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Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Martinsville Speedway, First Data 500

We are now down to eight drivers and four races to determine this season’s champion. The third round of the playoffs will consist of two short track races and one intermediate track race. A win gets you an automatic bid to the championship race. These next four races are going to be fun to watch.

FIRST DATA 500

The first race of the third round will find the drivers heading to the Martinsville Speedway for the running of the First Data 500. At .526-miles this is the shortest track on the circuit and with on twelve degrees of banking in the corners it is hard to pass without using your bumper. Let’s get to who we think will run well here this weekend.

Denny Hamlin: Last week’s winner is my pick to win this week too. Denny Hamlin has five wins and twenty top ten finishes in his twenty-seven career starts at Martinsville. This team is hot right now and this is one of Denny’s best tracks. The win here this week would take all the pressure off this team for the final two races of this round and they could start getting ready for the championship race.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has been eliminated from the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be looking for another win on the year. He has won two of his last seven starts here and has finished in the top five in six of those races. This is going to be a race where he tries to get a little redemption and he is going to run hard and try to take a win away from the drivers who are still in the playoffs.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top five in his last eight starts here including two wins. I think he is going to give the aforementioned two drivers a run for their money this weekend. Kyle isn’t afraid to use the chrome horn if he has to and will if it means winning this race or finishing second. He isn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is still looking for his first win at Martinsville, but he has finished in the top ten in seven of his last nine starts here. He has been getting better and better on the short tracks as his career has progressed and it seems like all of the Joe Gibbs drivers should have good cars this weekend. If everything falls right in the pits for this team they should be in contention late in the race.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin’s lone win here came back in the 2011 season. He has finished in the top ten in his last four races at this track, but it isn’t one of his best tracks. Luckily for this team they will be heading to Phoenix in this round and that is where he really runs well. This week a top ten finish would be a victory for them.

Chase Elliott: Chase finished second in the spring race at Martinsville and has finished in the top ten in four of his last five races here. They pointed their way into the third round and know that they might need to win a race in this round to advance to the championship race. They don’t want to head to Phoenix needing to make up points to advance.

Joey Logano: Joey won this race last season in dominating fashion on his way to his first championship. He lead 309 laps in that race and finished first and second in the two stages. If they hit on their setup again this year it could be a long day for the rest of the field. He has sat on the pole here five times in his last nine races too and that means a lot in picking your pit stall.

Clint Bowyer: Clint won the spring race here last season and has finished in the top ten in four of his five starts since coming over to Stewart-Haas Racing. Clint is another driver who was eliminated from playoff contention, but like Brad he is not going to roll over and stop trying to win this year. This might be one of his best chances to get another win this year.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie has won here nine times in his thirty-five starts, but hasn’t run well here lately. On the other hand this team has shown a lot of improvement as the year has progressed and they are at their best on the short tracks. He is my dark horse for this week’s race and it really wouldn’t surprise me to see him back in victory lane once again.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan has really run well here lately coming away with three top ten finishes in his last four starts. I think he has learned a lot from his teammates, Brad and Joey, about how to run on this track and the way they setup the car coming into the weekend. He made it into the third round of the playoffs by virtue of his win at Talladega and he is another driver who know he will probably have to win a race to make it to the championship.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kyle Busch
  • Brad Keselowski

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Ryan Blaney

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ryan Preece
  • Chris Buescher

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Brad Keselowski
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Martin Truex Jr.

Dark Horse: Jimmie Johnson

Stay Away From: Kyle Larson

Big 18: Clint Bowyer

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Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Kansas Speedway, Hollywood Casino 400

If you got to see Monday’s finish of the Talladega race you know what I mean when I say it was a crap shoot and I really couldn’t give individual advice on individual drivers. Using lesser used drivers is always rule number one when it comes to restrictor plate races. Rule number two is don’t feel good when all of your drivers are running in the top ten with five laps to go because none of them might end up there.

HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400

This week the series heads to the Kansas Speedway for the running of the Hollywood Casino 400. This is the last race of the second round of the playoffs. This will be a short week for the drivers and the teams with the finish of the Talladega race delayed until Monday afternoon. However, the good news is the teams will all bring a whole new car to the track this week, so it shouldn’t be too big of a deal. The big deal will be the fight for the final spots in the top eight to move on to the third round.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is my pick to win the race this weekend. He was hot in the first round of the playoffs and now he is at a track where he can dominate. He swept both races here in the 2017 season and has finished in the top five in four of his last five starts here. When a driver is rolling you need to stick with him and that is what I am going to do.

Kyle Larson: Kyle is another driver who has been running very well lately and this is one of those tracks he loves to run on. He has four top ten finishes in his last five starts at Kansas and wants to keep his momentum strong as he gets ready for the third round. Anything short of a win doesn’t mean much to this team right now other than maybe winning stages in the race.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has struggled a bit in the later stages of the season and the first couple of rounds of the playoffs. This team was so good early in the year and now they seem like they are of kilter a little bit. I’m not going to worry about them too much because of how quickly they can turn the switch and win multiple races in a row. Kyle has six top five and eight top ten finishes at this track over his last nine starts here.

Chase Elliott: Chase won this race last season and has finished in the top five in three of his last four starts here. He really needs a great run here and maybe even a win to make it to the third round of the playoffs. If he can make it in he could win one of the next three races and propel himself into the championship round.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won the spring race here and we have seen the speed the Penske teams have shown all year. Brad runs very well on most of the mile and a half tracks and they really know how to get the job done be it with a fast car or pit strategy that seems to have them contending at the end of races. I look for him to be a contender once again late in this race.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin struggled to get a win early in the season and then came on strong late in the year and showed that this team can get the job done on the intermediate tracks. He has four top three finishes in his last seven starts at Kansas including last spring and the fall race in 2016. They aren’t going to go away quietly this year either.

Erik Jones: Although he was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and has had some bad luck the past few weeks this is a track where Erik could pick up another win on the season. He has finished in the top seven in each of his three starts here with Joe Gibbs Racing and usually comes away with stage points in each round. He is one to keep on your radar this weekend.

Ryan Blaney: This is one of Ryan’s best tracks. He has three top five and five top ten finishes in his nine career starts at Kansas and is really impressive gaining stage points. He has finished in the top five in six of the last ten stages he has finished at this track. Anyone who can run up front in the early stages that consistently will be a contender at the end of the race too.

Alex Bowman: In his four races he has run here for Hendrick Motorsports, Alex has come away with three top ten finishes. All of the Hendrick teams have made great gains in the last half of the season with their speed on the intermediate tracks and any of them could win a race at one of these tracks now. As a matter of fact, Alex finished second in the spring race here and lead sixty-three laps in that race.

Joey Logano: Joey won two fall races here and has seven top five finishes in his last twelve starts here. Those are very impressive stats. He might need to win this race to move on to the third round in the playoffs and if he needs to he is going to go all out for it. That could be good news or bad news for him because one wrong move could take him out of the race.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR KANSAS SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Kevin Harvick

Driver Group Game Group B

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

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Chris Buescher
  • Daniel Hemric

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT KANSAS SPEEDWAY

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

Dark Horse: Alex Bowman

Stay Away From: Daniel Suarez

Big 18: Alex Bowman

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Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Talladega Superspeedway, 1000Bulbs.com 500

Congratulations to Kyle Larson on winning his first race of the season and in so doing he cemented his spot in the third round of the playoffs. That leaves seven spots open to the other eleven qualified drivers to go after. Chase Elliott and Joey Logano both had poor results in the first race of the second round and will have to make some noise in the next two weeks if they want to advance.

100BULBS.COM 500

This week the drivers will head to the Talladega Superspeedway for the wild card race of the whole playoffs. This restrictor plate track can be redemption for some and could very well be the end of the road for some of the other drivers because of the potential for a big wreck to happen as all of the cars are going to be running in one big pack. One mistake by a single driver can take out a third of the field or more. Trying to stay out of trouble early in this race will be on the minds of most of the playoff drivers for sure.

Aric Almirola: Even though he has been eliminated from the playoffs I am picking Aric to win the race at Talladega. He has seven top ten finishes in his last ten restrictor plate races including a win in this race last year. He might just try to help one of his teammates with drafting and get them to victory lane, but if they aren’t around him he will go with whoever can get him to the finish line first. He has nothing to lose here this week.

Joey Logano: Joey won the race here last spring and is another driver with seven top ten finishes in his last eleven restrictor plate races. The difference with him and Aric is that Joey needs to be a little more cautious in this race because he can still point his way into the third round. What he can’t afford is another poor finish in this race which could mean that he would have to win at Kansas to advance in the last race of the second round.

Ryan Newman: Ryan is another driver that was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs and now has nothing to lose. He has also finished in the top ten in seven of his last eleven restrictor plate points races. He doesn’t have a teammate that is in the playoffs, but he could try to help out the Penske or Stewart-Haas drivers seeing they are running for the same manufacturer. I just see him finding someone he drafts well with and working with them no matter who they are.

Chase Elliott: Chase won the race here in April and really needs a great finish or maybe even a win this week to continue his quest for his first championship in this series. He has better finishes in the spring than he does in the fall here, but that all goes out the window and he will focus on nothing less than going to victory lane this week and sweep the season races at Talladega.

Paul Menard: Paul is someone who usually runs well at this type of track and you don’t really want to use your starts on the top drivers at a restrictor plate track because of that big wreck potential we talked about earlier. Paul is a good driver to have on your roster and save those other drivers starts. Remember, Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 with the Wood Brothers not too long ago and Paul could get them another win this week.

Kurt Busch: Another driver with nothing to lose by going for the win this week. Kurt has finished in the top ten in seven of his last ten starts at this track. He has run better at Talladega than he has at Daytona throughout his career but is still looking for his first win here. I probably don’t want to take the chance on him here though because of that big wreck potential again.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: I think Ricky is the wild card in the wild card race. He takes a lot of chances in these races and is out of a job next season. A win here might help him get signed somewhere, but he won’t have a lot of friends on the track if he starts jeopardizing drivers early on. I know there is no love lost between him and Kyle Busch on these types of tracks and other drivers aren’t far behind those feelings either.

Brad Keselowski: With five wins at this track Brad will be considered one of the top contenders heading into the weekend. All of the Penske drivers really work well with each other on this type of track and I don’t see that changing. All three of these drivers are still in contention for the championship yet, but his other two teammates need a little more help right now. The question is, how willing will Brad be to get into the mix early on in this race?

Ryan Blaney: Another of the Penske drivers who needs to have a really good race this weekend if he wants to move to the third round of the playoffs. Ryan always seems to have a fast, good handling car in these races, but always finds some type of trouble late in the races that ruins his finishing position. I think he needs to be patient at the beginning of this race and then start taking his chances later depending on is he can gain any stage points.

David Ragan: David is the dark horse this week. He won here with Front Row Motorsports back in the 2013 season and has finished in the top ten in three of his last five starts at this track. This is one of those races where anyone who starts can win and starting position has no bearing on how you are going to run. Stay out of trouble early and only later in the race make your moves to the front of the field. David has proven he knows how to do this in the past.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Joey Logano
  • Brad Keselowski

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Aric Almirola
  • Ryan Newman
  • Paul Menard
  • Austin Dillon

Driver Group Game Group C

  • David Ragan
  • Michael McDowell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT TALLADEGA SUPERSPEEDWAY

  1. Joey Logano
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Aric Almirola
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Chase Elliott

Dark Horse: David Ragan

Stay Away From: William Byron

Big 18: Austin Dillon

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Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Dover International Speedway, Drydene 400

The first round of the playoffs is over and we are down to the final twelve drivers for the 2019 season championship. Ryan Newman and Aric Almirola were knocked out of the top twelve by Alex Bowman and Clint Bowyer and will not continue on in the playoffs. Kurt Busch and Erik Jones were also eliminated from contention in a race that saw a lot of attrition. Pretty exciting at the end watching the points and the racing between Newman and Bowman and when Newman missed the chicane late in the race it sealed the playoff spot in the second round for Alex.

DRYDENE 400

The second round will start next Sunday as the drivers head back to the Dover International Speedway for the running of the Drydene 400. Dover is a one-mile, high banked, concrete oval also known as The Monster Mile. This is a great place to watch a race as the track is wide and has a lot of banking in the corners which leads to multiple grooves for the drivers to race in.

This is a big race for all of the playoff drivers because Talladega looms for race two of this round and all of the drivers know that anything can happen at Talladega. So, they are going to try their best to win this race and punch their tickets for the third round before they get to Talladega and try and get as many stage points as they can in this race. Nobody wants to head to Kansas knowing they need to win that race to qualify for the third round of the playoffs.

Martin Truex Jr.: I’m picking Martin to continue with his playoff dominance and win this week’s race. He won here in May, has won two of the last six races at this track, and has finished in the top five in five of his last six starts here. They also came away with a top five last week at the ROVAL in Charlotte after starting in the back and this team has a lot of confidence right now.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin won the spring race at Dover last season and lead an astounding 452 laps in the two races that were run here. He also won all four of the stages at this track last season and this team is also on a roll lately. They have figured something out that they were losing out on late in races earlier this year and the pit crew seems to have cleaned up a lot of the mistakes they were making in the early stages of the season.

Kyle Larson: Kyle is another driver who came on strong at the end of the regular season and he has always run well at this track. In fact in his eleven starts at Dover, Kyle has only finished outside of the top twenty once. He also has eight top ten finishes and besides the twenty-fifth place finish his worse finish has been twelfth. He really likes to run the high line here and he can make that payoff.

Chase Elliott: Chase won this race last season and has finished in the top five in six of his seven career starts at Dover. This team will have a lot of confidence after coming back from a mistake on a restart last week that could very well have knocked him out of the race. If he can repeat what he did last season he can breathe a bit easier heading to Talladega.

Daniel Suarez: Daniel is my dark horse this week. He has only run five races at this track and his worst finish is eleventh. That came in May of this year and he lead twenty-one laps in that race. He has the potential to win this week if they can stay out of trouble early in the race. This team has been up and down throughout the year and a win now would give then a boost going into the off season.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has three career wins at Dover including winning this race two years ago. This team has slipped lately and it is time they get back on track if Kyle wants to win his second championship. The further you get into the playoffs the more important winning races is going to be. The playoff points you accumulate during the season are nice to have, but you won’t be able to rely on them much longer to get you to the next round.

Jimmie Johnson: Even though he has really struggled for the most part this whole season, with eleven wins at this track you can’t count Jimmie out. He has lead over 3,100 laps here and has finished in the top five in almost half of all the races he has run at Dover. There aren’t a lot of tracks where he will have a shot at getting to victory lane left on the schedule, but this is one of them.

Clint Bowyer: Clint is still looking for his first win at this track but has finished in the top ten in fifteen of his twenty-seven career starts at Dover. He has scored points in each of the last seven stages in the last four races here and is starting to look better each week. I think this team is getting used to communicating with each other and making the right changes to their car as the races progress and the track changes.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has won win at this track and two runner-up finishes in his nineteen career starts here. He has scored points in each of the last eight stages in the past four races here and usually qualifies in the top ten. He has also lead over two-hundred laps all together in those last four starts and has the potential to pick up a big win this week.

Joey Logano: Not to be outdone too much by his teammate, Joey has lead laps in each of his last three starts at Dover and scored points in five of the past six stages including winning the first stage in the May race this year. The Penske teams have shown they have the speed and handling to win at this type of track and they should all have good cars once again this weekend.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Kevin Harvick

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Daniel Suarez
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • William Byron

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Chris Buescher
  • Daniel Hemric

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Kyle Larson
  5. Daniel Suarez

Dark Horse: Daniel Suarez

Stay Away From: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Big 18: Daniel Suarez

Categories
Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Charlotte Motor Speedway Road Course, Bank of America ROVAL 400

Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. for winning the first two playoff races after sweeping at Richmond on Saturday night. Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have both also scored enough points to be guaranteed a spot in the second round of the playoffs which will start after next week’s race. Erik Jones is in the biggest trouble after finishing fourth in the race on Saturday, but failing post race inspection and relegated to a last place finish by NASCAR. He now sits 45 points below the cut line.

BANK OF AMERICA ROVAL 400

This week the series heads to the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the running of the Bank of America ROVAL 400. This is the second year the series heads to the Roval at Charlotte with Ryan Blaney winning the race last year after Martin Truex Jr. and Jimmie Johnson crashed late in the race when Johnson tried to pass Martin and made contact with him sending them both spinning and letting Blaney take the lead.

Martin Truex Jr.: Like I already stated, Martin was leading this race late last year and he has the best average finish at the road course tracks over the past two plus seasons including three wins in his last seven road course starts. There is not reason to think that he can’t stay hot and sweep the first round of the playoffs.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top five in six of his last eleven road course races and has had nine top ten finishes in those races too. He wants to get back to victory lane and has nothing to lose as he has already scored enough points to make it into the second round. They are sitting okay right now, but are probably getting a little worried that they can’t beat their teammate right now.

Clint Bowyer: As the standing look right now, Clint is four points out of making it into the second round. That isn’t a lot to make up and this road course is just the place for him to feel a little better heading into the weekend. Clint finished third in this race last year and has finished in the top five in four of his last seven road course starts. I think if they can stay out of trouble early and not get too aggressive they should be able to come away with another good finish and point their way into the next round.

Denny Hamlin: Let’s go back to the Joe Gibbs teams. They swept the top four spots in last week’s race even though Erik Jones didn’t pass post race inspection and lost his finishing position. So these teams have all shown that they are the teams to beat in these playoffs and Denny is one of the best at the road course tracks. He has six top five finishes in his last nine road course races and even though he finished twelfth here last season I’m betting they figured some things out and will run better this week.

Kurt Busch: Kurt is also on the outside of the next round looking in right now and needs to make up fourteen points and move ahead of three drivers in the standings. That is a bit more difficult to do then what Clint has to do, but Kurt is another driver who can get the job done on this type of track. He finished fifth in this race last season and hasn’t finished worse than thirteenth in his last fifteen road course races. He might see how he fairs in the stages before he decides if he has to let it all out and try to win the race if he hasn’t gained much ground in the standings.

Chase Elliott: Chase has five top eight finishes in his last seven road course starts and has won two of those races. He has a thirty-seven point cushion right now and will probably make sure he stays out of trouble and just gets a good finish in this one. If his car is handling really well and he thinks he can win the race he will do it, but he won’t take a lot of chances this week.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin is already into the second round and could be looking at gaining some playoff points this weekend. He has been very good at this type of track finishing in the top ten in five straight and ten of his last twelve starts on this type of track. Remember, they have looked much better on the intermediate tracks lately and that makes him a serious threat to the Gibbs drivers in these playoffs.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan is only eight points to the good, but has two drivers below him as a cushion right now. He is another driver who might want to take it easy early in this race and make sure he still has a decent car late in the race. He won this race last season and has five top ten finishes in his last seven road course starts. There is a little pressure on him this week and he just needs to be patient and not make mistakes to advance.

Erik Jones: Erik pretty much has to win this race if he wants to advance to the next round of the playoffs and he could do it. He has five top ten finishes in his last seven road course races and he might just get a break from his teammates as it gets down to the end of the race. Will they let him pass them so he can advance or will they race him hard if he is in contention late? The only ones that know that are the drivers themselves.

Alex Bowman: Alex is only two points below the cut line and he finished fourth here last year. In fact, Alex has five straight top fifteen finishes at this type of track. I don’t think that will be enough for him to move into the top twelve because he has both Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch close behind him right now. He might have to push it a little harder than he is used to if he wants to move into the top twelve after this race.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Kyle Busch

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Kurt Busch
  • Erik Jones

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Matt DiBenedetto
  • Michael McDowell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY ROAD COURSE

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Clint Bowyer
  4. Denny Hamlin
  5. Kevin Harvick

Dark Horse: Matt DiBenedetto

Stay Away From: William Byron

Big 18: Chase Elliott