The NASCAR Cup Series will stay in the Pacific Time Zone this week when they compete at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The Gen-7 produced some exciting races last year and that includes two in Sin City. The race last week at Auto Club Speedway was also one of the best races for the Gen-7 car. I expect the same type of racing this week at Las Vegas. The Pennzoil 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 pm ET on FOX.
Before I get into the picks, I want to say thank you for coming back to the site to check out the picks this week. I will admit that the DFS picks have not set the track on fire “yet”. Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon were the picks at Daytona, and they would have scored very well if the race was truly the “Daytona 500”, but the “Daytona 508” caused the picks to crash and burn. Kyle Larson’s electrical issues early in the race last week sank the DFS picks at Auto Club. I know you do not like to hear excuses when you have your hard-earned money on the line, but I will guarantee you one thing… I will work as hard as I can to win you your money back! Now, unto the picks….
LAS VEGAS PRACTICE SPEEDS
The race Sunday is scheduled for 267 laps (400 miles). That means there are 66.75 points available for leading laps and 120.15 points available for fastest laps (186.9 total dominator points). The trend in this race is to have two main dominators and three sub-dominators in the race. The top dominator leads roughly 80 laps and scores 28 fastest laps (32.6 dominator points). The second main dominate leads roughly 50 laps and scores 26 fastest laps (24.2 dominator points). The three sub-dominators lead between 32 and 28 laps and score between 34 and 21 fastest laps (23 – 16 dominator points). Track position is very important at Las Vegas. The drivers who start up front typically score most of these dominator points. We need to pay up for the two drivers we think will be the main dominators and get at least one or two of the sub-dominators into our lineups.
The drivers with the best chance to dominate the race today are Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Ross Chastain and William Byron
The drivers with the best chance to score place differential points are Tyler Reddick, Martin Truex Jr., Daniel Suarez, Austin Dillon, Aric Almirola, AJ Allmendinger, Erik Jones, Harrison Burton, Ryan Preece and Justin Haley
CHASE ELLIOTT OUT JOSH BERRY IN
Chase Elliott was involved in a snowboarding accident Friday. He had surgery and he will be out multiple races. Josh Berry will drive the No. 9 car this week. Berry competed in two Cup Series races in 2021 and he finished 30th (Dover) and 26th (Michigan). The No. 9 team told Berry, “Do not worry about where you finish. Just log all of the laps, get some experience and bring it home in one piece.” Berry is worth a chance in some Tournament Contest lineups, but I expect him to finish between 26th – 30th. Not very good.
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 LAS VEAGS
TOP-TIER DRIVERS: KYLE BUSCH ($10.9K / FD $14K), KYLE LARSON ($10.7K FD $13.5K), JOEY LOGANO ($10.5K FD $12.5K), ROSS CHASTAIN ($10.3 FDK $13K), DENNY HAMLIN ($9.9K FD $12K), RYAN BLANEY ($9.7K / FD $11K), MARTIN TRUEX JR. ($9.5K FD $10.5K), WILLIAM BYRON ($9.1K FD $9.5K)
VALUE-TIER DRIVERS: TYLER REDDICK ($8.8K / FD $9K), KEVIN HARVICK ($8.6K FD $8.5K), ALEX BOWMAN ($8.5 FDK $8.2K), BUBBA WALLACE ($8.3K FD $8K), AUSTIN DILLON ($8.1K / FD $7.4K), ERIK JONES ($7.9K FD $6.8K), BRAD KESELOWSKI ($7.7K FD $6.5K), DANIEL SUAREZ ($7.6K / FD $7.5K), RYAN PREECE ($7.2K FD $5.2K), CHRIS BUESCHER ($6.9K FD $6.2K), ARIC ALMIROLA ($6.4K FD $5.5K), AJ ALLMENDINGER ($6.1K FD $4.5K)
PUNT PLAYS: JUSTIN HALEY ($5.9 FDK $4.2K), HARRISON BURTON ($5.6 FDK $3K)
DRAFTKINGS CASH CONTEST LINEUP
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST STRATEGY
The days of using data to accurately take down a Tournament Contest is DFS NASCAR are over. The Gen-7 car has made the 1.5-mile tracks almost as unpredictable as the Superspeedways. You need a lot of luck to have the pit stops and wrecks go your way, and you need your driver to get momentum in the pack to get to the front at the end of the race. Playing the “ownership game” seems to be the best strategy so I will be taking a chance with a lot of drivers who are lower owned. This lineup could easily be crap, or it could take down your Tournament Contest if the race plays out right. My advice is to diversify your bankroll and play many lineups using the core drivers listed above. Here are three lineups I will be playing….
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST 1
This lineup is best for Single-Entry Tournament Contest. I am using the data from the model listed above and simply playing the best drivers according to the starts. I used the data from the two races at Las Vegas last year, the data from the race last week at Auto Club and the data from practice today to figure out who the best drivers “should” be. I have won Tournament Contests using this strategy before. I will need the race to be calm for this lineup to win.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST 2
Ross Chastain should be one of the top dominators. He has the fastest pit crew, and he led the most laps on 1.5-mile tracks last year. William Byron and Ryan Blaney had the two fastest cars in practice. I will play them to try and get three dominators into the lineup. The best driver at Las Vegas is Brad Keselowski. He is not the same driver he was at Team Penske, but maybe he can find that magic that made him so good at this track for so long. Daniel Suarez has the second fastest pit crew. He was not good in practice, but I am sure they will put Chastain’s setup in his car. Harrison Burton starts 35th. He finished 16th in this race last year and he will be in the winning lineup if Burton can do it again.
DRAFTKINGS TOURNAMENT CONTEST 3
The Toyota’s looked like crap last year in practice at Las Vegas. When the green flag was waived, they all went to the front. They would have swept the top-three positions if the caution did not come out at the end of the race. I expect the same this week. I will play Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr. and Bubba Wallace from Toyota. I will pair them with William Byron. The No. 24 car was fastest on the long-runs, and he should be a good pivot from Joey Logano. AJ Allmendinger competed in two races on 1.5-mile tracks last year and he finished in the top-10 in both (He finished 9th at Las Vegas). Chris Buescher posted the fourth-fastest speed in practice with the eight-fastest long-run speed. I doubt he will be highly owned.
FANDUEL CASH CONTEST LINEUP
FANDUEL TOURNAMENT CONTEST LINEUP
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