I started this blog to provide a casual, recreational level of fantasy NASCAR advice and discussion. I've been playing these contests for a number of years and am annoyed by lineup sellers and groups of players using the same lineup. I'm hoping to give the casual player some help in building solid lineups that can beat that annoying crowd most of the time. I'm not a "tout" and don't do this for a living, so proceed accordingly. I hope you enjoy the discussion here and Good Luck!
SEE FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE AT BOTTOM
I'll be posting more content for Saturday's Xfinity Series race late Friday night after we see what happens during Friday's two practice sessions. For now, I'll leave you with a few notes to get started:
I'll have more after we see what happens on Friday.
FRIDAY NIGHT UPDATE
Here are some lineup strategy and driver target notes to help you build winning lineups for the Coca Cola 600. As always, I'm focusing more on a cash game, 50/50 or double up contest.
Here are some notes for Saturday's XFinity race following two practices on Thursday.
Saturday Update: Noted on Twitter that it was a very profitable Truck race. Actually my best return of the season so far. I won't have anything for the Open or All Star Race tonight. I'm spending the time working on Xfinity and the Coca Cola 600 next Saturday and Sunday.
Friday Afternoon Update: (1) Josh Reaume was way off the pace in practice. Like a full second slower then the next worst truck. Use as a last resort only. (2) Brennan Poole showed good speed and was one of only three trucks to do a 10 lap run in final practice. That run was faster then Sheldon Creed's 10 lap run and not too far off Ben Rhodes. He has also finished 13th and 9th in two of the three 1.5 mile tracks he's run at this year. He's not dirt cheap ($7,300), so I don't know if he'll fit a cash game strategy, but he's on the radar in all formats and a good target if you do the largest $8 tournament because many will focus on more popular names in that price range. (3) Sheldon Creed showed speed once again. Now can he actually finish a race? He's too risky for me in cash, but another tournament option.
I'll just be doing this one update this weekend for Friday's Truck Series race. I won't be posting anything for Saturday's Cup Series All Star Race.
The big question for the Truck race is whether to use Kyle Busch. He's priced way up at $16,000, but he's been worth it in all four Truck races he's entered this season. He's won all four of those races and led at least 90 laps in each race. He's thrown in a good number of fastest laps for good measure. In the four races this year, he's scored 91, 98, 128 and 81 DK points. The 128 is inflated because it was at Martinsville where they ran 250 laps -- allowing him to really rack up the laps led and fastest lap points. The other three races are more relevant to this week because they were at 1.5 mile tracks with a more similar number of laps run -- 130-150 laps. I think it's reasonable to use 85-90 DK points as a baseline for Kyle this week.
Looking at some of the other top tier drivers in the three 1.5 mile track races Kyle has been in this year, they are generally scoring about 40-50 DK points. Sauter was 58, 39 and 50. Moffitt was 40, 54 and 23. Chastain 54, 41 and 43. Friesen 21, 56 and 58. Crafton 29, 58 and 47. Enfinger 45, 51 and 45.
Doing some simple math, if you pair Kyle with a back marker punt like Jennifer Jo Cobb, you would have combined for exactly 117 points in all three races. Odd coincidence to be sure. By comparison, if you pair the best two of the other top tier drivers, you would have combined for 112, 112 and 108 points. So in every situation Kyle and a punt beat the two best nearest competitors. The reason is that when Kyle dominates these races, it is virtually complete and utter domination. He quite literally is leading 75%+ of the laps and hitting about 50% of the fastest laps. It leaves so few of those extra points for the rest of the field that the only way to catch him would be with massive position difference gains. And we rarely see that in Truck races because the trucks starting in back are simply inferior equipment, cannot keep up with the pack and have a very limited upside.
One caveat is that Kyle and the punt probably cost a little more than the two best nearest competitors. So, if you went the non-Kyle route you'd have a bit more to spend on the rest of your roster -- but not by too much.
There's risk in the Kyle strategy. Since the race is only 200 miles, you're looking at about 130 laps which means Kyle needs to lead most of the laps and hit a bunch of fastest laps. There is little margin for error. While Kyle has hit those benchmarks in all his races this year, he hasn't been so consistent at Charlotte in years past. He's done the Charlotte Truck race the last three years and only one time has he hit the milestones we would need. In 2017, he won, led 90 laps and had 44 fastest laps. That would hit the number we need. But, in 2016, he led only 27 laps and hit 15 fastest laps. And last year, in 2018, he didn't lead at all and hit only 20 fastest laps.
But, if you go the non-Kyle route, the risk is you don't pick the optimal combination of next best drivers. When we compared the numbers above, we assumed you picked the two highest scorers among the next best tier. But, if you hit the two worst scorers, you would have had only 50, 80 and 66 points combined between the two of them. There's almost no way you're making up 40+ points on the Kyle lineup with any minimal salary savings you might have for the other four spots. If you look at the mid-point of the next best tier, you're combining for about 90-100 points, which still leaves you 20 points or so behind the Kyle and punt team.
So my plan going into Friday is to use Kyle and a punt (probably Cobb) and look for value and position difference potential. I do think we have some decent value plays pending their starting spot. Here's who I'll be focusing on:
One final note. A scenario where I will pivot away from Kyle is if we have a few good trucks qualify further back in the field. This doesn't normally happen in the Truck Series, but it's a scenario to be prepared for just in case.
First crucial point. This is an impound race so tech inspection will be Saturday afternoon. If a car fails tech once, it's qualifying time is disallowed and it's official starting spot will move to the back of the field. So you must double check those lineups to make sure you've taken all that into account. If you want to follow the tech process in near real time, follow Bob Pockrass on Twitter @bobpockrass. I believe Bob tweeted on Friday that tech is scheduled to begin at about 2:30 Eastern time on Saturday. So we should know the official starting order within an hour of that.
Subject to everything being turned upside down tomorrow afternoon, here's my current thinking:
I've come to really enjoy the Truck Series races under the lights and they're all the more entertaining with DraftKings running Truck contests this year. As always, much is dependent on qualifying, but there are some targets that stand out to me for this race:
The weather forecast is looking very wet for Sunday, so a delay or postponement seems very likely at this point. Here's my approach as of now:
Our Truck targets and predicted Dominators did very well Friday evening. Let's get an XFinity win as well before getting to the Cup Series on Sunday. As usual with XFin, lots depends on qualifying spot but there won't be time to update between the end of qualifying and lineup lock. Here's who I'm focused on:
The truck series returns Friday after about a month off. This will be the first race (other than Daytona) without Kyle Busch in the field, so we'll start to see some of the top series drivers rise to the top. As always, things are very dependent on qualifying spot, but there's only a short time between qualifying and the race. Here are a few notes to guide your lineup building:
My name is Steve and I've won thousands playing NASCAR fantasy racing games. This blog will share my advice for enjoying and winning your fantasy racing games. I'm also a NASCAR writer at the motor sports website slicksandsticks.com