DFS NASCAR Picks for Cup Series

Facebooktwitter

The NASCAR Cup Series will travel to Sonoma Raceway this week for another road course race. This is one of my favorite races to watch and one of my favorite races for DFS lineups. My picks last year at Sonoma finished fourth in the $3 Hot Rod Contest, but I had to split the pot with many people (I guess that is what happens when you share your picks with many smart NASCAR fan 😊). Hopefully, we can have the same success this weekend. The Toyota / Save Mart 350 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 pm ET on FOX.

 

PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING

Sonoma was repaved over the off-season, so NASCAR gave the teams 50-minutes to dial in their cars for Sunday’s race. Sonoma is a 1.99-mile track so it takes 1 minute 18 seconds to turn a lap at this track. Most of the teams were able to get a five-lap run in practice and that is what I will be looking to figure out which drivers have speed for Sunday’s race. The single-lap speeds are usually skewed because traffic can slow a driver down at the road courses.

Here are the practice speeds for the Toyota / Save Mart 350

 

 

CUP SERIES STATS AT SONOMA

There have been two races at Sonoma in the Gen-7 car. Sonoma is the most technical of the road courses on the NASCAR schedule. There are 12 turns and a lot of elevation changes. Some of the drivers who run well at the Rovals and the non-technical road course tracks, do not run well at Sonoma. I will use the data from the two races at Sonoma and the race at COTA this year (another technical road course track) for the picks this week.

Here are the stats from the last two races at Sonoma in the Gen-7 car and the race at COTA this year, sorted by DraftKings Points…

 

 

DRAFTKINGS STRATEGY

The race Sunday is scheduled for 110 laps (220 miles). That means there are 27.5 points available for leading laps and 49.5 points available for fastest laps (77 total dominator points). The trend in the two Cup Series race at Sonoma is for one driver to lead roughly 50 laps and score 20 fastest laps (21.5 dominator points). A second driver leads 34 laps and scores 14 fastest laps (14.8 dominator points). A third driver leads roughly 16 laps and score 8 fastest laps (7.6 dominator points).

I want to score the dominator points Sunday but that is not my goal. I will try to select six drivers who can finish in the top-12 and hope at least two of them lead the most laps. This race is more about finishing position then it is about trying to score the 77 dominator points. I will have some lineups with the higher-priced drivers who start up front, but I will also have some balanced lineups with six drivers who are good on the road courses and have a decent chance to finish in the top-12.

The drivers with the best chance to dominate the race Sunday include Tyler Reddick, Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson and William Byron

The drivers with the best chance to score place differential points are Marti n Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Will Brown, Brad Keselowski and  Austin Cindric

 

DRAFTKINGS MODEL (Prediction Based on Stats) 

Finish = Finishing Points                PD = Position Differential              Fastest = Fastest Laps Led = Laps Led

* The number in front of the driver is his projected finishing position based on stats.

 

 

DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP

CHASE ELLIOTT ($9,300): Elliott used to be the master of the road courses in the Cup Series. He has been good, but not great on these tracks in the Gen-7 car. It looks like Elliott is starting to get his mojo back. Elliott posted the fifth-fastest speed in practice and qualified fourth for the race. He finished fifth, eighth and second in his last three races at Sonoma. Elliott should finish in the top-five, with the upside to win the race Sunday.

CHRIS BUESCHER ($8,600): Buescher has been “Mr. Consistent” on the road courses. He has finished 14 consecutive road course races in the top-11. Buescher has the best average finishing position in the Gen-7 car at Sonoma and the best average finishing position in the last 10 road course races. The No. 17 car did not look great in practice, but I am not worried about it. The RFK Racing cars have a habit of being slow in practice and fast in the race. Buescher is just too consistent on the road courses to fade Sunday.

MICHAEL MCDOWELL ($8,500): McDowell looked really good last week at Gateway and he looks even better this week at Sonoma. McDowell posted the sixth-fastest speed in practice and qualified 12th for the race. He finished third and seventh in his two races at Sonoma in the Gen-7 car. McDowell will have a good chance to score another top-10 finish Sunday.

AUSTIN CINDRIC ($8,200): Do you believe in momentum? Christopher Bell was in a slump and then he won the Coca-Cola 600 and then came back the next race and almost won at Gateway. Can Cindric do the same? I am not sure the No. 2 car can finish in the top-10 Sunday, but I do not need him too. Cindric starts 28th, so a top-15 finish would be a great day and a lot of points for our lineup.

KYLE BUSCH ($7,700): Can we trust Busch this week? He “should” be good at Sonoma. Busch finished seven of his last eight races at Sonoma in the top-seven. He has an average finishing position of seventh over the last decade at the track. The No. 8 car had some speed in practice and now he starts 29th.  Busch should score 10-15 place differential points at Sonoma. I feel brave this week, so I will take a chance with Rowdy Busch.

JOEY LOGANO ($7,300): Logano often gets overlooked at the road courses but he has been pretty good. He finished 11th at COTA earlier this year, fifth at the Charlotte Roval in the playoffs last year and 10th at Watkins Glen. He also finished third at Sonoma last year. The No. 22 car looks fast again this weekend. Logano won the pole so he should have a good chance to lead a lot of laps Sunday at a bargain price.

 

 

DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP

KYLE LARSON ($10,000): Larson has been a boom or bust driver at his home track. He won the race at Sonoma in 2021 and he finished eighth last year. He is getting to be more consistent, so it seems “Yung Money” is starting to figure this track out. Larson posted the fastest speed in practice in race trim and had the fastest car on the long-runs. Larson also qualified fifth for the race. He should lead a lot of laps and be one of the drivers to beat Sunday.

CHASE ELLIOTT ($9,300): I have Elliott in my Cash Contest lineup and I will play the No. 9 car in my Tournament Contest lineup too. Elliott is just too cheap for how consistent he has been at Sonoma and how much speed his car had this week. I am all in with the most popular driver in NASCAR.

ROSS CHASTAIN ($8,300): Could the No. 1 car be a threat to win Sunday? He won at COTA in the Gen-7 car in 2022 and Chastain had one of the fastest cars in practice Friday. Chastain posted the second-fastest speed in race trim and he had the second-fastest long-run speed. He then went out and qualified ninth for the race. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was watermelons and wine in Victory Lane Sunday.

ALEX BOWMAN ($7,500): Bowman often gets overlooked on the road course because his teammates are so good. Bowman has not won on a road course yet, but he does have a habit of finishing in the top-10. Bowman finished four of his last six road course races in the top-eight. I do not need Bowman to win Sunday. I just need a solid top-10 finish from the No. 48 car. I think I can get it Sunday.

JOEY LOGANO ($7,300): We typically do not get a driver who has a chance to lead the most laps for only $7,300. We also do not get the driver who has the fifth-best average finishing position at Sonoma in the Gen-7 car at a discounted price. The upside is just too good to pass up with Logano Sunday.

WILL BROWN ($7,200): Brown is a Supercars racer from Australia who knows how to navigate a road course. He is driving the No. 33 car for Richard Childress Racing. Brown posted third-fastest speed in practice. He qualified 24th for the race. Brown has the talent and the speed to finish in the top-10. The No. 33 car is one of the best value picks in the field this week.

 

 

FANDUEL MODEL (Prediction Based on Stats)

 

 

FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP

 

 

FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP

 

 

Follow me on (X) Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR

If you like Fantasy NASCAR, LIKE my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook