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!
I'll watch Eldora and might play some small dollar DK entries, but I'm not going to do a write up. I don't know enough about the many one off guys coming in to do this race and want to focus on the Cup and Xfinity races at WGI this weekend.
UPDATE: So glad I didn't waste time on a write up since cash game plays were pretty obvious once all those cars got sent to the rear.
Sorry all. Unable to do a Cup Series write up this week.
Saturday Morning Update In Bold At The Bottom
The Xfinity Series has a stand alone race in Iowa on Saturday. This series was here just a few weeks ago in mid-June. In that race, Christopher Bell dominated most of the race with 186 of 250 total laps led and 116 fastest laps. The only car anywhere near him was Cole Custer, who led 59 laps and ran 50 fastest laps. However, Custer only led if/when he had the preferred outside line on a restart. This happened at the beginning of the race and again part way through the race when he beat Bell off pit road. Each time Bell methodically worked his way up to and past Custer and then drove away from him. Bell had the best car by a pretty sizable margin.
This was the second consecutive win at Iowa for Bell as he won the July 2018 race there as well. It was also the second consecutive Iowa race where Bell and Custer were the dominators. In that July 2018 race, Bell led 94 laps and had 50 fastest laps. Custer had 104 laps led and 49 fastest laps.
Heading into the weekend, I expect much of the same with Bell and Custer leading the way. The safest bet is probably to plan on rostering both of them, grabbing two salary savers and then filling it out with a couple of mid-pack guys who offer some position difference upside. The only scenario I can see changing this approach would be if one or more good cars qualifies near the back and offers elite +25-30 position difference upside.
Here's a few other drivers of note heading into the weekend. I'll add some additional driver notes/targets after we see practice on Friday:
More to come after Friday's practices.
Saturday Morning Update:
Saturday Morning Updates In Bold At The Bottom
The Trucks Series hits Pocono on Saturday afternoon. There are three unusual things about this race relevant to our Fantasy Nascar strategy:
I'm going to post a few driver notes for now, but leave most of that for the Friday night update I'll do after practice and qualifying:
That's it for now. I'll add some additional driver targets note after practice and qualifying on Friday.
Saturday Morning Update --
I want to start this week's strategy with some trends. The "package" this week is relatively similar to what's been run in years past at the shorter tracks, so past history here could be more important. What we've seen at New Hampshire is that our dominators start up front -- usually in the Top 5. In fact, in the last three New Hampshire races, the pole winner has both led the most laps in each race and had the most fastest laps in each race. Let's look at a few details:
Looking at the shorter, flatter tracks run so far this year, the same type of trend holds up. The dominators have come from the very front of the field -- usually the Top 5 starters.
So where does all this leave us for driver targets. First, with 301 laps out there, I think we need to shoot for two dominators:
Who else to target:
Saturday Morning Updates in Bold/Underline
I talked last week in the Xfinity article about how the repaved Kentucky is a single groove track making it very difficult to pass. And I went through the numbers showing how the Top 10-15 starters tended to end up in the Top 10-15 finishing positions. That turned out to be true again last week. Of the Top 15 starters, 13 of them also finished in the Top 15. The only two newcomers to the Top 15 started the race just outside the Top 15 at 16th and 18th. And, the only two Top 15 starters who did not also finish in the Top 15 were not passed on track. They both suffered fatal engine/mechanical issues (Ray Black Jr and Brandon Jones).
This week again, the Xfinity Series will be at what is historically a single groove track where it's very difficult to pass. For at least the last five years, the cars that qualify up front here completely dominate the race. In the last five races, every car that has started 1st, 2nd or 3rd has finished in the Top 5. And in two of the last five races, the cars starting 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th finished the race in the exact same order -- 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. That's pretty remarkable. So, again this week, we'll put a little less emphasis on position difference and more focus on the cars starting up front and mid-tier cars starting around 18th-24th that we think can gain a few spots and score a solid points day. (Two caveats to all this -- (1) This race has tended to have a few Cup Series guys like Kyle Busch or Brad Keselowski who we would expect to dominate the race no matter what. Only Paul Menard is of note crossing over from the Cup Series this week. (2) Last year, Keselowski won the pole but had to start from the rear. He easily worked through the field and led 72 laps. So it's not impossible for a great driver in a great car to pass. But for a normal Xfinity ride, it's extremely tough.)
I'll again be looking to roster Christopher Bell and Cole Custer. Both have been very good this year at the shorter, flatter tracks that are most comparable to New Hampshire. I'm looking at Bell as my #1 Dominator with Custer #2.
Wanting to grab two Dominator options, you're going to need multiple value plays. Here's the options I'm focusing on as of now:
2 for 2 so far at Kentucky. Good profit in Trucks and a huge day in Xfinity. If you read my Xfinity article, you should have killed it Friday night. I used Custer - Bell - Truex - Shane Lee - BJ McLeod - Vinnie Miller. All but Miller were featured prominently in my write up.
I'm not going to write much about the Cup race for a couple reasons. (1) I put a ton of time into Trucks and Xfinity this week and it paid off. I didn't do as much work on the Cup stuff so I feel less prepared. (2) It's an impound race. There was no pre-qualifying tech inspection, so tech will be done Saturday afternoon. Any car that fails once will have its q time disallowed and its official starting spot will move to the back of the field. We have typically had at least a few cars fail which makes them obvious chalk plays in cash games. Since a chunk of the field can get turned upside down on Saturday shortly before the race, it doesn't make much sense to focus too much on the specific lineup just yet.
There are two guys I've got pretty strong opinions about, so I will talk about them:
I will try to add something after tech inspection on Saturday, but I'm not sure I'll have time to do so. In any event, follow Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) on Twitter as he is typically at the track tweeting real time updates on tech as cars either pass or fail.
We had two Xfinity practice sessions on Thursday. Qualifying will be Friday afternoon before the evening race, so be sure to check official starting spots.
One general note, since the repave, it's been very difficult to pass at Kentucky. In the last two Xfinity races, most drivers are finishing about where they started. Some specifics:
With that background, here's who I'm looking at most heading into Friday:
See Post-Practice/Post-Qualifying Updates in Bold.
The racing starts early this week with a Thursday night Truck Series race. All practice and qualifying will be pre-race on Thursday, so please check those results before locking your lineup. Here are my lineup thoughts and driver targets heading into Thursday:
High End Targets
Saturday Morning Update In Cup Section Below
In general, the best cash game strategy at "plate track" races like Daytona and Talladega is to roster drivers from decent teams who are starting from about 20th on back. So much depends on starting spot and the good fortune of avoiding the Big One. We are not focused on Dominators at all at the plate tracks because (1) fastest laps and laps led tend to be spread out much more then other types of tracks; and (2) there is extreme risk with drivers starting up front because they will score negative points if they get caught up in one of the wrecks. We're focused on drivers starting further back who give us very strong position difference upside with little downside of negative points, etc. if they do get caught up in a wreck.
With those general concepts in mind, here are a few more specific notes to help guide you through lineup building for the Xfinity and Cup Series races on Friday and Saturday night.
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