win and is now qualified for this years playoffs. All in all a pretty disappointing weekend with the rain delay and the race not ending until late at night for most of us fans.

O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 253 AT DAYTONA

This week the series stays right in Daytona, but they will be running on the road course here this time. We shouldn’t see crashes with a third of the field involved this week, but the road course races can be tough on equipment and we will see quite a few cars getting moved by someone getting into them as they battle on the turns.

Chase Elliott: Last year’s champion is my pick to win this week’s race. He won here last August and has won his last four road course starts. Hard to go against someone who has stats like that, although it won’t be a cake walk for him. There are other drivers who want to end his streak and are capable of doing so.

Denny Hamlin: Denny finished second to Chase here last season and is one of the more consistent road course racers on the circuit. He has seven top five finishes in his last twelve starts on this type of track and showed last year that he will be a contender each and every week and this week will be no different.

Martin Truex Jr.: After getting involved in the early race wreck at Daytona last week, I’m sure this team is looking forward to this week’s race. Martin has two wins and two runner-up finishes in his last nine road course races. He has also finished in the top ten in eight of those nine races which shows that he has a handle on this type of racing and can stay out of trouble on the track.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan has shown that he knows how to race on this type of track also. He has finished in the top five in four of his last six road course starts including a win at Charlotte a few years ago. I think he just keeps getting better and better each week and should have another good run coming up this weekend.

Kyle Busch: After a very disappointing year for Kyle last season I’m sure he’s looking forward to this season and turning his fortunes around. He won the Busch Clash a couple of weeks ago on this track, so he should have a great handling car once again this weekend. Even though he hasn’t finished in the top ten in his last four road course starts he did have a run before that of nine top ten finishes in ten races.

Kurt Busch: Kurt is another driver who has run consistently well on this type of track throughout his career. Like Kyle, Kurt hasn’t quite had the results we would expect of him lately. He did finish fourth at Charlotte last October and hasn’t finished outside of the top twenty in his last nineteen starts which include thirteen top ten finishes in those races.

Kevin Harvick: No top ten finishes in the two road course races last season for Kevin, but once again like some of the other drivers, Kevin had seven top ten finishes in his eight starts before that including a win at Sonoma back in 2017. We have seen that he is one of the most consistent drivers on all types of track week in and week out.

Erik Jones: Erik is my dark horse this week as he usually runs well on this type of track, but now that he is on a new team this year we’ll have to see how they gel together. This is one of those races where there are only a couple of pit stops, so there isn’t a lot of chances to adjust the handling of the car. If the equipment doesn’t break I think he has a good run this week.

Alex Bowman: Alex has quietly made a name for himself on the road course tracks. Though still looking for his first road course win, Alex did finish second at Charlotte a couple of years ago and has never finished outside the top fifteen in his nine starts since joining Hendrick Motor Sports.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA ROAD COURSE

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Chase Elliott

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Kyle Busch
  • Alex Bowman

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Michael McDowell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA ROAD COURSE

  1. Chase Elliott
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Martin Truex Jr.
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Kyle Busch

Dark Horse: Erik Jones

Stay Away From: Christopher Bell

Big 18: Chase Elliott

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Daytona 500 Picks

Short and sweet this week seeing the qualifying races were run so late in the week. I will be back early next week with an analysis and my preliminary picks for the Daytona road course race and will continue to post articles as early as I can once the week’s race is complete.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Joey Logano

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Austin Dillon
  • Ryan Newman

Driver Group Game Group C

  • David Ragan

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

  1. Aric Almirola
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Brad Keselowski
  5. Austin Dillon

Dark Horse: Bubba Wallace

Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.

Big 18: Austin Dillon

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Fantasy Racing Preview

The 2021 racing season is almost upon us and there are some changes being made to the Driver Group Game to hopefully make it easier for everyone to play.

The boss decided to do something about the changes to race weekends and no qualifying. First, he nixed the Bench drivers as it’s pointless to pick a Bench driver with the lock at race time. So, the entry form will have only 4 slots to fill. That way you won’t have to worry about setting any of your lineups until right before the race if that’s what you want to do. Otherwise just put your starters in early in the week and you won’t have to worry about forgetting to set your lineup later and if you still want to change your lineup on race day you can do that too.
The other change is to do with the 8 races with qualifying scheduled:

  1. Race #1 Daytona 500
  2. Race # 7 Food City Dirt Race (Bristol Dirt Track)
  3. Race #14 Circuit of the Americas
  4. Race #15 Coca-Cola 600
  5. Race #17 Nashville
  6. Race #20 Road America
  7. Race #24 Indy Road Course
  8. Race #36 at Phoenix

The 7 races (not Daytona 500) with qualifying will have:

  • 8AM ET lock on the day of qualifying.
  • Entry form will let you select 8 drivers
    • (2 A, 4 B, 2 C)
  • All 8 drivers will earn qualifying, lap, stage and race points.
  • Driver starts are bumped from 8 to 9.
  • These are the default settings for all leagues and can still be changed by the league commissioner.

There are a few new drivers, and some old drivers who are in different rides this season. Kyle Larson has been reinstated and will driver the #5 car for Hendrick Motorsports. Erik Jones moves over to the #43 for Richard Petty, Bubba Wallace is in the new #23 team owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan. Finally Chase Briscoe joins Stewart-Haas Racing to fill the seat of the #14 car for the now retired Clint Bowyer.

Feel free to create your own leagues once again or just join as many of the other leagues already created. Commissioners, remember to change the default settings if you so choose to do so. They won’t have the same rules as last season.

Once again I will be writing weekly articles telling you who I am targeting and why for each particular race. My first picks for the Daytona 500 will come after the Duels at Daytona and might be updated after the final practice. Stay tuned to see how this season plays out.

I have started my Guts or Gutless league once again with the same scoring that NASCAR uses for the drivers other than playoff points. I have also started a new league this year which I am calling Guts Opposite Scoring League. In this one the points are just the opposite of the DGG League scoring. I have also updated the driver groups to each only have 6 drivers in them. Pick the drivers you think are going to have the worst finishes in your group each week. A great league for those of you who always seem to pick a driver who ends up having trouble more often than not!

Join one or both and have some fun with me this season.