The NASCAR Cup Series will stay on in the Pacific Time Zone this week when they travel to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. We were able to see what the Gen-7 car could do on a Superspeedway (Daytona) and at a two-mile oval (Auto Club). Now we get to see how it will perform on a 1.5-mile tri-oval track. The Pennzoil 400 can be seen Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
Driver Group Game Strategy for Las Vegas
The jury is still out on the Gen-7 car. It looks like Team Penske and Hendrick Motorsports has been able to find consistent speed in the new car. But there are also a lot of drivers we did not expect running up front. Tyler Reddick has been the most consistent driver. He was fast in the test session at Charlotte, the Clash race at the Coliseum and the race last week at Auto Club Speedway. Austin Cindric, Erik Jones, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Chase Briscoe look like they have fond some speed in the new car.
My strategy this week is going to be to use a lot of drivers from Team Penske and from Hendrick Motorsports Sunday. I will also take a chance with some mid-tier drivers who have had speed this year. I would love to be able to squeeze out an allocation from a driver like Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and save the top drivers for the races later in the season when the teams have a better grasp on the new car.
Driver Group Game Team
GROUP A DRIVERS
Kyle Larson (9): Larson picked right up where he left off last year… He won 10 races last year and he already clinched his spot in the 2022 playoffs. Larson dominated the race at Las Vegas last year. He won Stage 2, led 103 laps and went to Victory Lane. There is no reason to believe he will not do the same Sunday.
Ryan Blaney (9): Las Vegas has always been known as the best track for Team Penske and their team seems to have the most speed early in the season. Blaney finished fifth in both races at Las Vegas last year. He has led at least one lap in five consecutive races in at this track and his +40 place differential in in his last three races at Las Vegas is the best in the Cup Series. Even if Blaney qualifies poorly, he should have no problem finding his way to the front.
GROUP A DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Kyle Larson 2) Ryan Blaney 3) Denny Hamlin 4) Chase Elliott 5) Kyle Busch 6) Martin Truex Jr. 7) Kevin Harvick
GROUP B DRIVERS
Joey Logano (9): So what driver has been the fastest so far in the Gen-7 car? Mr. Logano has had the fastest green-flag speed when you look at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, the Daytona 500 and the race last week at Auto Club. Those tracks are much different from Las Vegas, but it shows the No. 22 team is had consistent speed. Logano has also been the best driver in the field in the March race at Las Vegas. He won this race in 2020 and 2019. I would not be surprised if Logano won Sunday.
Tyler Reddick (9): How good has Reddick been in the Gen-7 car? He had the fastest speed in the first test session in the Gen-7 car at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the second-overall speed when you combine the two days of testing. He also led the most laps last week at Auto Club and the second-most laps at the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum. So what is the secret to Reddick’s success? He is the only driver who competed in every test session for the Gen-7 car. It looks like the extra seat time is paying off. I will have Reddick in the lineup this week and hope the hot-streak continues.
William Byron (9): There is a lot to like about Byron this week. NASCAR tested the Gen-7 car at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Byron blew away the field. He was nearly 2 MPH faster than any other driver. That speed should translate into speed at Las Vegas. Byron also looked fast at Auto Club last week until he slid into Tyler Reddick. Byron led 25 laps, scored 14 Stage Points and finished eighth in this race last year. He should finish in the top-10 again Sunday.
Brad Keselowski (8): I had a hard time with this last pick. I really wanted to take a chance with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. based on how he performed last week and the fact that he finished third at Las Vegas in 2020, but I will save him for my DFS lineups. Keselowski has been the best driver at Las Vegas and it is not even close. Keselowski finished 7th, 2nd, 13th, 7th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 6th, 5th, 1st, 7th, 1st and 3rd at Las Vegas over the last decade (4.4 average finishing position). I cannot fade that kind of production.
GROUP B DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Joey Logano 2) Tyler Reddick 3) William Byron 4) Brad Keselowski 5) Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 6) Austin Dillon 7) Chase Briscoe 8) Alex Bowman 9) Aric Almirola 10) Christopher Bell
GROUP C DRIVERS
Austin Cindric (8): The No. 2 car has only finished outside the top-10 once since 2012 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. So can Cindric have the same success in Sin City that Brad Keselowski had? I doubt he will be that good, but he has proven so far this year that he can hold his own with the top drivers in the Gen-7 car. His average finishing position in his last four races in the Xfinity Series at Las Vegas is fourth. Cindric should have a good chance to finish in the top-10 again Sunday.
Erik Jones (9): Did Joe Gibbs Racing give up on Jones too soon? I always thought Jones did not get a fair chance at JGR since he had to compete in races without practice and qualifying, but Petty GMS Racing has to like what they have in their young driver. Jones had the fastest average green flag speed last week. Jones finished two of his last three races at Las Vegas in the top-10. He will have a good chance to finish in the top-10 again Sunday.
GROUP C DRIVER RANKINGS: 1) Austin Cindric 2) Erik Jones 3) Daniel Suarez 4) Cole Custer 5) Daniel Hemric
* Be sure to check back Saturday evening for my starting lineup for the Driver Group Game.
Truck Series Starting Lineup
This is the updated starting lineup for the Driver Group Game contest.
Good Luck This Week!
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
If you like Fantasy NASCAR, LIKE my Fantasy NASCAR Tips Page on Facebook