The NASCAR Cup Series will travel back to the St. Louis, Missouri area for the Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway (Some call it Gateway). The inaugural race at the track was tough to hit on in DFS contests. The race had eight drivers lead at least 12 laps and only Kyle Busch was able to lead over 50 laps. Most people built their lineups around dominators, since that is the trend in races with 240 laps. It did not pay off. So, what kind of race will we get Sunday? The teams have more data to work with, so I expect another good race, but this time there should be a few main dominators.
WWT RACEWAY PRACTICE SPEEDS
The Cup Series had a short practice session and then they lined up the cars for qualifying. Some of the teams were able to make some long runs in practice, so that gives us some data to work with for the race Sunday Here are the practice speeds for the Enjoy Illinois 300 at WWT Raceway…
CUP SERIES STATS AT WWT RACEWAY
The data from the race at WWT Raceway last year is the only stats we have to work with this week. WWT Raceway is a 1.25-mile flat track, but the Cup Series will use the intermediate track aero package. I still think we need to use the data from the races at Phoenix and Richmond to help handicap the race Sunday. I combined the stats from those races with the stats from the race at WWT Raceway last year to get an idea of what we can expect Sunday.
Here are the average DFS Points from the races at Phoenix and Richmond this year and the race at WWT Raceway in 2022….
The race Sunday is scheduled for 240 laps (300 miles). That means there are 60 points available for leading laps and 108 points available for fastest laps (168 total dominator points).
The race at WWT Raceway last year had Kyle Busch lead 66 laps and scored 44 fastest laps (36.3 dominator points). Martin Truex Jr. led 42 laps and scored 40 fastest laps (28.5 dominator points). Michael McDowell led 34 laps and scored 20 fastest laps (17.5 dominator points). Chase Briscoe led 27 laps and scored 16 fastest laps (13.95 Dominator Points). Michael McDowell led 34 laps and scored 20 fastest laps (17.5 dominator points). Austin Cindric led 26 laps and scored 16 fastest laps (13.7 Dominator Points). Joey Logano led 22 laps and scored 12 fastest laps (10.9 Dominator Points). Talk about spreading the wealth of dominator points…
My strategy this week will be to try and fit as many drivers who can finish in the top-10 as possible into my lineups. If the race plays out like it did last year, I will run into a lot of dominator points by simply having top-10 drivers in my lineup.
The drivers with the best chance to dominate the race Sunday includes Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick
The drivers with the best chance to score place differential points are Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, Alex Bowman, Aric Almirola, Chase Briscoe, Michael McDowell, Corey LaJoie, Erik Jones, Chris Buescher, Ryan Preece and Todd Gilliland
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.
FANDUEL MODEL (Prediction Based on Stats)
CORE DRIVERS FOR WWT RACEWAY
TOP-TIER DRIVERS: KYLE LARSON (DK $11.3K / FD $14K), WILLIAM BYRON (DK $11K / FD $13.5K), CHRISTOPHER BELL (DK $10.7K / FD $11.5K), DENNY HAMLIN (DK $10.5K / FDK $12.5K), MARTIN TRUEX JR. (DK $10.3K / FD $13K), RYAN BLANEY (DK $10.1K / FD $11K), KYLE BUSCH (DK $9.8K / FD $12K), ROSS CHASTAIN (DK $9.6K / FD $10.5K), JOEY LOGANO (DK $9.4K / FD $10K), TYLER REDDICK (DK $9.2K / FD $9.5K)
VALUE-TIER DRIVERS: KEVIN HARVICK (DK $8.9K / FD $9K), ALEX BOWMAN (DK $8.6K / FD $8.5K), TY GIBBS (DK $7.8K / FD $6K), CHASE BRISCOE (DK $7.7K / FD $6.5K), CHRIS BUESCHER (DK $7.5K / FD $7.5K), COREY LAJOIE (DK $7.4K / FD $7.8K), ARIC ALMIROLA (DK $7.2K / FD $7K), RYAN PREECE (DK $6.8K / FD $4.8K), ERIK JONES (DK $6.3K / FD $6.2K)
PUNT PLAYS: MICHAEL MCDOWELL (DK $5.7K / FD $5.8K), TODD GILLILAND (DK $5.6K / FD $3K)
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
KYLE LARSON ($11,300): Larson was only “OK” in this race last year when he started 15th and finished 12th. He was too loose in practice and qualifying, so now Larson starts 22nd Sunday. You can never count out the No. 5 car. The team will work on the car and if they hit on something, Larson could be one of the highest scoring drivers in DFS contests.
KYLE BUSCH ($9,800): Busch led the most laps at WWT Raceway last year from the 12th starting position. So, what will he do from the pole, with the No. 1 pit stall Sunday. I think there is a good chance he could lead nearly 100 laps Sunday and be the highest scoring driver in DraftKings Contests.
JOEY LOGANO ($9,400): Logano won this race last year. It looks like the No. 22 team kept good notes because Logano went out and posted the fastest speed in practice. Logano said, “We need a little help with the balance in the car, but we are close. If we can make the right adjustment, we will have a great chance to win.” Logano will be the second dominator in my Cash Contest Lineup.
ARIC ALMIROLA ($7,200): Almirola is always good on the flat tracks. The No. 10 team unloaded with a lot of speed. Almirola posted the fastest speed in Group B in practice. He got loose in qualifying, so now Almirola will start 24th. He finished fifth in this race last year. Almirola will be one of the best value picks if he can finish in the top-five again Sunday.
ERIK JONES ($6,300): Jones was one of the best picks in DFS contests at WWT Raceway last year and he looks like he may do it again Sunday. Jones posted the 15th fastest speed in practice last year, qualified 21st and finished seventh. That was good enough for 52.9 DK Points. Jones posted the 13th fastest speed in practice and qualified 31st for the race Sunday. He will score over 50 DK Points again if he can finish in the top-10 Sunday.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL ($5,700): McDowell is underpriced this week. He led the third-most laps at WWT Raceway last year (34). McDowell has a fast car again this week. He posted the fourth-fastest speed in practice, with the second-fastest long-run speed. McDowell should score well from the 21st starting position Sunday.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT SINGLE-ENTRY CONTEST
DENNY HAMLIN ($10,500): The feud between Denny Hamlin and Ross Chastain started in this race last year. Hamlin was running sixth when he was dumped by Chastain. Hamlin had a fast car last year and he looks fast again this weekend. Hamlin posted the sixth-fastest speed in practice, with the fastest long-run speed. Hamlin will have a good chance to score some dominator points from the third starting position.
MARTIN TRUEX JR. ($10,300): I always play Truex when he looks good in practice and he qualifies up front. I also play him on flat tracks. Truex checks all of the boxes this week. He posted the second-fastest speed in Group B in practice and then Truex qualified fifth for the race. He led the second-most laps at WWT Raceway last year. I would not be surprised if he had a similar race Sunday.
KYLE BUSCH ($9,800): Busch is going to be popular this week, so I like him more for Cash and Single-Entry Tournament Contests. Track position is very important with the Gen-7 car. The No. 1 pit stall is also important at WWT Raceway. Busch has both Sunday.
ARIC ALMIROLA ($7,200): Almirola is another driver who will be popular, so I like him more for Cash and Single-Entry Tournament Contests. The No. 10 car has a lot of speed and this track fits Almirola’s driving style perfectly.
ERIK JONES ($6,300): Jones is one of my favorite plays from the back of the field Sunday. Legacy Motor Club had a terrible race last week. I expect a bounce-back race for the No. 43 car in St. Louis.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL ($5,700): McDowell is my No. 1 value pick Sunday. He looked really good in this race last year and the No. 34 car did not slow down this weekend. I will “eat the chalk” and play McDowell Sunday.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT MULTI-ENTRY CONTEST
RYAN BLANEY ($10,100): Blaney has momentum after his win last week. He should also have confidence after his race at WWT Raceway last year. Blaney had the second-best Driver Rating, the second-best Average Running Position and finished fourth in this race last year. Now he starts second. I know he lost his pit selection, but his car is fast enough to stay up front and be one of the dominators Sunday.
ROSS CHASTAIN ($9,600): Chastain was fast in this race last year, but he spent time fighting with Denny Hamlin and Chase Elliott on the track. If he can just calm down, his car is fast enough to win Sunday. I know some people refuse to play Chastain. I will play him and hope he can get to the front and lead some laps this week.
JOEY LOAGNO ($9,400): Logano sure looked good in practice. He should have some confidence this week, since he still has the trophy from the race at WWT Raceway last year. I will pair Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain and Logano in my lineup to give me three possible dominators in the Multi-Entry Tournament Contest lineup.
ALEX BOWMAN ($8,600): Bowman will likely get overlooked this week. That could be a mistake. He finished the flat track races at Phoenix and Richmond in the top-10 this year. He also posted the fifth-best long-run speed in practice. Bowman should score well from the 18th starting position.
AUSTIN CINDRIC ($6,600): Cindric will not have much ownership this week. The No. 2 car has sucked this year, but the team was not very good last year as well. Cindric was good at WWT Raceway though. Cindric started second and finished 11th last year. This is a risky pick, but Cindric will score well if he can just finish 11th again Sunday. His teammates are fast (Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano). I am sure his crew chief is getting notes from those teams for Cindric’s car.
MICHAEL MCDOWELL ($5,700): I thought about fading McDowell and pivoting to his teammate, Todd Gilliland. I expect Gilliland to be a good pick, but I want six drivers who have the speed to finish in the top-12. McDowell checks that box and Gilliland does not. This lineup is contrarian enough to allow me to “eat the chalk” with McDowell.
FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
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