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!
Here's a mid-week look ahead at the Darlington race on Sunday night. There are two practice sessions on Friday, qualifying only on Saturday and the race on Sunday night. It's a nice spread out schedule that will give us plenty of time to analyze results and plan our lineups. The weather forecast looks decent with only a slight chance of storms on Friday and Saturday. It doesn't look like anything will get washed out.
Before getting too deep into driver notes and targets, here are a few general points to keep in mind for this race:
Here are some preliminary driver targets:
That's it for now. We'll have some Xfinity notes on Friday night to help you set lineups for that race on Saturday. Our final Cup Series update will be on Saturday night after all practice and qualifying is complete.
Saturday AM Update: Looking back at last year, 11 was the most laps led and 7 was the most fastest laps. That added up to a grand total of 6.25 DK points. In 2016, it was 24 laps led and 15 fastest laps for 13.5 DK points. In 2015, it was 23 laps led and 14 fastest laps for 12.75 DK points. So, again, you do not need a Dominator to win this week. You want solid guys (and maybe a gal) from top to bottom with a good outlook on finishing position and positive position difference.
Nothing much changes to my initial list after Friday practice. I still like them to varying degrees. I feel real good about Allgaier and Gaughan. I also feel pretty secure in using Conor Daly in any format. He ran a lot of laps in final practice and put on new tires near the end of the practice and ran a really strong lap. He also got shafted by his sponsor, so may have some additional motivation to put on a good showing in the race.
I will add Justin Marks, Austin Cindric and JD Davison to the watch list. They all had real good speed and are with strong teams. Will all depend where they qualify. Finally, add Katherine Legge as a cheaper option at $6,000. She was running well at Mid Ohio until she had a motor issue. She was running pretty well in practice today too until Tyler Reddick hit her. There was some damage, but it didn't look like anything that would impact their race. Depending on qualifying spot, she could provide strong value.
Some notes to help you build lineups for Saturday's Xfinity Series race at Road America. The track is over 4 miles long, so it's only 45 laps that make up the 180 mile race. Only 11.25 total points out there for laps led and 22.5 points for fastest laps. Finishing position and position difference will be most important this week.
There's a chance for rain both Friday and Saturday with the greater chance looking like Friday. The most likely scenario is a wet track Friday and dry track for the race Saturday. That would really favor the series regulars who have done multiple road course races here and this year. It would also really hurt guys like Bill Elliott, Conor Daly, etc. who need practice time in race conditions since they're not accustomed to these cars.
GL on Saturday. Depending on what happens in practice on Friday, I may post a brief update Friday night/Saturday morning.
Have to be brief this week. 500 laps, so you need the dominators as we talked about all week.
Harder to do a full write-up on the Xfinity side this week because practice was not televised and, as usual, we won't know the starting order until a few hours before the race. So I'm doing more of a shortened notes version that you can use to finish lineups after qualifying.
500 dizzying laps are on tap for Saturday night. That means 250 fastest lap and 125 laps led points are out there on DK. We'll need one Dominator at least to make our lineup work this week. Here's my initial target list heading into practice and qualifying on Friday:
And now two big names that have struggled here and look like large tournament options only:
Sunday Morning Update: I'm getting a sense that ownership of Harvick/Busch is going to be pretty low in cash games this week with people focusing instead on the guys starting further back -- Larson and Elliott in particular. It's totally legitimate to go that way and fade the two studs if you want to be a bit more conservative about it. That is one of the questions that makes this slate a little tricky. Between those two, Larson looked better in practice. About mid way through the last practice, he jumped into the Top 5 in single lap speed and he ended up 3rd in 10 lap average in final practice. Elliott was 18th in single lap speed and did not run 10 consecutive laps. I also like Bowyer in that range. He will probably be a bit lower owned then Larson and Elliott. Bowyer 8th in single lap speed and 7th in 10 lap average in final practice.
Got to admit that I struggled a bit in formulating the plan for a cash game lineup this week. There are some good options up and down the lineup and at various salaries. I think we'll see a lot of variety in line ups this week, which I think is generally a good thing for us. Other than Suarez, I don't think there are any locks for a cash game lineup. That being said, here's how I'm going about it on DK:
I think the same general approach works on FD. Although, I might be more willing to fade Harvick and Busch there since laps led/fastest laps are less important as compared to DK. If you do fade them and start with Suarez, you can take four very high quality drivers starting 4th-20th or so. All the names above would be in play for those spots and you should have enough salary to pick whoever you want from those we listed.
On the GPP side, I think Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola are three good options that should come in at reasonable ownership levels. I also really like Blaney and Jones in that format.
I love this track for IndyCar but it's a little weird watching the Xfinity cars here. Hard to handicap this one a bit because final practice was largely washed out due to rain. No rain is expected for the race. Only 75 laps, so not a ton of laps led and fastest lap points out there. But also tough to pass, so can't go all in on position difference either.
Sam Hornish won this race last year in the 22 car for Penske. Austin Cindric is in that car this week. He always seems to have a problem at some point in every race. Possible GPP play, but I don't love him in a cash game set-up unless he starts 10th or worse. Last year was a bit of an odd race too. Several late crashes led to a total of 16 cars being out at the end of the race. Guys like Justin Allgaier, Cole Custer and Ryan Reed were all out. Almost turned into a plate track with guys from the back finishing in the Top 20. That was a bit of an outlier and I wouldn't expect anything that extreme again this year.
Here's a real short bullet point list of the drivers I will be focusing on in my lineups. Of course if other series regulars start way back, jump on them as well. I won't have time to update after qualifying:
Back to more of a normal schedule this week with one practice and qualifying on Friday, two practices on Saturday and the race on Sunday. So we shouldn't have any race day inspection issues like we did with Watkins Glen.
200 laps at Michigan, so we've got 100 fastest lap points and 50 laps led points in play on DK. In the last few Michigan races, we've seen the top "Dominator" lead about half the laps and get a similar number of fastest laps. So there will be more focus on the potential dominators this week.
Here's an initial list of guys I'm most focused on heading into Friday. It's a longer list then I'd like to start from for two reasons. First, I think we've got a bit of a deeper field at the top. In other words, I don't see the Big Three as far out in front of the field as we saw at other tracks. I can see a race Dominator coming from somewhere other than that group of three. Maybe that changes with practice and qualifying -- we'll see. Second, there's a pretty deep group of mid- to low- priced salary saver type guys. More of them are in play then normal. We'll be able to chop down this list as the weekend goes along and we see practice speeds and starting spots, etc. So here they are:
I'll have some Xfinity notes on Friday night and a full/final Cup update Saturday night.
BEWARE that NASCAR is doing inspection on Sunday morning, so starting positions might still change. But I don't expect the total chaos we saw last week with about 15 cars failing inspection. Track position is too important and I suspect the teams got their act together after last week. Maybe a few cars fail, but nothing like last week. Based on the current grid, these are my targets listed by order of preference within each tier (I'm focusing on DK here, but FD specific notes are at the bottom):
$7K - $10K
Lineup Construction Notes
I'll do a final Cup Series update on Saturday night. Today I want to post a few Xfinity Series notes. It won't be as specific or complete as I'd like because practice was essentially a rain out. Only a few cars actually took time and none ran actual race speed laps due to rain and a wet track. No rain is expected for the race, so nothing from practice will carry over to the race. Plus we won't know the starting order until shortly before the race. But I do want to give you a few guidelines and general driver targets to help you navigate the time crunch and set those lineups between qualifying and race time.
There are six Cup guys running this race. Here is how I would rank them:
Here are the Xfinity Series regulars I'm most interested in:
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