The NASCAR Cup Series will travel back to the Midwest this week to compete for the first time at World Wide Technology Raceway (WWT Raceway). This is a 1.25-mile flat track that races like a combination of Phoenix Raceway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The Gen-7 car put on a good show at Phoenix and I expect the same this week. The Enjoy Illinois 300 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
WWT RACEWAY PRACTICE SPEEEDS
Practice has not meant a lot this season because the teams have only had 20 minutes to dial in their cars for the races. That was not the case this week. The Cup Series had a 50 minute practice session Friday and then qualified Saturday. The practice speeds will mean more this week because this is a very short race. There will not be many pit stops during Sunday’s race for the teams to work on their cars.
Here are the lap times from the practice Saturday at WWT Raceway…
AVERAGE DFS POINTS ON SHORT, FLAT TRACKS (2022)
There have been three races this season on short, flat tracks similar to WWT Raceway. The races at Phoenix Raceway and Richmond Raceway should give us an idea of which drivers will score well in DFS contests Sunday. I doubt the speeds from the race at Martinsville will translate into speed at WWT Raceway because Martinsville has much tighter corners.
Here is the drivers average DFS Points on the short, flat tracks this season (Phoenix and Richmond)…
DFS STRATEGY FOR WWT RACEWAY
The Enjoy Illinois 300 is schedule for 240 laps (300 miles). That means there are 60 points available for leading laps and 108 points available for fastest laps. That is 168 dominator points available in DraftKings contests (24 dominator points available in FanDuel Contests).
There is no data to use to predict the dominator points since this is the first race at WWT Raceway. The most similar tracks to WWT Raceway have been Phoenix Raceway and Richmond Raceway. The dominators points were spread out in those two races and I expect the same Sunday. The main dominator led 32% of the laps (76 laps for this race). The second dominator led 30% of the laps (72 laps this week), a third dominator led 20% of the laps (48 laps this week) and a fourth dominator led 16% of the laps (38 laps this week).
This is one of the shortest races of the season so my strategy will be to select as many drivers as possible who can finish in the top-10. The dominator points should be spread out so some of the drivers in my lineup should score some dominator points this week. This is not a typical short track race where we need to stack dominators in our lineups.
Here are my top dominators for the race Sunday: Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin
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 ENJOY ILLINOIS 300
KYLE LARSON (DK $11.3K FD $14K): Larson is good at every track so why wouldn’t he be fast at WWT Raceway. He doesn’t have any experience at this track but no driver in the Cup Series can adapt to a new track as well as Larson. The No. 5 car posted the eighth-fastest speed in practice and Larson qualified 15th for the race. Larson looks too fast to fade this week.
KYLE BUSCH (DK $10.9K FD $13.5K): Busch has competed in three races in the Xfinity Series at WWT Raceway. He won one of the races and finished the other two in the top-10. Busch also has a lot of notes to work with since his Kyle Busch Motorsports Trucks compete at the track every year. Busch wants to win at every track in the Cup Series before he retires. Rowdy will be extra motivated to check WWT Raceway off the list Sunday.
DENNY HAMLIN (DK $10.6K FD $12.5K): Remember earlier in the season when everyone was thinking, “What the hell happened to Hamlin this year? He sucks!” Well, those days are behind us. Hamlin just won at Charlotte and he finished fourth at Kansas. He has always been one of the best drivers on the short, flat tracks. Hamlin posted the seventh-fastest long-run speed in practice and qualified sixth for the race. Hamlin should have a good chance to be one of the dominators Sunday.
CHASE ELLIOTT (DK $10.2K FD $12K): Elliott was the most consistent driver in the Cup Series through the first 12 races of the season but he seems to have had some bad luck lately. He finished 29th at Kansas and 33rd at Charlotte but his car led laps and had a lot of speed in both races. I expect a bounce-back race from Elliott Sunday. The No. 9 car only posted the 14th– fastest speed in practice but Elliott looked fast right off the truck. He fell down the speed chart when the other driver used their qualifying setup in practice. The No. 9 car qualified 16th for the race. Elliott should be safe pick for a top-10 finish Sunday.
ROSS CHASTAIN (DK $10K FD $11.5K): Chastain has two starts at WWT Raceway in the Truck Series. That includes a trip to Victory Lane in 2019. Chastain finished second at Phoenix this year and he has another fast car this week. Chastain posted the fifth-fastest speed on the long-runs in practice and qualified 10th for the race. Chastain is running too well this year to fade in DFS contests.
WILLIAM BYRON (DK $9.8K FD $11K): Byron only has one race at WWT Raceway on his resume. He qualified 3rd, led 17 laps and a late pit-road penalty caused Byron to finish 17th in 2016 in the Truck Series race. Byron led 122 laps and finished third at Richmond and he led 212 laps and won the race at Martinsville this year. Byron is almost a lock for Cash Contests from the 24th starting position.
RYAN BLANEY (DK $9.6K FD $10.5K): Which driver has averaged the most DFS Points on the short, flat tracks this season. It is Blaney. He has also had some success at WWT Raceway. Blaney raced a Truck at this track in 2014 and he finished seventh. Blaney posted the second-fastest speed in practice with the second-fastest long-run speed. The No. 12 car qualified fifth for the race. Blaney should be one of the better picks for your DFS lineups this week.
TYLER REDDICK (DK $9.4K FD $8.8K): The most similar track to WWT Raceway is Phoenix. Chase Briscoe, Ross Chastain and Tyler Reddick had an exciting race for the checkered-flag in the desert and all three cars look fast this week. Reddick posted the sixth-fastest speed in practice and the No. 8 car qualified fourth for the race. I will use another allocation with Reddick Sunday.
CHRISTOPHER BELL (DK $9.2K FD $9.5K): Bell has finished his last five (non-Superspeedway) races in the top-10. He also has had some success at WWT Raceway. Bell won the Truck Series race at WWT Raceway in 2016 and he finished sixth in 2017. I will play Bell as a pivot from the Team Penske cars and hope the hot streak continues at a track he knows well.
JOEY LOGANO (DK $8.9K FD $10K): Logano’s new nickname should be, “Mr. Inaugural Race.” Logano won the first race at the Bristol Dirt Track and he won the first race at the L.A. Collisium. Now we get to see what he can do at the first race at WWT Raceway. Logano completely dominated practice. The No. 22 car posttest the fastest speed and was the fastest on all of the long-run speed charts. Logano has a good chance to be one of the dominators and finish in the top-five Sunday.
ALEX BOWMAN (DK $8.7K FD $9K): Bowman is one of the safest picks in the field this week. He probably will not win the race but he should spend a lot of time in the top-10 scoring Stage Points and finish in the top-10 Sunday. Bowman has finished nine of his last 10 races in the top-12. Bowman should be a safe play for Cash and Tournament Contests this week for the 25th starting position.
KEVIN HARVICK (DK $8.5K FD $8K): Harvick looks like the best pick in the field on paper. The most similar track to WWT Raceway is Phoenix Raceway. We all know Harvick is the King of Phoenix. He is also the only driver in the field with multiple wins at WWT Raceway. All of this happened a long time ago, but Harvick had some speed in practice. I will take a chance with the No. 4 car Sunday.
KURT BUSCH (DK $8.2K FD $7.5K): Busch was not on my radar because he does not have a lot of track history at WWT Raceway. He has been heating up over the last month and his hot streak should continue Sunday. Busch posted the fourth-fastest speed in practice with the sixth-fastest long run speed. Busch qualified 11th. We want drivers who have a good chance to finish in the top-12 Sunday. Busch is one of those drivers.
CHASE BRISCOE (DK $7.8K FD $8.5K): When I talked to my friends who work in the NASCAR garage they told me that the most similar track to WWT Raceway is Phoenix. That means Briscoe should be a good play this week. The No. 14 car won the race at Phoenix and he has had success at WWT Raceway too. Briscoe won the pole, led 88 laps and finished second in the Truck Series race at WWT Raceway in 2017. I like Briscoe to lead some laps from the pole position Sunday.
ERIC JONES (DK $7.3K FD $6.8K): Jones has been exceeding expectations this year and the No. 43 car looks fast again this week. Jones posted the fifth-fastest speed in practice and he qualified 21st for the race. Jones should be a good value pick for your lineups Sunday.
ARIC ALMIROLA (DK $7K FD $7K): Every sport has their “unwritten rules.” It is no different for DFS NASCAR. The rule this week is, “play Aric Almirola at every short, flat track.” He won at New Hampshire last year and he finished 12th at Phoenix earlier this season. Almirola likely will not finish in the top-five, but he should be a good value pick for your DF lineups.
AUSTIN CINDRIC (DK $6.8K FD $6.5K): Team Penske looks really fast this week. Cindric posted the third-fastest speed in practice with the third-fast long-run speed. Cindric qualified second for the race. Cindric has a history of qualifying up front and then fading during the race. This race is short enough that Cindric should be able to finish in the top-12 Sunday.
PUNT PLAYS: Justin Haley (DK $6K FD $3.5K), Ty Dillon (DK $5.5K FD $4K), Harrison Burton (DK $5.3K FD $4.5K), Todd Gilliland (DK $4.9K FD $3K)
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
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