Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Darlington Raceway, Race 1

Welcome back! This is going to be a whole new ball game for me trying to predict races when they are only days apart instead of weekly. My guess is the articles will be a bit shorter for the time being with mostly just picks going in. I’m not even sure how the DGG is going to work now that the only race that will have qualifying this month will be the Coca-Cola 600. Maybe we will be able to set our rosters right up to race time. I’ll have to find out from the boss. All of the other races won’t even have any practice sessions. I’m guessing there will be a competition caution after a short run in each race to let teams make adjustments to the cars. This is going to be interesting.

DARLINGTON RACE 1

So, the first race upon resuming the season is going to be held on May 17th at the Darlington Raceway. They don’t even have a sponsor name for this race yet. Then they will turn around and race here again on Wednesday night. Chicagoland and Sonoma lost their races for this season and the spring race scheduled for Richmond was also eliminated with the updated schedule.

Other things that have happened since we’ve been away are that Kyle Larson was let go after uttering a racial slur during an iRace and has been replaced by Matt Kenseth. Ryan Newman has also been cleared to come back to racing and will be back in the saddle next Sunday.

Denny Hamlin: I’m going to pick Denny to win this race. In his fourteen career starts at Darlington he has two wins and seven top five finishes. I think this is almost like a restart to the whole season where teams were taking the data they accumulated from the first four races and worked on figuring out how to make their cars better and it seems that the Joe Gibbs engineers are some of the best in that regard.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won here back in the 2018 season and has finished in the top five in three of his last five starts here. With Joey Logano already winning two races it seems that the Penske teams are on the right path with where they are with their cars at this point of the season. With a new crew chief it’s possible that Brad will have some handling issues without any practice time.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin has finished in the top five here in six of his last seven starts. Once again this team got off to a bit of a slow start this season, but this is one of those tracks where Kevin is very good. He won one of those last six races and sat on the pole in three of them. He also lead over five hundred laps in that stretch.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie leads all active drivers with three wins at Darlington. The Hendrick teams have all shown a major improvement in speed so far this year across the board and I think Jimmie still has a win or two in the tank in his final year as a full-time driver in this series. He might be worth putting on your roster. I think experience is going to be huge when there isn’t any practice before a race.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished no worse than eleventh in his last ten starts at this track. Even though his only win here came back in the 2008 season he is probably the best driver on the circuit showing that he can drive pretty well even when his car isn’t handling too well and they always seem to get it fixed up towards the end of the race. The starts of these races are going to be the dicey part.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has never won a race here, but he has finished in the top ten in his last three starts here. In fact, last year he won the first stage and then finished second in the second stage and lead ninety-four laps before finishing seventh in that race. I think in his second season with Chip Ganassi Racing and with his experience he should do well once again this week.

Joey Logano: Joey has finished in the top five in three of his last five starts at Darlington. Now with new crew chief Paul Wolff on the top of his pit box he might break into the win column for the third time this season and first time at Darlington. This team hasn’t been great throughout the races this year but, they are always there at the end.

Matt Kenseth: A new team and a bit of a layoff for Matt. Will his experience behind the wheel in this series make him a dark horse in his first race back, or will the new team and crew chief hinder his effort? The car he will be driving has done very well here lately with Kyle Larson behind the wheel where it finished in the top three in three of its last four starts. Matt has finished in the top six in five of his last seven starts here. Can he drive with the setup Kyle Larson used? Might be worth taking a shot on here.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin has really shown he knows how to run on all types of tracks over the past three seasons or so and is a veteran to the series. Once again I think the experience behind the wheel is going to play a huge roll in who will run well and who will have difficulties in these races. There are a lot of new things to consider when setting your roster for these next few races at least.

Here are the updated rules for the DGG: For the Guts or Gutless league I have put Matt Kenseth in the B group seeing he is a veteran driver on a good team. I have also removed Kyle Larson from the list of available drivers.

NEW LOCK SCHEDULE
To limit interaction, teams will drive to the tracks; Unload; Go through inspection; Line up according to a random draw; Race. The Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is said to include practice sessions and qualifying. As such, these ‘COVID-19’ replacement races and the Coca-Cola 600 (to keep things simple) will not follow the normal lock 1 and lock 2 procedure. Going forward, until further notice, your league entry will lock at the scheduled race time. Which, is also listed on your entry form. I don’t know if (or which of) these races replace any races past or future. If a race is ‘complete’ (1 – 4) or confirmed ‘on-the-schedule’ (5 – 8 and 27 – 36), then you will be able to view the entry form for that race. Otherwise, those race numbers (9 – 26) entry form are locked until I know which race and track it will be.


MATT KENSETH and KYLE LARSON
In the DGG League I have put Matt Kenseth in the C Driver Group.
Commissioners! You decide where you want him. Go to Commissioner > Drivers and drag Matt Kenseth into the group you want him in.
You can take Kyle Larson out of a group and back to the driver pool.
Warning! Kinda, more an FYI. If a player has set Larson on a future entry, the player will not be able to remove Larson from that entry. There will be no check box. The solution is for the player to click the red Clear All button to remove the whole entry and start fresh. If Larson is left in, the entry form will show the NE (not entered) next to his name indicating he is not racing.
RYAN NEWMAN and ROSS CHASTAIN
Ryan Newman is back! He should be listed on your entry forms in the #6 as usual. Ross Chastain will go back (I think) to Spire Motorsports. There is no official entry list out yet.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DARLINGTON RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Kevin Harvick

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Kurt Busch
  • Erik Jones
  • Chris Buescher

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ty Dillon
  • Cole Custer

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DARLINGTON RACEWAY

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Kevin Harvick
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Joey Logano
  5. Jimmie Johnson

Dark Horse: Matt Kenseth

Stay Away From: Alex Bowman

Big 18: Denny Hamlin

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

NASCAR Schedule Update 2020

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 30, 2020) – NASCAR today announced it will return to racing on May 17, which will kick off a slate of races that includes seven events in three series at two race tracks – Darlington Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

The NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series will each host its first on-track event since mid-March.

NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community. We thank local, state and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry, for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track.

Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer

The NASCAR Cup Series will return to Darlington Raceway on Sunday, May 17, with a 400-mile event scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET, live on FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

What follows is a unique schedule that includes midweek races in primetime and a NASCAR crown jewel – the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway – in its traditional Memorial Day Weekend home for the 60th consecutive season.

DATETRACKSERIESDISTNETSTART
Sun, May 17DarlingtonCup400 miFOX3:30 PM
Tue, May 19DarlingtonXfinity200 miFS18:00 PM
Wed, May 20DarlingtonCup500 kmFS17:30 PM
Sun, May 24CharlotteCup600 miFOX6:00 PM
Mon, May 25CharlotteXfinity300 miFS17:30 PM
Tue. May 26CharlotteGander Trucks200 miFS18:00 PM
Wed, May 27CharlotteCup500 kmFS18:00 PM
All times listed are ET. Each of NASCAR’s return events will be run without fans in attendance. Further schedule adjustments will be announced in the future.

Each

“NASCAR and its teams are eager and excited to return to racing, and have great respect for the responsibility that comes with a return to competition,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. “NASCAR will return in an environment that will ensure the safety of our competitors, officials and all those in the local community. We thank local, state and federal officials and medical experts, as well as everyone in the industry, for the unprecedented support in our return to racing, and we look forward to joining our passionate fans in watching cars return to the track.”

“We are excited to welcome back the FOX NASCAR season to our airwaves to provide a return to live sports, a move toward normalcy and a much-needed distraction during these unprecedented times,” said Mark Silverman, President, National Networks, FOX Sports. “While we are thrilled to return to the race track, the health and safety of our employees and all race participants is our top priority. We will continue working in lockstep with our partners at NASCAR and the race tracks to follow all national and local health guidelines.”

Following thorough collaboration with public health officials, medical experts and state and federal officials, NASCAR has implemented a comprehensive health and safety plan. In accordance with CDC, OSHA and state and local government recommendations, nearly every aspect of how the event is conducted will be significantly modified, including:

• One-day shows;
• Mandated use of personal protective equipment throughout the event;
• Health screenings for all individuals prior to entering the facility, while inside the facility and exiting the facility;
• Social distancing protocols throughout the event;
• Strict limits on the number of individuals who are granted access into each facility

As NASCAR works towards the execution of these events, the sanctioning body will continue to work with state and local authorities based on trends and local restrictions.

In-race competition procedures remain largely unchanged, though NASCAR will eliminate practice for all events during this opening return slate, as well as qualifying for all events except the Coca-Cola 600.

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Atlanta Motor Speedway, Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500

Joey Logano becomes the first multiple race winner of the 2020 season in only the fourth week. Those playoff points he has earned will come in very handy during the last ten races of the year. Once again Martin Truex Jr. had to start at the back of the field, made it to the front of the field and then had some issues that took him out of the race. Still a lot of time and racing to go before the start of the playoffs.

FOLDS OF HONOR QUIKTRIP 500

This week the series heads back towards the east as the drivers and their teams head to the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the running of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. This is another of the mile and a half tracks and is similar to the Texas Motor Speedway. We will see how engines hold up this week with the distance of 500 miles.

Kevin Harvick: I am going to go with Kevin to win his first race of the season after a runner-up finish last week at Phoenix. He has led more laps at this track than any other active driver. He won this race two years ago, has six top five and eleven top ten finishes here in his last thirteen starts and is hungry to get that first win of the season.

Jimmie Johnson: I have a really good feeling that this is going to be a very good week for Jimmie. They have shown a lot of speed so far this year on the longer tracks along with all of the Hendrick teams and Jimmie leads all active drivers with five wins at this track. Along with that he has also finished in the top five in sixteen of his twenty-eight starts here. This is going to tell us how good he can be in his last full-time season.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has finished in the top seven in six of his last nine starts at this track. I think this team is going to keep improving as the season wears on and he will be getting his first win soon. It seems like the Gibbs teams aren’t hitting their stride yet as they struggle through practice right now and it takes a while during the race for them to get their cars dialed in. That will be fixed very soon.

Martin Truex Jr.: Martin is having a start to his year like Kyle Larson did last year. He has started from the back in three of the four races so far this season and that is a lot to overcome. He has done that only to have something happen in the pits or on the track late in the race that takes him out of contention. Once this team can get through inspection they will fair much better at the end of races.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has won two of the last three races here and finished second in the other race. I think all of the Penske teams are going to be strong once again this weekend and if Brad and his new crew chief can get on the right page early on this weekend they will have a great shot at winning once again.

Joey Logano: Seeing that Joey has Brad’s old crew chief, Paul Wolfe, on his team now he very well could be the driver to beat once again. After the way they ran at Las Vegas they should come to the track this week with a car that is very fast right off the truck. If things go right through the race they are going to find themselves in contention once again.

Kurt Busch: Kurt has been good here throughout his career no matter whom he has driver for. He has three wins, has finished in the top eight in eleven of his last fifteen starts, and has lead over five-hundred laps in that stretch while racing for five different teams. He finished third in this race last season racing for Chip Ganassi, which is the team he is on once again this year.

Chase Elliott: If the speed we have seen so far this year from the Hendrick teams is evident once again this weekend then Chase will have a shot at winning his first race of the season. He has only run four races at this track and has finished in the top ten in three of those races. This years speed might let him pick up his first career win at his home track.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has three top ten finishes in his six career starts at Atlanta. Last year he led 142 laps in this race and finished first and second in the two stages before the bad luck bit him and he finished twelfth. His best finish is a second and if they can make the right adjustments as the race progresses this week he will have a shot at improving on that finish.

Clint Bowyer: Clint wasn’t very good here when he raced for Michael Waltrip Racing but, in his last three races while he has been with Stewart-Haas Racing he has run pretty well. In fact, he has finished in the top five in each of his last two starts here. He won the pole at California but didn’t have the handling he needed there. If he can get his car to handle the way he wants, he could be a threat for the win this weekend.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Joey Logano

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Kurt Busch
  • Kyle Larson
  • Clint Bowyer

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ross Chastain
  • Cole Custer

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT ATLANTA MOTOR SPEEDWAY

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

Dark Horse: Jimmie Johnson

Stay Away From: Austin Dillon

Big 18: Jimmie Johnson

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Phoenix Raceway, FanShield 500

Congratulations to Alex Bowman on winning his first race of the season in dominating fashion and showing us that the Hendrick teams are back to competing at a high level with the rest of the teams. The Penske teams seem to be second best right now followed by the Joe Gibbs and then the Stewart-Haas teams as far as speed goes. It will be interesting to see which teams improve as the season moves on.

FANSHIELD 500

This week the series stays out west as the drivers and teams head to Phoenix Raceway for the running of the FanShield 500. This is a 1-mile, low-banked tri-oval track so, speed won’t be as big of a factor as handling and pit stall selection. That means we need to decide on which teams and drivers we trust with making the right decisions all weekend to get the best stalls and make the right adjustments during the race.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin is a no brainer to have on your roster and will probably be my starter this week. In his last sixteen starts here he has won seven races, finished second twice and finished in the top five thirteen times. There hasn’t been anyone this dominant at this race track before and you need to have him on your roster. We can decide if we want to start him after practice and qualifying

Kyle Busch: So, here is our dilemma this week about who to start, but not about who to have on your roster in the A group. Kyle has finished first or second in each of his last four starts here. He has also finished in the top five in eight of his last nine starts at Phoenix. Once practice and qualifying is over we will have to set out rosters with one of these two drivers.

Denny Hamlin: Too bad all of these drivers are in the same group. Denny won the fall race here last year and is really good on the flatter tracks. I think this is a week we take a break from Denny as he hasn’t been quite as consistent as the two drivers mentioned above and there are a lot of tracks left on the schedule where we’ll be able to use his starts late on.

Ryan Blaney: After having a disappointing finish when he got a flat tire late in the race last week at Fontana, Ryan will be looking forward to getting back to racing. He finished third in both of the races run here last year and should have a really good car once again this weekend. If he can avoid the bad luck this week he could find himself battling for the win late in the race.

Kyle Larson: This is one of the tracks where Kyle seems to avoid the bad luck most of the time. In fact, he has finished in the top six in five of his last seven starts at Phoenix and after getting knocked into the wall early last week at Fontana he will be looking to make up ground in the standings and maybe even get a win to get himself qualified for the playoffs.

Joey Logano: Joey has one win at this track and lead ninety-three laps in the fall race last year. This team has been pretty stout so far this year and this is the type of track where if they hit their setup right away they will have a shot at winning. If they struggle in practice it could be a long day for them once again.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie hasn’t won a race here since the 2009 season. However, this team has had a resurgence this season showing a lot of speed on the intermediate tracks. This week we will see how they do on the short, flat tracks. They did run well on this type of track last year and I see them improving on that this year. I think he should be on our roster once again this week.

Kurt Busch: Another driver to possibly use in the B group this week, Kurt has nineteen top ten finishes in his thirty-four career starts at this track. If he has good practice sessions he will be worth using this week. He seems to be better on the short, flat tracks and more consistent than he is on the intermediate tracks.

Brad Keselowski: Brad is still looking for his first win at this track. He does run well here most of the time as we can see from his past stats where he has finished in the top twenty in seventeen of his last eighteen starts here. Ten of the last sixteen races he has run here he has finished in the top ten. Like I said earlier, Kevin and Kyle are the two most consistent drivers in the A group for Phoenix and we can hold off on the rest this week.

Aric Almirola: When I think of Aric I usually think of him on the intermediate tracks but, he has run very well at Phoenix lately. In fact, he has finished in the top ten in four of his last five starts here and led twenty-six laps in the spring race last year. I think he might be worth having on your roster this week if you want to take that chance. I’m going to hold off on him myself.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR PHOENIX RACEWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Kevin Harvick
  • Kyle Busch

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Ryan Blaney
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • Kyle Larson
  • Kurt Busch

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ross Chastain
  • Ty Dillon

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT PHOENIX RACEWAY

  1. Kevin Harvick
  2. Kyle Busch
  3. Denny Hamlin
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Kyle Larson

Dark Horse: William Byron

Stay Away From: Alex Bowman

Big 18: Kevin Harvick

Categories
Fantasy NASCAR

2020 Auto Club Speedway, Auto Club 400

If the race in Las Vegas last week is any indication of how even the teams are going to be this season we are all in for some great action. The Hendrick teams were all fast, the Penske teams were all fast, the Stewart-Haas teams were all fast. Guess what? All of the teams were fast. If not for three of the Gibbs cars starting at the back I’m sure they all would have been running with the rest of them.. Let’s not for get the small teams either. They were all competitive this past weekend. Now let’s see if they can keep that up.

AUTO CLUB 400

This week the series stays out west as the drivers head to the Auto Club Speedway for the running of the Auto Club 400. This is a two-mile D-shaped oval track in Fontana, CA. This race is really going to show us which teams have the speed which is going to be a major factor in whether a driver and team can compete here due to the long straightaways. With the way everyone ran last week my job of predicting races just got a lot harder for this race.

Martin Truex Jr.: I’m going to go with Martin to win this week’s race. He was running towards the front all last week until a mistake with some loose lug nuts caused his to have to come back to pit road under caution where he lost a lot of track position and ended up getting squeezed up into the wall which took him out of contention. I think he is going to be really fast on the straightaways and the mistake won’t be repeated this week.

Joey Logano: Last week’s winner can’t be ruled out once again this week. He has momentum on his side as he looks for his first win at this track. He finished second in this race last year and has a run of four straight top five finishes at this track. I think he a Paul Wolfe are going to get along real well and will contend for another championship this season.

Brad Keselowski: Brad has finished in the top five in four of his last five start here including a win back in the 2014 season. They weren’t quite as fast as Joey and Ryan last week but, they were competitive. I think this team will get better as the year progresses and driver and crew chief get more comfortable with each other.

Kevin Harvick: Kevin was really fast on short runs last week but, faded on the longer runs. This is exactly how things started out for him last season and this team figured it out late in the year and started winning races just before the playoffs started. I think they will go back to what made them better last year and will figure it out much quicker this year.

Chase Elliott: Chase was the class of the field in the first two stages of last week’s race. I the four races Chase has run at this track he has never finished worse than sixteenth. He always seems to run well at Michigan which is a very similar track. They are hungry for a win and I see them picking their first one up for the year very soon.

Kyle Busch: Kyle has won three of the last six races he has run at this track and has finished in the top three in six of his last eight starts here. He never really competed last week after having to start at the rear of the field when his team couldn’t get through inspection. I think if he gets to start towards the front this week he will be in the hunt at the end.

Ryan Blaney: Another driver who has only run four races here, Ryan finished thirty-fifth in his first but, ended up in the top ten in the last three races. He was really fast the whole race last week and it was looking like he might win until a late race caution came out and they didn’t make the right call in the pits. They are going to be fast once again this week.

Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie looked really good last week and he leads all active drivers with six wins at his home track. Even though he struggled last season, what I saw from this team last week, it looks like this team is on the right track to be competitive once again this season. In fact, all of the Hendrick teams were fast last week and that is a good indication they have figured something out and are going to compete each and every week this year.

Kyle Larson: Kyle has finished in the top two in three of his six career starts at this track. I thought he would have run better last week at Las Vegas and was a little disappointed in how they ran there. I think I am going to wait and see how they run the next few races before I put him in my lineup. I think they will get better as the year progresses.

Denny Hamlin: Denny is another driver I was a bit disappointed in last week also. I know he had to start in the back due to not passing inspection but, I thought they would be able to make their way back to the front. At one point he almost went a lap down. He is still looking for his first career win at this track but, has finished in the top ten in three of his last four starts here.

DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY

Driver Group Game Group A

  • Martin Truex Jr.
  • Joey Logano

Driver Group Game Group B

  • Ryan Blaney
  • Jimmie Johnson
  • William Byron
  • Alex Bowman

Driver Group Game Group C

  • Ross Chastain
  • Cole Custer

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY

  1. Martin Truex Jr.
  2. Joey Logano
  3. Chase Elliott
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Kyle Busch

Dark Horse: Matt DiBenedetto

Stay Away From: Chris Buescher

Big 18: Martin Truex Jr.