It is crunch time in our Driver Group Game leagues. This season has not been my best so I need a hot streak to finish off the year. I saved some allocations for the playoffs so hopefully that pays off. I will use the strategy of playing the drivers who have a lot to race for because the cream usually rises to the top in the playoffs. It should be fun to see how it all plays out. The South Point Casino 400 can be seen Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Pennzoil Oil 400 Recap (2020): Goodyear brought a soft tire to the track for the last race at Las Vegas. Drivers were able to race four-wide all around the track. A crash at the end of the race allowed Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Bubba Wallace Jr. and Ty Dillon to finished in the top 10 at Las Vegas last February. We could see more chaos at the end of the race Sunday night.
Race Rewind: Pennzoil 400 (2020)
Here are my picks for the South Point Casino 400 …
Driver Group Game A Picks
Joey Logano (Start): Las Vegas is a great track for Team Penske Racing. They have won 4 of the last 6 races in Sin City. Joey Logano did not have the best car at Las Vegas in February, but he was able to win the race. I expect the No. 22 team to have this tire figured out Sunday night. Logano has the highest Driver Rating (118) and the second-best Average Finishing Position (4.33) in the last 6 races at Las Vegas. The No. 22 car starts 5th so he will have the track position to score a lot of Stage points and finish up front.
Martin Truex Jr. (Bench): Martin Truex Jr. is probably a safer pick then Joey Logano but I want to use the driver that the other members of my league may not have in their lineups. I cannot pass them in the standings with the same drivers. Truex has been blistering hot over the summer. He has finished 8 of the last 11 races in the top 3. He has also won 2 of the last 6 races at Las Vegas. If you do not trust Logano, Truex is a good pick.
Kevin Harvick (Start if you can): It seems like Kevin Harvick is a lock to win Sunday night and everyone else is racing for second place. Harvick starts on the pole and he has the No. 1 pit stall and the second fastest pit crew (Kyle Busch has the fastest). I would love to use Harvick this week but I only have two allocations with the No. 4 car. I need to save one for Phoenix and I will decide between Kansas and Texas for the other allocation. If you have three or more allocations with Harvick, use the No. 4 car this week.
Group A Driver Rankings: 1) Kevin Harvick 2) Joey Logano 3) Martin Truex Jr. 4) Brad Keselowski 5) Chase Elliott 6) Kyle Busch 7) Denny Hamlin
Driver Group Game B Picks
Alex Bowman (Start): Alex Bowman is quietly heating up after he struggled during the months of June and July. Bowman has an average finishing position of 8.6 in his last 6 races. Not too bad. Bowman will be running the high-line Sunday night and saving his tires over the long run. That is what makes him so good at Las Vegas. I only have one allocation left with Bowman and I will use it at the track where he has a history of running well and he is still alive in the playoffs.
Austin Dillon (Start): Austin Dillon has been the biggest surprise in the playoffs. Can his hot streak continue in round two? I think so. Dillon finished 4th at Las Vegas in February and that was before Richard Childress Racing had all of this technology to tell them what pit strategy to use to win the race. If Goodyear brings back the same tire (the word in the Garage is that they will), then pit strategy will play a big part of the race Sunday night. Dillon stole the win at Texas (similar track to Las Vegas) and he could do the same this week.
Ryan Blaney (Bench): All of the stats say I should use my last allocation with Ryan Blaney this week. Las Vegas is the best track for Team Penske Racing and Blaney has the second-best Average Finishing Position on the 1.5-mile tracks this season (behind Kevin Harvick). I do not trust him right now. The No. 12 team is in a slump. I will save my last allocation for Texas or Martinsville if he has some momentum heading into those races.
Kurt Busch (Bench): This is a big race for Kurt Busch. Not only is he racing for a spot in the Elite Eight, he is also trying to accomplish one of his bucket list goals. Busch has said many times that he wants to win at his home track before he retires. He is running out of opportunities. I doubt he will win Sunday night but Busch should finish in the top 10. He would be a good pick if you do not trust Austin Dillon.
Group B Driver Rankings: 1) Alex Bowman 2) Austin Dillon 3) Ryan Blaney 4) Kurt Busch 5) Clint Bowyer 6) Aric Almirola 7) Erik Jones 8) Jimmie Johnson 9) William Byron 10) Matt DiBenedetto
Driver Group Game C Picks
Cole Custer (Start): Cole Custer did not look great at Las Vegas in February but this rookie has learned a lot since that race. He even went to Victory Lane at Kentucky and that track is similar in size and shape to Las Vegas. Custer also finished 7th at Kansas in July (the last race on a 1.5-mile track). The word in the garage is that Goodyear will use the same tire that was used at Kentucky and Kansas. That is good news for the No. 41 team. I will roll the dice with the Rookie of the Year Sunday night.
Tyler Reddick (Bench): I only have one allocation left with Tyler Reddick and there is a better track to use it at. Reddick should still be good at Las Vegas. He is a safer pick then Cole Custer this week so I would use Reddick over Custer if you have two or more allocations left with the No. 8 car. Reddick has a 7.25 average finishing position in his last 4 race on the 1.5-mile tracks.
Group C Driver Rankings: 1) Tyler Reddick 2) Cole Custer 3) Matt Kenseth 4) Christopher Bell 5) Michael McDowell
Driver Group Game Team
Good luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Pro
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