Howdy folks! This the second week of our new home for Nascar notes. The format will be the same as in previous weeks, but will be evolving as we close out 2018 and head into 2019 in the coming months. I’m always open to suggestions, so feedback is encouraged. Early each week I will post the schedule in chat. I will start my articles with any significant series notes. Then I’ll go thru the tiers and post my picks for race day. My picks will not focus on favorites to win the race, but rather drivers with the best value, and chance to accumulate DFS points based on DK scoring methods. I will be available in chat to go over lines and answer any questions. Finally, I will post (in chat) any late breaking changes to the starting grid each week as they come in, as well as post a few of my lines sometime before the green flag drops on race day.
The series moves to Homestead for the championship finale this week. Only 4 drivers remain and it’s a one race shootout. Some general details that are noteworthy…this race typically sets up where most of the drivers on the track will move aside and not race heavily with the four contenders, preferring to not be the guy that takes one of them out. There are still a handful of drivers that just don’t care, but most will move aside and not take chances with the four contenders. This is also yet another 1.5 mile oval and all of the fast cars, including the contenders should be up front on race day.
The “Big 3” are all in, along with Logano. Last week Harvick dominated, but his chance to win was derailed by a flat tire mid race. Kyle Busch took advantage and picked up the win. Truex bounced around throughout the field and managed to stay up front at the end and punched his ticket to the finale. Logano’s day ended early when he got loose and tagged the wall. An interesting note is that he self-proclaimed himself the favorite to win in Homestead. That didn’t set too well with the others. Lastly, I’ll be adding a separate ‘Contenders’ tier below for this week’s race rather than the usual Big 3 tier.
CONTENDERS – (starting position in parenthesis)
Kyle Busch (2nd), has been fast and barely missed out on the pole. He’s a definite favorite but starts up front, where he’ll have to get his points by leading laps rather than gaining positions. That hurts his value just a little. Tapped the wall in the final practice, but his team plans to repair damage and avoid a backup car. It’s interesting to note, that Hamlin deferred the best pit stall position to Busch, who isn’t really a teammate, but rather under the same umbrella of Joe Gibbs racing.
Truex (3rd), see above, he’s in the same situation as Kyle position wise, and was very fast in happy hour.
Harvick (12th), slipped in qualifying, but has been very fast all week. Its gives us an excellent opportunity, although he’s priced accordingly and will be more difficult to fit in. Had one of the best long run sessions in happy hour, and is very happy with his car.
Logano (5th), struggled to find speed early in the week, but managed a decent qualifying run. Then he found speed in happy hour…lots of speed. I’m still not big on him for several reasons. The opportunity is there, but there are also several drivers quietly gunning for him on race day. That coupled with his starting position gives me reason to fade him.
TOP TIER –
Larson (11th), is one of my favorite plays among non-contenders. Homestead has a high line, which is where Larson thrives. He has a great track record here, and has a decent start for gaining some positional points. He’s also been among the fastest drivers in practice. He’s pricey, but a great play this week.
Elliott (14th), has been streaking in the second half this year, and also has a nice starting spot and track record at Homestead. So-so speed wise this week.
Bowyer (26th), will be hard to ignore when setting lines. He has been fast at times in practice (as all SHR cars have been), yet missed the mark in qualifying. He has the best chance at positional points of any top tier driver in the field. His salary is in that gray area where you might be able to fit him in with a single contender and one other top tier or mid tier driver if you’re willing to risk having a dart throw in your line.
MID TIER –
There are a handful of drivers among this tier that I expect to have similar point per dollar values. They include Johnson (19th), Blaney (15th), Almirola (10th), and Jones (7th). Plugging a few of these in with a single contender OR a single top tier driver might be the best usage for this tier.
LOW TIER –
Menard (22nd), is one of the better lower tier plays this week. He’s fast, respectable at Homestead, and has a great chance for positional points. I’ll be actively trying to get him in my lines.
Byron (28th), has struggled lately, but has a great chance to end the season well. Many teams will be looking ahead to next season and new drivers/changes. Byron isn’t going anywhere, and he can focus on a good finish this week.
There’s a secondary group of three drivers in this tier worth a look, including Suarez (18th), who is one of those high line drivers that could benefit on race day, but temper expectations as this team could be in for changes next season, and it might have an effect on race day. Also in that group is Austin Dillon (16th), and Bowman (13th), who are in similar spots this week, and have both been fast at times in practice. If they fit well as a last piece, I wouldn’t argue against using them, but they’re not priorities for me.
DART THROWS – (use at your discretion, but understand the risks)
Buescher (27th), is very usable this week. If you need the cap space, he’s about as good as it gets in his price range.
Ty Dillon (31st), Ragan (25th), and Chastain (39th), are all serviceable as far as punts go. Use with caution as most of these teams aside from Dillon, are in season-ending transition, and looking forward to next season already. They are all very high risk.
Drivers I’m avoiding this week are Hamlin (1st), Newman (8th), Stenhouse (9th), and Wallace (23rd). Hamlin has been fast all week, but as those of you who know me already know, I’m not big on pole sitters unless I expect them to lead a vast majority of laps and win the race. I don’t like negative positional points, let alone a lack of being able to gain positive ones. I expect this race to be won by one of the contenders, and not Hamlin.
As always, thanks for reading and feel free to hit me up with any questions or suggestions you have. Good luck!NASCAR