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 can't pick four obvious favorites as my projected championship four. I had to make one out of the box selection and that's Chase Elliott. I considered a few others and very nearly went with a rebound season from Joey Logano, but I settled on Elliott. First and foremost, I was incredibly impressed with how this team handled the Denny Hamlin incident at Martinsville during the playoffs last season. Chase was leading that race, had dominated the second half of the event and was a few laps from a victory that would have clinched a spot in the championship race at Miami-Homestead Speedway. But Hamlin slammed into Chase from behind, sending Chase up into the wall and out of contention. He finished a lap down in 27th after pitting for repairs. Chase responded with a great deal of emotion that day and followed it with his best three race stretch to close out the season. He finished 8th the following week at Texas and then he nearly won, but finished 2nd, at Phoenix. He raced Hamlin very aggressively during that Phoenix race -- at one point essentially pushing Hamlin up into the wall. That sent a message to Hamlin and others that he will not be intimidated. Chase closed the year with a lot of speed and a 5th place finish at Miami.
Simply put, the #24 (which will be the #9 in 2018) was one of the fastest cars to close out the 2017 season. In the ten playoff races alone, Chase had seven Top 10 finishes, and it would have been eight had Hamlin not wrecked him at Martinsville. He had three second place finishes in the playoffs alone! And he led laps in seven of the ten races -- for a total of almost 400 laps led during that time.
It also helps that Chase drives for the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports team. He will have all the resources throughout the year to let him maximize his driving talent. In fact, one could easily argue that Chase in now the lead dog at Hendrick. Jimmie Johnson is, of course, the most accomplished driver on the team, but he likely has only a few years remaining in his historic career. The other two drivers are newcomers who have never raced full seasons in the top NASCAR series. Alex Bowman replaces Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the #88 and William Byron replaces Kasey Kahne. While both young drivers undoubtedly have immense potential, I don't think Rick Hendrick would have been willing to bring them both on board at the same time unless he truly believed that Chase Elliott is ready to assume the role as the team leader and championship contender in 2018.
So where should we focus on Chase for fantasy purposes? I think he is seriously in play everywhere except the restrictor plate tracks and road courses. At the mile and a half tracks last year, Chase finished in the Top 10 nine out of eleven races and the Top 5 in seven of those eleven races. So he is always in play at those tracks. He is a near must start at Dover where he has finished 3rd, 3rd, 5th and 2nd in his four Cup starts. He is also a near must start at the two mile speedways (California Auto Club and Michigan) where he is six for six in Top 10's -- with three second place finishes -- in his Cup career. Finally, he was great at Martinsville in 2017, finishing 3rd in the Spring and as the likely winner if Hamlin hadn't punted him in the Fall.
In fact, working through these numbers makes me feel even more confident in my pick of Chase as a final four driver. He is really strong at virtually every kind of track and has a legitimate chance of running up front each week.
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