Fantasy Live Picks for Iowa

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The Cup Series will go racing at Iowa Speedway for the first time Sunday night. There have been a lot of people fighting to get Iowa added to the Cup Series schedule for a long time. Finally they will get their wish. Every ticket has been sold. The track is going to be electric. I just hope the tire issues from practice do not ruin the inaugural race in Iowa. The Iowa Corn 350 can be seen Sunday at 7 p.m. ET on USA Network.

The first two Stages at Sonoma were a disaster. The drivers had a hard time making a lap without crashing. I was just hoping that the Fantasy Live picks would survive the race. The 193 points that the lineup scored was one of the worst races of the season, but it was still better than most of the lineups in the Fantasy Live game. The picks are now ranked 101st overall out of 352K entries. I will do my best to get us back inside the top-100 this week.

 

CUP SERIES PRACTICE

The Cup Series had the same schedule for the race at Iowa that they had last week at Sonoma. Iowa is a new track so NASCAR gave the teams 50-minutes to dial in their cars during a practice session Friday. Most of the teams were able to make some long runs in practice, so we have plenty of data to work with this weekend.

Many of the teams had issues with their tires exploding after 20-laps. It will be very important for the crew chiefs to inflate the tires enough to generate speed, but do not run them so low that they explode. It is tough to tell which crew chiefs will gamble and which will play it safe, but the Toyota’s had the most issues in Friday’s practice.

Here are the practice speeds for the Iowa Corn 350…

 

 

 

FANTASY LIVE PICKS FOR IOWA

KYLE LARSON (4): Larson has been one of the best drivers on tracks similar to Iowa this year. He won the pole, led 144 laps and finished third at Richmond this year. The No. 5 team tested at Iowa Speedway last month, but Larson said in practice that the car felt totally different from what they had in the test. Cliff Daniels told Larson not to panic; they will be good once the track comes to them. Well, it looks like it came to the No. 5 team in qualifying. Larson starts on the pole and has the No. 1 pit stall. I want to use my allocations with Larson when he is in this position.

RYAN BLANEY (3): Team Penske has found some speed over the last month. Joey Logano smoked the field at North Wilksboro in the All-Star Race and Austin Cindric won at Gateway (Ryan Blaney or Christopher Bell should have won that race). Do not be fooled by Blaney’s speed in practice. The track kept getting faster and faster, but the No. 12 team parked their car with about eight minutes left because so many teams had issues with their tires. Blaney was one of the fastest drivers when he was on the track.

BRAD KESELOWSKI (8): Keselowski tested at Iowa Speedway two weeks ago. He has two wins and five finishes in the top-five at Iowa Speedway in the Xfinity Series. He knows this track well. Keselowski was not fast in practice, but that was his strategy. His crew chief came on the radio and told Keselowski that the other teams were having tire issues after 20-laps. Keselowski said, “I am going to back it down. I do not need you working on our car all night.” Keselowski has been too good over the last month to fade at a track he has had a lot of success at.

JOEY LOGANO (4): Whenever NASCAR races somewhere new, Logano wins the race. At least that is what it seems like. NASCAR will use the same tire that was used in the All-Star Race at North Wilksboro. Logano totally dominated at North Wilkboro by leading every lap but one. He also finished second at Richmond. The No. 22 car car did not look great in practice, but Logano starts 11th in the race. I expect the No. 22 car to be one of the best once the green flag is waived Sunday night.

WILLIAM BYRON (4): Byron started off the season on fire, but he has cooled off lately. Maybe a trip to Iowa Speedway is what the No. 24 team needs to get their season back on track. Byron finished seventh at Richmond in the spring. The No. 24 car looks fast again this weekend. Byron did not look great in practice, but he does start up front. I will play Byron just because track position is king and Byron has it.

 

(GARAGE PICK) DENNY HAMLIN (2): Hamlin has been a beast on the tracks under 1.5-miles in length this year. He won at Bristol, Richmond and Dover and Hamlin finished second at Gateway. He does not have much experience at Iowa, but he is smart enough to figure it out. Hamlin had a lot of long-run speed in practice. He said after practice that he was trying to maintain his tires so they did not explode like his teammates. Hamlin used tire management to win at Bristol. He may do the same at Iowa. I will have Hamlin in the Garage as an insurance policy Sunday night.

 

 

Good luck and be sure to follow me on X (Twitter) @MrFantasyNASCARI will send out a Tweet during the race to let you know if I plan to swap out one of my drivers for my Garage pick.