Driver Group Game Picks Nashville

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All three of NASCAR’s top series will race in Nashville this week. The Trucks will go first Friday night, followed by the Xfinity Series on Saturday and then the Cup Series Sunday afternoon. This 1.33-mile, concrete track typically puts on a good show. It should be fun to watch. I will do my best to get us the top lineups for all three races this weekend.

 

STRATEGY FOR NASHVILLE

The drivers have to have a fast car this weekend, that is not tough to figure out, but they also need to keep their momentum in the race. Nashville is a fast track and most of the drivers will be making laps with the throttle nearly wide open. If they get out of the throttle for a second, they will lose track position. This type of racing has created more lead changes at Nashville than we have seen at the other tracks under 1.5-miles in leangth. There were three drivers who led at least 50 laps at Nashville last year and four drivers who were able to lead at least 40 laps in 2022. I doubt there will be one driver who dominates the race Sunday so we should have a deeper pool of drivers to choose from. Nashville has been a good track for the Toyota’s, Hendrick Motorsports and Trackhouse Racing. It would be a good idea to stick to those teams this weekend.

 

DRIVER GROUP GAME PICKS FOR NASHVILLE

 

GROUP A DRIVERS

DENNY HAMLIN (6): Hamlin has been in a slump lately. He had engine problems and finished 38th at Sonoma, looked completely lost at Iowa and finished 24th and he had no idea how to race on the wet weather tires at New Hampshire and finished 24th. A trip to Nashville is just what the No. 11 team needs to get back to Victory Lane. Hamlin led 114 laps, scored 18 Stage Points and finished sixth at Nashville in 2022. He led 81 laps, scored 16 Stage Points and finished third last year. Hamlin should have a good chance to be the best driver in Group A Sunday.

KYLE LARSON (5): I should pair CHRISTOPHER BELL with DENNY HAMLIN, according to the stats. I do not want to go all in with the Joe Gibbs Racing drivers, so I will take a chance with a driver from Hendrick Motorsports. Larson has had speed at every track this year. The No. 5 car should be fast this weekend. Larson finished first, fourth and fifth in the three races at Nashville. He is the safest play in the field this week.

OTHER PICK: CHRISTOPHER BELL (6): Maybe I should play Bell over Denny Hamlin. I took the No. 11 car because Hamlin has been better at Nashville, but Bell has a lot more momentum right now. He’s won two of the last five races and has an average finishing position of fourth in those races. A trip to Nashville will not slow down the No. 20 team. Bell finished seventh, eighth and ninth in his three races in Music City. If the trend continues, he should finish sixth Sunday.

GROUP A RANKINGS: 1. DENNY HAMLIN, 2. KYLE LARSON, 3. CHRISTOPHER BELL, 4.CHASE ELLIOTT, 5. MARTIN TRUEX JR., 6. WILLIAM BYRON, 7. RYAN BLANEY, 8. KYLE BUSCH

 

GROUP B DRIVERS

ROSS CHASTAIN (5): The race at Nashville means a lot to the Trackhouse Racing drivers. They have a shop just outside of Charlotte, but they consider Nashville their home, since they have business offices there. Chastain has been the best driver at this track. He leads the Cup Series with a 117.9 Driver Rankings, has the best average finishing position (2.7) and he has led the third-most laps (103). Chastain won at Nashville last year. He may be smashing watermelons in Victory Lane again Sunday.

TY GIBBS (5): Gibbs hasn’t been very good lately. He finished 25th at Iowa and 16th last week in New Hampshire. The No. 54 team has been much better at the high-banked tracks then they have been at the flat tracks. Gibbs finished 10th at Dover and second at Darlington. I expect Gibbs to get back to where he was earlier this season and finish in the top-10 Sunday.

ALEX BOWMAN (7): I should be playing TYLER REDDICK in this position, but I only have three allocations left with the No. 45 car. I need to save them for Darlington, Watkins Glen and Kansas. Use Reddick over Bowman if you have four allocations left with the No. 45 car…. Bowman should be good too. He finished six of his last nine races in the top-10. That includes eighth place finishes at Dover and Darlington. I doubt Bowman has a chance to win Sunday, but he should be a safe pick for a top-10 finish.

JOEY LOGANO (4): I plan to play Logano for qualifying points only this weekend. The No. 22 car has been the best at starting up front at Nashville. Logano qualified third, second and fourth in the three races in Music City. His average finishing position is 12th and Logano only scored two Stage Points in those three races. I do not care what he does in the race. I want the bonus points for starting up front from Logano this weekend.

OTHER PICK: DANIEL SUAREZ (9): My gut says to play Suarez at the home track for Trackhouse Racing, but I just do not trust My Amigo. Suarez will likely have Tootsie’s as his sponsor and a lot of fans in the stands. He finished seventh, 15th and 12th in his three races at Nashville. Suarez is a good driver to take a chance with if you want to save an allocation with ALEX BOWMAN or JOEY LOGANO.

GROUP B RANKINGS: 1. ROSS CHASTAIN, 2. TYLER REDDICK, 3. TY GIBBS, 4. JOEY LOGANO, 5. ALEX BOWMAN, 6. DANIEL SUAREZ, 7. BRAD KESELOWSKI, 8. CHRIS BUESCHER, 9. BUBBA WALLACE, 10. JOSH BERRY

 

GROUP C DRIVERS

AJ ALLMENDINGER (8): Allmendinger will be behind the wheel of the No. 16 car for Kaulig Racing Sunday. He has had a lot of success in this car at Nashville. Allmendinger finished 10th at Nashville last year and 19th in 2022. I will roll the dice with Allmendinger this week to save an allocation with the Cup Series regulars.

COREY HEIM (9): Heim will drive the No. 50 car for 23X1 Racing this week. He may be in this car full-time next year if he runs well Sunday. Heim has a lot of talent. We saw Carson Hocevar move up from the Truck Series and had some top-20 finishes in his first Cup Series races. I think Heim is better than Hocevar. I would not be surprised if Heim finish in the top-15 Sunday.

OTHER PICK: TODD GILLILAND (9): Do you know who has been the driver in Group C over the last two months? Of course it is Gilliland. He has an average finishing position of 13.7 over his last seven races. That is better than Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, William Byron, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Blaney. Gilliland is a good pivot if you do not trust AJ Allmendinger or Corey Heim.

GROUP C RANKINGS: 1. COREY HEIM, 2. AJ ALLMENDINGER, 3. TODD GILLILAND, 4. CHASE BRISCOE, 5. NOAH GRAGSON

 

* Be sure to check back Sunday morning for my starting lineup.

 

 

TRUCK SERIES PICKS

 

XFINITY SERIES PICKS

 

Good Luck This Weekend!

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