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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

Categories
Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Richmond Raceway, Federated Auto Parts 400

The playoffs are underway and it is starting out with a tough schedule. After running a late Sunday race on the West Coast the teams all have to rush back to the East Coast for a Saturday night tilt. Once again I will be critical of NASCAR for setting the schedule this way. Nothing wrong with going to Vegas for the first race, but don’t follow it up on the other side of the country with a Saturday night affair.

FEDERATED AUTO PARTS 400

So, this Saturday night race will be held at the Richmond Raceway in Richmond, Virginia. This is a three-quarter mile D-shaped race track that has had some really exciting races run at it. Some of that was due to being the final race in the regular season for many years, but that isn’t the case anymore. This is one of those short flat tracks we talk about similar to Loudon and Martinsville only a bit in between those two in length.

Kyle Busch: I am going to go with Kyle to win this race due to the simple fact he leads all active drivers with six wins here including a sweep of both races last season. He has also finished in the top five seventeen times in his twenty-eight starts at the track and should be the odds on favorite to pick up his seventh trophy from this track. Add to that a poor finish in the opening round and Kyle really wants this win.

Denny Hamlin: Not to be outdone by much, Denny has three wins here and this is the type of track where he has always been good. In fact, Denny has only finished outside the top six once in his last eight starts here. If that isn’t consistency then I don’t know what is. He should be on your roster this week.

Joey Logano: Speaking of being consistent at this track, let’s talk about Joey. Joey has only finished outside of the top ten once in his last eleven starts here and that was a fourteenth place finish. He has also visited victory lane twice in that stretch here and will be another of the top contenders this week. Look for him to give the Joe Gibbs teams a run for their money.

Martin Truex Jr.: Now I go back to Joe Gibbs Racing again and talk about Martin Truex Jr. Martin won the race here in April, won both stages in this race last year. And has collected points in nine of the last ten stages run here. The win in April was his first short track win, but that is only because something always seemed to happen to him late in races on these short tracks. He is very good here.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has been running very well lately and he won this race two years ago. This is a track where he can make some noise in the playoffs and get himself qualified for the second round by picking up a win here this weekend. He has finished in the top sixteen in ten of his eleven starts at this track and usually qualifies well here too.

Kevin Harvick: Although he hasn’t won here since the 2011 season, Kevin is no flunky here. He has been very good here. He has finished in the top five in eight of his last ten starts here and hasn’t finished outside of the top twenty since the 2009 season. He has sat on the pole for the last two races he has run here and is a great option to start again this week if you are out of Kyle Busch starts.

Brad Keselowski: Here is another driver who really knows how to get around this track. At least he never really seems to run poorly here. He has finished in the top twenty in his last twelve starts with eight of those being top ten and two being eleventh place finishes. This is one of those weeks where you should have a lot of option in your A group and shouldn’t get hurt too bad unless your driver has some major problem during the race.

Chase Elliott: Chase has had a so so season so far in his eyes. He has been the most consistent Hendrick driver this year, but I’m sure he thinks he should have won more races and contended more often. Now isn’t the time to worry about what happened before the playoffs though and to get the job done. This is one of the tracks where he can pull off a win. He has finished in the top ten in three of his last four starts and finished second in the April race last season almost pulling off the win.

Clint Bowyer: Clint has two wins at this track and has finished in the top ten in each of his last three starts here. Clint has always seemed to run consistently well on the short flat tracks and now that he is in his third season with Stewart-Haas Racing his team should be a bit more cohesive as they progress through races. Look for him to have another strong showing this week.

Ryan Newman: Ryan made his way into the playoffs and has finished in the top ten in three of his last five starts at Richmond. One of those top ten finishes came in April in his first year with Roush/Fenway Racing and he did win a race at Phoenix in the spring of 2017, so he could pull off another upset this weekend and will be my dark horse for this week’s race

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR RICHMOND RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kyle Busch
  • Kevin Harvick

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Kurt Busch
  • Ryan Newman

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Daniel Hemric
  • Ty Dillon

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT RICHMOND RACEWAY

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

Dark Horse: Ryan Newman

Stay Away From: Ryan Blaney

Big 18: Kurt Busch

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Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Las Vegas Motor Speedway, South Point 400

The playoff field has been set and Jimmie Johnson did not qualify for the first time since NASCAR went to a playoff system. Ryan Newman claimed the final spot by beating Daniel Suarez in this race and Kevin Harvick picked up the win and six more playoff points which is huge. All in all this race saw a lot of the big name drivers have problems and they are thanking their lucky stars it happened this week and not next weekend.

SOUTH POINT 400

So, the drivers will head out west for the first race in the playoffs next Sunday at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and the running of the South Point 400. This race is scheduled to start a bit later than most races that are run on a Sunday. The starting time is 7:00 Eastern time which I am guessing moves it away from most NFL game times. Let’s all wish all of the playoff drivers the best of luck and then sit back and watch the action.

Brad Keselowski: I am going to pick Brad to win the first race of this year’s playoffs and get the free pass into the second round. He has won three of his last eight starts at this track, finished in the top ten in all of those starts, and finished in the top five in six of them. One of those top five finishes came this spring when he finished second to his teammate, Joey Logano.

Joey Logano: So, if Joey won in the spring why shouldn’t he win again now? He has been just about as good as Brad here lately with his win in the spring and seven straight top ten finishes with five of those being top fives. I think the Penske teams have a small advantage over the other competitors here because of how good they have all been lately. They have something to their setup that seems to work all the time.

Kevin Harvick: Last week’s winner at Indy also won the spring race here last season. At the beginning of this season they were fast at the beginning of races, but couldn’t keep up with the track and were always disappointed with their finishes. It looks like they have found something lately and this team will be good off the truck once again this weekend.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has four top five and five top ten finishes in his last six starts here including a win in March of 2017. This is the type of track where Martin dominated when he won the championship a couple of years ago and this team will have a lot of confidence entering this weekend. I look for him to be a contender all through this race once again.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has been one of the hottest drivers on the circuit for the past two months and was having another great run at Indy until a late race accident. He finished in the top three in three of his past four starts and should have a fast car once again this week. Patience will be the name of the game for him throughout the playoffs if he wants to advance.

Kyle Busch: Kyle is the points leader heading into the playoffs and this is his home town track. He has finished in the top five in four of his last seven starts here and is in a bit of a slump for him. He is going to break out soon and this might be the week he does it. He very well could win multiple races during these playoffs.

Ryan Blaney: Another of the Penske drivers, Ryan has four top seven finishes in his last five Vegas starts. This team might not have won a race yet this year and that makes it even more important to not make mistakes in the playoffs. They are at a bit of a disadvantage as they only won two stages during the regular season.

Denny Hamlin: Denny is second to teammate, Kyle Busch, as the drivers enter the playoffs and he has been running very well for the last half of the regular season. He runs pretty consistent here, but never really contends for the win. In fact he has only lead fifteen laps in fifteen starts at this track. I think there are going to be better tracks to use him at as the playoffs progress.

Aric Almirola: Aric has run three races for Stewart-Haas Racing at Las Vegas and has finished in the top ten in each of those races. This is the type of track where Aric will have to make hay during the playoffs if he wants to keep advancing. This team was really good at the beginning of the year, but kind of stepped back during the middle portion of the season. They seem to be making a bit of a comeback at the right time.

Erik Jones: Erik has been running real well lately and this should be a good track for him to show he can be a contender throughout the playoffs. He sat on the pole here in this race last season and I think he has learned a lot in the past couple of season and the win at Darlington should give him even more confidence heading into the playoffs.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Brad Keselowski
  • Joey Logano

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Ryan Blaney
  • Aric Almirola
  • Erik Jones
  • Alex Bowman

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Chris Buescher
  • Daniel Hemric

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

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

Dark Horse: Alex Bowman

Stay Away From: Kurt Busch

Big 18: Alex Bowman

Categories
Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard

We are now just one race away from the start of the playoffs and there is still a lot to be decided. As of right now the final spot in the playoffs belongs to Daniel Suarez who wins a tie breaker between himself and Ryan Newman for that final spot as they both have the exact same amount of points. Clint Bowyer is only eight points ahead of those two and Jimmie Johnson only trails them by eighteen points. Stage points are going to be huge for these drivers and yet there could be a new winner who isn’t in the top sixteen in points that could knock someone out. All in all it should be a fun race to watch.

BIG MACHINE VODKA AT THE BRICKYARD

The final race before the playoffs will be run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, also known as “The Brickyard”. This is a two and a half mile low banked rectangular oval track that has long straightaways, which means that speed is a major factor in winning this race. The temperature will also have a lot to do with how cars will handle here and let’s not forget about tire management. On long green flag runs the speeds will fall off quickly and those who are fast at the start of a run might get run down the longer those runs go by cars that are handling better and drivers able to manage the tire wear.

Kyle Busch: I have to go with Kyle winning this race and padding his playoff points a little more. He has two wins here and eleven top ten finishes in his fourteen career starts here. His pit crew seems to be one of the most consistent on the circuit this year and he doesn’t make many mistakes getting on or off pit road. I think he is going to qualify well and run well this week.

Kevin Harvick: Although he hasn’t won here since the 2003 season, Kevin always seems to have something to say before this race is over. He has five straight top eight finishes here and that trend should continue. He would like nothing more to win for the second time at Indy and get a few more of those playoff points himself.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won this race last season and finished second in 2017. I talked about speed being a big factor in this race and the Penske teams have shown that they have the speed this year to get the job done on this type of track. We also know that Paul Wolff will try different strategies to try a steal wins when they don’t have the best car on the track, but that can backfire at times too.

Joey Logano: Joey is still looking for his first win at this track, but usually runs well here despite not getting that elusive win. He has finished in the top ten in five of his last six starts here and lead laps in four of those six races. He lost out on the regular season championship, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try to win this race and get five more playoff points this week.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has only run five races here and finished in the top ten in his first three. This team has really come on strong the past month or so and is poised to make some noise in the playoffs. He would be a great driver to put on your roster and if he practices well he could be a bit of a surprise and allow you to make some gains if you are looking to make up ground in your league.

Denny Hamlin: It is a bit surprising to me that Denny hasn’t won a race here yet. However, he has finished in the top five in four of his last five starts here and he knows that second place this week won’t do him any good at all as far as where he sits in the standings for the regular season or the playoffs. Look for him to go all out for the win this week.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie’s best shot at making the playoffs is to win this race. It is something he has done four times in his career, so he could do it again. However, this team really hasn’t shown me much at all this season and I don’t see them all of a sudden making major strides in winning a race. Especially on a track like this. He might be worth having on your roster in case something does happen and you can use him to save some starts for others if he practices well, but don’t count on him too much.

Erik Jones: Last week’s winner has only run two races here and he finished second in this race last year. He also ran very well at Pocono this year and this track is a bit similar in the fact that it has long straightaways and not a lot of banking in the corners. I think he is probably someone you want on your roster this week. Momentum is a big deal for a young driver and hopefully he doesn’t get over confident and make a mistake that could cost him late in the race.

Clint Bowyer: Clint won the first stage of this race last year, but he has been inconsistent to say the least at this track in his career. In thirteen starts he has three top five and four top ten finishes. On the other side of the coin, his worst finish here was twenty-first when he was running for HScott Motorsports which was a team that didn’t have big sponsorship money to spend.

Paul Menard: Paul won this race back in the 2011 season, but has only lead one lap here since then. He has finished in the top ten in two of his last three starts here and he ran well at Darlington last week which should give them some confidence coming into this weekend. He is another driver you might want to put on your roster and then decide if you should starts him after seeing how he does in the practice sessions. He has to win this race if he wants to make the playoffs.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kyle Busch
  • Brad Keselowski

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Erik Jones
  • Clint Bowyer
  • Jimmie Johnson

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Chris Buescher
  • Ty Dillon

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY

  1. Kyle Busch
  2. Brad Keselowski
  3. Kevin Harvick
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Kyle Larson

Dark Horse: Paul Menard

Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.

Big 18: Kurt Busch

Categories
Driver Group Game Fantasy NASCAR

2019 Darlington Raceway, Bojangles’ Southern 500

Matt DiBenedetto almost shook up the playoff picture in what would have been a minor upset on Saturday night in Bristol. If he would have been able to hang on and win this race it would have eliminated one of the bubble drivers, who right now is Daniel Suarez who is two points ahead of his teammate Clint Bowyer for the final spot in the playoffs. This is going to make for some exciting racing in the next two events before the playoffs starts.

BOJANGLES’ SOUTHERN 500

The series will be off this week before the head to the Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend for the running of the Bojangle’ Southern 500. This track is also known as “The Track Too Touch to Tame” and “The Lady in Black”. I heard Darrell Waltrip say on the broadcast once something to the effect of ‘She ain’t no lady.’ You will often hear about the Darlington Stripe during the race which refers to the paint drivers will get from the wall on their cars. This happens because of the track configuration which is more of an egg shape than an oval.

While this track still has some pretty good banking, the configuration makes it a little harder to set up the cars to handle the way the drivers want on both ends of the track. You will see a lot of adjustments made during this race and cars that are handling good at the beginning of the race might just fade at the end and vice versa.

Denny Hamlin: I am going to pick Denny to win back to back races and gain some more valuable playoff points in this race. He won here for the second time two years ago and also has three runner-up finishes in thirteen starts at this track. He has been very consistent lately which is another reason to think he will be the driver to beat on Labor Day weekend.

Ryan Newman: I like Ryan this race as well because of how good he was at Bristol and how good he has been at Darlington throughout his career no matter who he was driving for. In fact, Ryan has seven top ten finishes in his last ten starts here and thirteen top ten finishes in twenty starts in his career at this track.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has been very good here throughout his career also. His only win at this track came way back in the 2008 season, but he hasn’t finished worse than eleventh in his last nine starts. He is going to want to do everything he can to keep Denny from winning this race and taking those playoff points away from him.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin has five top five finishes in his last six starts here including his only win back in 2014. He has also lead over two-hundred laps in two of those races which tells us that he really knows how to get around this track. After a disappointing end to his Bristol race he will be looking forward to getting back on track at Darlington.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie leads all active drivers with three wins at Darlington, but he really hasn’t shown much all season. In fact, in his last four Darlington starts his average finish is a bit over twenty-fifth. I really don’t see him having a very good race again this week, but he could surprise.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has three top ten finishes in his last four starts at this track, yet those were all with Stewart-Haas Racing. The question here is, will his new crew chief be able to get his car set up to his liking? The only way we are really going to know is to wait and see how he does in the practice sessions. We will really want to look at his ten lap averages and also see how well he qualifies before deciding to start him.

Erik Jones: With only two races under his belt at Darlington there really isn’t a lot to go on for Erik. However, in those two races he has finishes fifth and eighth and has really looked good lately. Once again if you want to put him on your roster you will still have to wait and see how he practices and qualifies before deciding if you want to start him or not.

Kyle Larson: Kyle looked really good at Bristol coming away with a top ten finish and has four top ten finishes in five starts at Darlington. I think he is another driver you can put on your roster and start if you are running out of some of the other top drivers in his group. I think he is going to have a competitive car once again and might win this race.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won this race last year and has five top ten finishes in ten career starts here. I’m sure they are going to have a fast car right off of the truck and should be competitive all weekend. Brad is already in the playoffs and this team is known for doing something different to try and win races and gain playoff points. That can be good or bad for us fantasy players, because we don’t know if they will do that and if it will work out or not.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin won this race three years ago and has finished outside of the top fifteen only once in his last eight starts at this track. He has lead laps in each of his last three starts and won both of the stages in the race two years ago. That tells us that he should have a very good car that is capable of winning this race.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DARLINGTON RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Martin Truex Jr.

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Ryan Newman
  • Erik Jones
  • Kurt Busch

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Chris Buescher
  • Ty Dillon

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY

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

Dark Horse: Erik Jones

Stay Away From: Daniel Suarez

Big 18: Kyle Larson