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!
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Brad Keselowski had a very strong 2017 season. He made the playoffs once again and advanced all the way to the championship race, only to finish behind the three other championship contenders. Along the way, Brad continued his trademark outspoken approach -- challenging NASCAR about Toyota's perceived advantages and more. It will be interesting to watch more fireworks fly this year if Chevrolet's new chassis shows improved speed as well.
Let's dig into some of Brad's numbers from 2017. He had three wins -- at Atlanta, Martinsville and Talladega. He had a total of 15 Top 5 finishes and 21 Top 10 finishes. He finished outside the Top 20 seven times. All in all, it was a solid but not spectacular season. His team returns intact in 2018, with the innovative and gambling Paul Wolfe as crew chief.
Now let's look at four tracks where Brad typically excels and where you should look to lock him into your lineups in 2018. First is Martinsville. In 2017, Brad won the Spring race and finished 4th in the Fall. He led over 100 laps in each race. And, in 2016, he finished 2nd and 5th at Martinsville, so this has been a very strong track over the last two years. Next is Talladega, where Brad has wins in 2014, 2016 and 2017. This is a track where it is not uncommon to see the 2 car out front switching from one lane to the next to stay out front. It has worked well and Brad has driven to Victory Lane in three of the last four years. That's downright dominance at a plate track. Next is Pocono. Brad finished 5th in both races there in 2017. In 2016, he finished 2nd and 3rd. I feel like this is a track where Paul Wolfe comes into play. It's such a long track that a car running near the front can make a green flag pit stop without losing a lap. That gives an aggressive crew chief strategy options to get a good (but not great) car into Victory Lane. And Wolfe is one of the best at capitalizing in those situations. Finally, it's Las Vegas. Note there will now be two races at Las Vegas -- an early season Spring race and a September race that opens the playoffs. This should be a good thing for the 2 car because the numbers say this is a great track for Brad. In the last five races there, he has two wins (in 2016 and 2014) to go along with a 3rd, 5th and 7th. And, Brad led laps in each of those five races, including 89 laps led in 2017. But this one makes me a bit nervous if Toyota (and now Chevy) have an advantage with their new chassis. (Ford is yet to upgrade its chassis.) While those advantages can be overcome at the plate tracks and tracks where innovative pit strategy is an option, there is really no place to hide at a mile and a half track. The first Vegas race is the third race of the season, so it will be too early to tell for sure where things stand. But do keep an eye on that story line before you plug in Brad at Las Vegas in week three.
I do want to mention one more track and that's Kentucky. Brad faltered there last year, crashing out about a third of the way through the race and finishing 39th. In the prior three years, however, he had two wins and well over 300 laps led. But, at this point, we have no idea what any of those prior results mean. The track was repaved prior to the 2016 race and then repaved again prior to the 2017 race. So keep Brad in the back of your mind for Kentucky and take a look at qualifying and practice speeds to help you decide what to do. At one time, Brad was pretty dominant on the old surface, so it's one to keep in mind.
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