The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be back to intermediate track racing and once again it will be under the lights. The race at Kentucky Speedway will be the seventh race for the Cup Series on a 1.5-mile track. The previous six races have been very entertaining. I expect the same in the Bluegrass State. The Quaker State 400 can be seen Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.
* NASCAR will inspect the cars Saturday afternoon (around 3 p.m. ET). Any car that fails once will go to the back and be scored from the back in Fantasy NASCAR. Be sure to check the website Saturday evening for my updated picks. I may have to change some drivers depending how the inspection goes.
One of the changes this season for the Driver Group Game is that your league commissioner has the ability to change to number of allocations for each driver and can place drivers into any group they choose. My picks will be based on the default settings (8 allocations per driver and the original group settings).
Here are my picks for Kentucky…
Driver Group Game A Picks
Martin Truex Jr. (6): What to do with Truex this week? He has absolutely dominated the last two races at Kentucky. He won every Stage, led 60% of the laps and went to Victory Lane in both races. The problem is that he hated his car in final practice. The No. 19 car was 20th fastest and he did not make any 10-lap runs. Crew Chief Cole Pearn told Truex on the radio not to worry about the car; it will be fast under the lights. Do we believe him? I have a hard believing Truex will suck this week. I picked Kevin Harvick to win but I am low on allocations with the No. 4 car so I will use Truex instead.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Martin Truex Jr. 3) Brad Keselowski 4) Kyle Busch 5) Joey Logano 6) Chase Elliott 7) Kyle Larson
Driver Group Game B Picks
Ryan Blaney (5): To be honest I am not excited about my Group B picks. I really wish I had the Stewart-Haas Racing Fords. They have a lot of speed. The good news is that Team Penske has some speed too. Blaney finished 2nd in this race last year and he was 4th fastest in final practice. I will roll the dice with Blaney in the Bluegrass State.
Jimmie Johnson (6): Johnson really liked his car in practice. The TV announcers and many of the spotters made comments about how well Johnson ran both the top and bottom of the track. Will the speed during the heat of the day translate into speed under the lights? I think so. Johnson has been good on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. He finished 5th at Texas, 6th at Kansas, 8th at Charlotte and 4th at Chicago. The No. 48 car should score another top 10 Saturday night.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Daniel Suarez 2) Kurt Busch 3) Aric Almirola 4) Ryan Blaney 5) Jimmie Johnson 6) Denny Hamlin 7) Clint Bowyer 8) Erik Jones 9) William Byron 10) Alex Bowman
Driver Group Game C Picks
Daniel Hemric (2): I was planning on using Chris Buescher in the race but when I monitored the No. 37 car on the radio in practice I heard a lot of complaining about how Buescher could barely hold onto his car. Hemric qualified 6th and that does not guarantee he will run up front, but it can’t hurt. I am low with allocations with both drivers but Buescher’s allocations are more valuable. I will save Buescher for another track and roll with Hemric Saturday night.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Daniel Hemric 2) Chris Buescher 3) David Ragan 4) Michael McDowell 5) Matt DiBenedetto
Driver Group Game Team
Group A: Martin Truex Jr. (6)
Group B: Ryan Blaney (5), Jimmie Johnson (6)
Group C: Daniel Hemric (2)
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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Good luck this week!
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