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Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Bristol Motor Speedway, Bass Pro Shops Night Race

Congratulations to Martin Truex Jr. who punched his ticket to the second round of the playoffs with his Richmond win. Two races down and one to go before the second round gets underway.

BASS PRO SHOPS NIGHT RACE

This week the series heads to the Bristol Motor Speedway for the running of the Bass Pro Shops Night Race. This will be a go or go home race for a lot of the playoff drivers. I think Michael McDowell will need to win to advance although there are other scenarios where he can get in without winning, but all of those long shots.

Kurt Busch and Alex Bowman are tied in points for the last spot in the round of twelve with Busch winning the tie breaker as of now. Tyler Reddick is only five points back of those two and Aric Almirola has a three point lead on Busch and Bowman. Then Kyle Busch sits in tenth with only an eight point cushion. There are still others that can get knocked out easily enough, but those are the closest in either direction.

Kyle Busch: I’m picking Kyle to win this week and ensure himself a spot in the round of twelve. He has won three of the last seven races he has run at Bristol and has six top five finishes in those races. It seems when someone really needs to do something they can do it and Kyle is one of the most talented drivers in the whole series.

Kurt Busch: Kurt is another driver who has to have a good showing here to advance to the next round. His last win came in the 2018 season and he has won here six times in his career. He has finished in the top ten in four of his last five starts here and is another driver who seems to do what he needs to do to advance.

Denny Hamlin: Once again this team has a lot of confidence as this playoffs has gotten underway and they won the first race of these playoffs. Denny won his race in 2019 and has four top five finishes in his last ten Bristol starts. However, those are also the only top ten finishes he has in those starts too. He doesn’t need to do anything to advance, so nothing bad can happen to him this week.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin won this race last season, but is still looking for his first win this year. In his three starts before last years win he didn’t finish in the top ten at all, but prior to those three races he has a string of seven straight top ten finishes. This team needs to start winning races if they want to have a shot at a championship this year.

Kyle Larson: The odds on favorite to win this year’s championship, Kyle is looking for his first career win here, but he did finish runner-up in both of the 2018 races. He has five top ten finishes in his last six starts and he is much better this year with his new team than he has been in the past and is a threat to win at any track on any given week.

Chase Elliott: Last years champion has his work cut out for him if he wants to repeat this year, but he’s been pretty good at Bristol, especially during the fall race. He has won three of the last four stages run here and has three top seven finishes in his last five starts at Bristol. This race isn’t that critical for this team so they don’t have a lot of pressure this week.

Joey Logano: There isn’t a lot of talk about Joey once again this year, but this team can sneak up on the competition. I don’t think a lot of the fans give Joey much of a thought when there are other drivers to use. Yet, he always seems to run better than you expect from him, while when you really think he might run well he can disappoint. He has two career wins at this track and should make the second round no matter what happens this week.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won the May race here last season and finished third in the race before that. However, those are the only good races he has run at Bristol in his last ten starts. This team isn’t consistent enough here to warrant our taking a chance on them. This might be the end of the playoffs for Brad as he doesn’t hold a very large lead over the thirteenth place driver.

Alex Bowman: Alex has only finished in the top ten twice in his six starts with Hendrick and he’s going to need one of those finishes most likely this week if he wants to advance. Once again here’s a driver who isn’t consistent enough at this track to have us use him in our lineups this week.

Ryan Blaney: Ryan runs very well here, but doesn’t come away with the finishing position they would hope for. He has lead 439 laps in his last six races at Bristol but has only one top five and two top ten finishes in those starts and one of those was in a race he never lead a lap. He won two races heading into the playoffs and has a twenty-eight point cushion in the standings, so he should make the second round unless something goes terribly wrong.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Denny Hamlin

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Kurt Busch
  • Austin Dillon

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Daniel Suarez

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Denny Hamlin
  3. Kyle Larson
  4. Kurt Busch
  5. Chase Elliott

Dark Horse: Austin Dillon

Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.

Big 18: Ryan Blaney

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Richmond Raceway, Federated Auto Parts 400 Salute to First Responders

Denny Hamlin picked a perfect time to win his first race of the season taking the opening checkered flag of the playoffs. Now he’s guaranteed to be in the round of twelve, but not without thwarting a bold move by Kyle Larson. That just shows you how much these wins mean in the playoffs. I don’t know if Kyle would have tried that move in the regular season if he already had a win.

FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400 SALUTE TO FIRST RESPONDERS

This week the series heads to the Richmond Raceway for the running of the Federated Auto Parts 400. This is a flat short track where handling will mean more than speed. This three-quarter mile track also means that pit stall selection is crucial here. That’s why I wish there was practice and qualifying at a track like this. It really has nothing to do with last week’s race.

Martin Truex Jr.: Even though the Gibbs drivers haven’t won either of the last two races run here, I think they are the ones to watch this weekend and Martin is my pick to win. He swept the races here in the 2019 season and then followed that up with a second place finish in 2020. In his last five races Martin has posted two wins, one second, one third and a fifth place finish while leading more laps than any other driver at this track.

Kyle Busch: The second of my Gibbs picks, Kyle won both races here in 2018. In fact besides those two wins, he has also finished second three times and in the top ten in ten of his last eleven starts at Richmond. After a disappointing finish last week this team feels they need a win to advance to the next round. This could be the place for him to do it.

Denny Hamlin: Our third Gibbs driver on our list is last week’s winner. Does that mean the Denny will be content now that he has a win? No! He would like to win again and grab some valuable playoff points. He’s been every bit as good as his teammates at this track coming away with seven top five finishes in his last nine starts here with one win.

Alex Bowman: While he only lead ten laps in the spring race Alex came away with the win. After having his own disappointments in last week’s race this team will be doing whatever they can to repeat that spring performance. The stakes are high for the rest of the season. Besides winning this spring Alex finished ninth here last year and those are his only top ten finished at this track.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won the race here last fall, but this team hasn’t been running all that well for most of the second half of the regular season. He has two career wins at this track and has finished in the top ten eight times in his last eleven races here. They are going to have to become more consistent if they want to keep advancing.

Joey Logano: Joey also has two career wins here with his last win coming during the 2017 season. He has been very consistent here with nine top five finishes in his last fifteen starts including both of those wins. Only twice during that stretch has he failed to finish in the top ten and his worst finish was fourteenth. Could be a great pick for those trying to make up some ground.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin finished twenty-fourth at Richmond this spring, but that was a huge anomaly. He is much better than that at this track. This is why. That was his worst finish here in his last twenty-three starts. In those other twenty-two starts he has two wins, eleven top five and sixteen top ten finishes. Another model of consistency at this track and still looking for his first win of the season.

Chase Elliott: Now, Chase has only run fifteen races here in his career which is way less than most of the older drivers. He hasn’t been the most consistent here either. However, he has improved a bit with three top five finishes in his last six starts. I still think there are better tracks to use this Hendrick driver at. Especially with another road course on the schedule.

Kyle Larson: Kyle won the fall race in the 2017 season at this track. However, like Chase I think there are better places to use him if you have any starts left. He just hasn’t been consistent enough here and we know he has run well at all other types of tracks. Still, five top ten finishes in his last eight starts is good, but I think he can be better than that.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR RICHMOND RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Kyle Busch
  • Christopher Bell

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Michael McDowell

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT RICHMOND RACEWAY

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

Dark Horse: Christopher Bell

Stay Away From: Ryan Blaney

Big 18: Kevin Harvick

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Darlington Raceway, Cook Out Southern 500

The playoff drivers are set now, but not without a little drama as there was almost a first time winner last weekend at Daytona. That would have knocked out someone who was trying to get in on points and catapulted a driver with a lower point total into the playoffs by virtue of a win. At any rate no such thing happened and the playoffs are set to start this weekend.

COOK OUT SOUTHERN 500

The first race in the round of sixteen will take place at the famed Darlington Raceway for the running of the Cook Out Southern 500. This will be the second race at Darlington this season with Martin Truex Jr. winning the earlier race. Can he repeat and guarantee himself a spot in the round of twelve?

Kyle Larson: I’m predicting Kyle wins this race and denies Martin the sweep this year. Kyle finished second to Martin this spring and has been the more consistent of these two drivers. Kyle is the odds on favorite to win the championship this year and if he can win the first race of the playoffs that will take a lot of pressure off of him and give him some more valuable playoff points.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin made it into the playoffs this season without a win and that won’t win you a championship. He also has ground to make up to ensure that he makes the round of twelve and this might be the track where he can break into the win column this season. In his last eleven starts at Darlington, Kevin has three wins, nine top five finishes and hasn’t finished outside the top ten.

Denny Hamlin: Another driver who is winless so far this season, Denny has also been pretty good at Darlington lately. In his last nine starts at this track he has won twice, and finished in the top five six times. He might have a better chance than Kevin of picking up his first win of the season as the Gibbs cars have shown more speed than the Stewart-Haas cars all year.

Kyle Busch: I think Kyle is a dark horse to win the championship this year, but don’t count him out. This team can start running consistently well at any time and this is the time they would like to do just that. Kyle hasn’t won here since the 2008 season, but in his last twelves starts he has finished in the top seven ten times. That’s a model of consistency right there.

William Byron: Another driver who could be considered a dark horse in the playoffs, William has finished in the top five in his last two starts at this track. As with any other driver in the playoffs, a win would be huge for this team. Will they be happy just making the round of twelve? Doubtful, once you make the playoffs you have to set goals to make each additional round without looking too far ahead.

Martin Truex Jr.: As mentioned earlier, Martin won the spring race here this year and has two wins in his career at Darlington. The issue is this team hasn’t been running as well as they are capable and I don’t know if that’s due to the fact there are no practice sessions at most of the races this year or what the problem is. If he can get back to running as well as he did earlier in the year they could give Larson a run for his money.

Joey Logano: Joey is still looking for his first career win at this track, but he has finished second here. Still he isn’t consistent enough at this track for me to consider using him this week even if I need to make up points in my league. I think there will be other opportunities to use Joey, it just isn’t this weekend.

Kurt Busch: Another driver looking for his first career win at Darlington, Kurt has finished in the top ten in five of his last seven starts here. Another driver many consider to be a long shot to win the championship this year. Can he surprise people? He’s going to have to win at least a couple of races to make that happen.

Brad Keselowski: I’m not sure what to think about this team seeing Brad is leaving at the end of the season. At least they are separating amicably. I’m sure the Roger Penske is happy for Brad and he would still like to win a championship no matter which one of his drivers does it. Brad has three top ten finishes in his last six starts including a win here in 2018.

Chase Elliott: The defending champion hasn’t run consistently well at this track through his career with only four top ten finishes in nine starts. They are going to have to step up their game somewhat if they want to repeat as champions. He should make it to the round of twelve easy enough and there’s a road course in that round, but once in the round of eight he’s going to have to start winning again.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DARLINGTON RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Kurt Busch
  • Christopher Bell

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Chase Briscoe

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY

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

Dark Horse: Erik Jones

Stay Away From: Michael McDowell

Big 18: Kurt Busch

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Daytona International Speedway, Coke Zero Sugar 400

Last race before the playoffs and the last chance for someone to sneak in with a win who doesn’t have one yet. This could be a very interesting race with a lot on the line for a lot of drivers. Some drivers whole season will come down to this one race. A race that anyone can win. This is the Daytona International Speedway.

COKE ZERO SUGAR 400

This is it folks. First time winner this year makes the playoffs if they’re qualified and knocks someone out who’s trying to get in on points. This is anybody’s race as we have seen in the past with drivers like David Ragan, Trevor Bayne, and even this year with Michael McDowell. Is there another driver to get his first career win or the first win on the season who hasn’t won already?

Denny Hamlin: Denny is my pick to win this race. He’s always been so good and has won three times at this track in his career. He just seems to know where to go, who to draft with, and when to make his move. Whether he runs up front from the beginning or bides his time and makes a move late in the race it seems that Denny is always in contention here.

Michael McDowell: Winning the Daytona 500 this year wasn’t really a fluke. Michael has always run well at Daytona even if his finishing position doesn’t always show it. Still, a win and seven top ten finishes in twenty starts for a driver who has never been with one of the top tier teams tells you something.

Austin Dillon: After getting wrecked last week and now needing to win to make the playoffs this team is going to go all out for the win. Austin has won at this track before and has finished in the top ten in half of the races he has run here in his career. This time he’ll do whatever it takes to pass for the lead at the end. But first, he has to be patient early in the race so he has a chance at the end.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin is the bubble boy, the driver who could be knocked out of the playoffs if we get a first time winner. The good news is that Kevin is very good here himself. He has run forty races at this track and has finished in the top five eleven times and top ten sixteen times to go along with two wins.

Joey Logano: For some reason it seems that the Penske drivers always find each other on the track and then work well together in the draft. Joey is the best of them at figuring out what to do and when to do it at this track. I look for all of these drivers to work together once again and have a shot at the end of this race.

Kurt Busch: Kurt runs consistently well on both of the restrictor plate tracks, Daytona and Talladega. He has already won this year so he doesn’t have any pressure on himself, but he would still like to gain some playoff points with a win. In forty career starts at Daytona Kurt has thirteen top five and eighteen top ten finishes to go along with one win.

Bubba Wallace: My dark horse for this week. Bubba finished second in his very first Daytona 500. Since then he might not have had another race where he came that close to winning, but like we said at the beginning. This is anyone’s race. It would be a fitting end leading into the playoffs if this first year team could win and make the playoffs.

Ryan Newman: Remember how close he came to winning here a couple of years ago before he got into a major crash and ended up in the hospital for a while? Well, that’s still the same driver on the same team, so why can’t he do it again and then this time avoid the wreck and win the race? Stranger things have happened.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: The loose cannon of this race. Ricky always has a fast car, but takes a lot of chances early in the race. I think if he would be patient for the first three-quarters of the race he would have more friends at the end and still have his car in one piece. Sometimes you can get away with making the moves he does, but eventually there’s going to be a mistake. Patience grasshopper, it will give you a better chance at the end.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Denny Hamlin

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Aric Almirola
  • Matt DiBenedetto

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Kurt Busch
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Aric Almirola

Dark Horse: Bubba Wallace

Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.

Big 18: Aric Almirola

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2021 Michigan International Speedway, Firekeepers Casino 400

Congratulations to AJ Allmendinger on his win at the Indy Road Course last weekend. There are now only two races left before the start of the playoffs and there are thirteen drivers who have a win and are qualified for those playoffs. Allmendinger doesn’t qualify as he isn’t a full-time driver in the series and doesn’t receive any points. Kevin Harvick is the driver in sixteenth place right now without a win. With Daytona looming and anyone being able to win that race it could knock Kevin right out of the playoffs.

FIREKEEPERS CASINO 400

This week the series heads to the Michigan International Speedway for the running of the Firekeepers Casino 400. This is a two-mile track where speed is king and we all know who’s been showing us the speed all year. Pretty much going to have to stick to the drivers on those teams.

Kyle Larson: I have to pick Kyle to win this week and now I have a dilemma. I only have one more use left with him and want to save it for a future race, so I’ll most likely be using his teammates instead in my lineup this week. Those of you who have multiple starts left might want to use him here.

Alex Bowman: Alex has two wins on the season and this is his type of track. He won at Auto Club Speedway last year on a similar track and this year the Hendrick cars have been even faster. He has also run well at Michigan but hasn’t come away with the finishes they would expect. That can all change this weekend.

William Byron: William has finished mostly in the top fifteen at both Michigan and California. Once again we’ve seen the speed the Hendrick cars have shown this year and these are the drivers you need to have in your lineup this week. William won at Homestead-Miami earlier this season and has been running very well lately.

Chase Elliott: The last of the Hendrick drivers and once again I only have one more start left with him and want to save it for the Charlotte Roval. If you have multiple starts left with him this would be another great place to run him. Chase finished second in each of his first three races here and has only finished outside the top ten once in ten career starts here.

Martin Truex Jr.: Now we get to the other team that has been improving the most lately and getting closer to competing with the Hendrick teams each and every week. Martin is no slouch at this track either finishing either third or fourth in each of his last four starts. I think this is the Gibbs driver who has the best shot at taking the checkered flag from a Hendrick driver, but he’s not the only one who’s good here.

Denny Hamlin: Denny finished second here last year and has finished in the top ten in four of his last five starts at Michigan. He has also lead laps here in six of his last eight starts which tells me he runs up front quite a bit. If he can stay away from a late pit road penalty he could very well be a contender once again this weekend.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top ten in his last eight starts at this track. Even though he hasn’t won here in ten years he has been getting better and better every week and can win again at anytime. I think he’s going to have a good handling fast car once again this weekend and will also contend for the win.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin has won four of the last five races here and also finished runner-up in the race preceding those. The problem here is that this team just hasn’t shown the speed they’ll need to compete with the Hendrick and Gibbs drivers on this 2-mile track with long straightaways. I would prefer to use him at some of the shorter tracks where handling is more important than speed.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Alex Bowman
  • William Byron

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

  1. Kyle Larson
  2. Martin Truex Jr.
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Alex Bowman
  5. William Byron

Dark Horse: Austin Dillon

Stay Away From: Bubba Wallace

Big 18: William Byron