NASCAR DFS Cheat Sheet: DraftKings Picks for Toyota / Save Mart 350
Each week, we’ll have an early week cheat sheet for the DFS NASCAR contests at DraftKings. This week, we look at the Toyota / Save Mart 350 at Sonoma.
NASCAR DFS CONTESTS
Track Record: $9 entry, $250k guaranteed – $50,000 to 1st
Slingshot: $3 entry, $80k guaranteed
Top five favorites to win
1. Martin Truex, Jr.
Don’t be fooled by his 37th-place finish at Sonoma last year. Truex had the fastest car, but his engine blew up in the middle of Stage 3. And even when his engine was blowing up, Truex was still running the fastest laps on the track. He won the next road course race at Watkins Glen. Remember, Truex earned a win at Sonoma in 2013 racing for MWR.
2. Kevin Harvick
Truex was faster than Harvick at Sonoma last year, but Harvick finished and won with ease. The second-place car finished eight seconds behind, and Harvick was saving fuel. Before the Cup race at Sonoma, Harvick entered the Sonoma K&N race to get extra reps. He won that race and figured something out in the process. Harvick is fast at Sonoma, and he’s the fastest driver this season.
3. Kyle Busch
The weekly elite car showdown includes Kyle Busch. In the 2017 Sonoma race, Busch finished fifth, but his fantasy NASCAR performance was lacking. Early in the race, Busch locked up his brakes entering the hairpin (Turn 11). He was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop and a valuable set of tires was wasted. In Stage 2, Busch nursed the car around the track to save tires. Somehow, he was able to salvage his day. He has a win at Sonoma from 2015.
4. Clint Bowyer
Sonoma has short-track tendencies. There is a lot of bumping and banging. The nose of Harvick’s winning car was caved in. That’s nothing compared to Bowyer. His second-place car was held together by silver bear bond tape. How was this possible? Bowyer is one of the best short-track racers, and he’s one of the best road racers. Bowyer earned a win at Sonoma in 2012 racing for MWR. He was also driving the #14 SHR car last year. The same car that won the 2016 Sonoma race.
5. A.J. Allmendinger
If you have been playing fantasy NASCAR at DraftKings over the last couple years, then you know that playing Allmendinger at road courses has not worked out. Allmendinger is one of the best road racers in NASCAR. There is no argument there. The problem is that he drives for a small team, and his car is not as good as the top-tier teams. Allmendinger has to overdrive the car to make up the difference. His Sonoma races have been fraught with aggressive mistakes and mechanical failures.
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Long shots to score big
1. Chris Buescher – His teammate Allmendinger opens his notebook and provides assistance. Buescher is no slouch at road courses. He won at Mid-Ohio in the Xfinity series. Unlike Allmendinger, Buescher does not have to win to pay off his price.
2. Paul Menard – In the last seven Sonoma races, Menard ranks eighth in average finish. He’s now in the best car of his career. With stages, Sonoma has become a wild strategy race. Menard gambled on pit road in the last race and finished fifth.
3. Kasey Kahne – In the last seven Sonoma races, Kahne ranks seventh in average finish. Like Menard, Kahne gambled at Michigan. It didn’t work out, but don’t be surprised if this small team rolls the dice again.
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Kevin Harvick – Only in Kevin Harvick’s world is a second-place finish disappointing, and he has a ton of them at Michigan. If the rain would have held off for two more minutes, then Harvick was your winner.
Kyle Busch – Michigan was another top five finish for Busch. His 10 top five finishes this season is the second best in NASCAR. You know who has more top fives than him? Harvick.
Brad Keselowski – In the last three races, Keselowski has finished sixth or better. His car is fast enough; he just needs one of his patented pit road gambles to pay off. Sonoma is the perfect place to pull a card from out of your sleeve.
Kevin Harvick (2017)
Tony Stewart (2016)
Kyle Busch (2015)
Carl Edwards (2014)
Martin Truex, Jr. (2013)
Pick to win
Martin Truex, Jr. – The #78 car was too fast at Sonoma and Watkins Glen to ignore. That speed will not vanish, and Truex knows his way around this 11-turn road course.
Post Qualifying Update
Qualifying was a disaster. Hamlin and three of the SHR Fords (Bowyer, Kurt Busch, and Almirola) put terrible times on the board. They will be the Fantasy NASCAR chalk this week.
Buescher, Kahne, and McDowell are all firmly in play as Fantasy NASCAR value picks.
The hogs are who we thought they were. Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex, Jr, and Kyle Larson are the favorites to win. However, they are all starting up front, so their upside is limited in a race with only 110 laps.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.