No two NASCAR seasons are alike. Some drivers who ran well last year will likely have a hard time repeating their success in 2020. Drivers who did not meet expectations in 2019 could come roaring back this season. It is all a result of the changes NASCAR is making to try and improve the sport and the changes each organization is making to try and improve their team. If you stand still you will likely get passed in the sport of NASCAR.
Here are four changes that will have an effect on Fantasy NASCAR in 2020…
Revised Schedule for 2020
NASCAR decided to shake things up in 2020 and released a schedule that is going to make for some exciting races. This is the last year for most of the track’s contract with NASCAR so get used to the changes. The 2021 season will like be even crazier and could see some new tracks added to the circuit.
The biggest change for 2020 was with the championship race. All three series will crown their champion in the desert instead of the beach. Homestead was moved from the final race in November to the sixth race in March. The track will race differently in the spring than it does in the fall so this should bring some new drivers into the mix for our fantasy teams. The change to ISM Raceway (Phoenix) will have more of an effect on the Cup Series Championship than it will for our fantasy teams. The same drivers who were good at Phoenix in November last year will also be good in 2020. For betting purposes… Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin should see their odds of winning the championship increase, while Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr. and Chase Elliott will have a more difficult time winning the championship because of the move to Phoenix.
Another change that will affect Fantasy NASCAR is the swap in dates between Indianapolis and Daytona. The Brickyard 400 will now be on the 4th of July weekend. Track conditions should be similar to what we saw in August in Indiana so I do not think this change will affect our fantasy teams much. The new Daytona race will. Daytona will now host the first and last races of the regular season. If you think the July races at Daytona were crazy, wait until a driver has his entire season riding on whether or not he gets to Victory Lane. We definitely want to use drivers from outside the top-10 in the NASCAR Point Standings in our Fantasy Lineups in the August race at Daytona.
NASCAR really made the race at Pocono more “Tricky” in 2020. The race will now be a double-header, with the first race on Saturday and the second race on Sunday. Add in two Truck Series races, an Xfinity Series race and an ARCA race and you have a very full schedule. This change will affect me with my picks more than you with your fantasy teams. I usually spend hours preparing my picks for each race. I will have a limited time to select my teams and post the articles. I have a strategy in mind so this should not be a big deal. Also, my contacts in the garage for the “Garage Talk Notes” will really pay off at Pocono.
One last change that will affect your Fantasy NASCAR team more than any of the changes listed above is with the weekend schedules. NASCAR will have more impound races this season. That means the teams will practice twice of Friday, qualify their cars on Saturday and be inspected Sunday morning. If a team fails post-qualifying inspection, they will lose their qualifying spot and start and be scored from the back. You really need to keep up with the inspection process this season or simply subscribe to FantasyRacingTips.com for the latest info.
It has been a while since the Cup Series had a rookie battle between three drivers in very good equipment. The 2016 battle was good between Chase Elliott and Ryan Blaney and the 2006 battle between Clint Bowyer, Martin Truex Jr. and Denny Hamlin was also good. The 2020 battle between Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick could be the best we have ever seen. All three drivers have very good cars and the talent to run in the top 15. The Cup Series field is as deep as it has been in years. There are 30 drivers who have fantasy value each week. This is going to make it easier for allocation games, but more choices means more difficult it will be to win our DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports) contests. Do not worry. I put a lot of work into finding trends and increased my contacts in the garage to help us win in 2020.
Crew Chief Changes
Usually the drivers switching teams is the story before the Daytona 500. This year it is the crew chief changes that are making headlines.
Cole Pearn shocked the NASCAR world and announced he is retiring from the sport to spend more time with his family. The combination of Martin Truex Jr. and Pearn was one of the best in the garage. James Small moves from the lead engineer to the top of the pit box. Small has the knowledge to setup the car but how will he do with making adjustments during the race and using strategy to get to Victory Lane. This change could decrease Truex’s fantasy value a bit in 2020.
Team Penske Racing swapped all of their crew chiefs for the 2020 season. Paul Wolfe will now be pair with Joey Logano, Todd Gordon will be paired with Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski will be paired with Jeremy Bullins. I view Blaney as the real winner here. Gordon is one of the best crew chiefs at setting up a car. A faster car off the hauler should help Blaney score more top-five finishes in 2020. Logano has the knowledge to tell his crew chief exactly what he needs from his car and that should go a long ways when you match it with Wolfe’s ability to use strategy to win races. Logano should be back in the Championship Four because of this change.
Stewart-Haas Racing also made some crew chief changes. Mike Bugarewicz will move from the No. 14 car to the No. 10 car with Aric Almirola. The new crew chief for Clint Bowyer will be John Klausmeier. Almirola will likely not gain or lose any fantasy value because of the change but Bowyer might be affected. Bowyer has no problem speaking his mind. Klausmeier is a smart engineer who does not speak much. It is like pairing the class clown with the class nerd. How is that going to work out? We shall see…
Austin Dillon will once again be paired with Justin Alexander. Richard Childress Racing made the change with the No. 3 team to Danny Stockman Jr. before the 2019 season. It did not work out. Dillon had a lot more success with Alexander calling the shots so RCR went back to what worked. Dillon missed the playoffs last year but he made the playoffs the previous two seasons with Alexander on top of the pit box. Dillon should see his fantasy value increase because of this change.
Aero Package Changes
The 2019 Cup Series was a disaster on the short tracks last year. The aero package with the 8” spoiler and aero ducts did not work on the tracks shorter than 1.5-mile in length. NASCAR will go back to what worked in 2017 and 2018.
The cars will have the spoiler reduced from 8” to 2.75”. The front splitter will be reduced from 2” to .25”. The radiator will also be moved in the car to help balance the cars for the short tracks. The aero pack will be used for 11 short track races and the three Road Course tracks in 2020.
Since the aerodynamics of the cars will be similar to what we had in 2017 and 2018, we need to scrap what happened last year at the short tracks and focus on what happened in 2017 and 2018 for our fantasy picks.
Good luck this season and remember to subscribe so you can easily win you Fantasy NASCAR league in 2020.
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