The NASCAR Cup Series will return after their only break in the 2022 season. The racing will look a bit different in the second-half of the season. The Gen-7 car will still produce some exciting racing and the Goodyear tires will still produce many cautions, but your TV will not be the same. The coverage of the races switch from Fox to NBC this week, so make sure your TV is on the right channel. It should be another exciting race for the Cup Series. The Ally 400 can be seen Sunday at 5 p.m. ET on NBC.
The Cup Series has made it through 16 races and the Fantasy Live picks are outscoring 95% of the entries. That is not bad, but it sucks for me. My picks have outscored 99% of the entries every year since 2011 so I have some work to do in order to extend the hot streak. We have a lot of data to work with now so I think we can make a serious climb to the top of our league standings in these final races.
There are 10 races left in the Fantasy Live regular season. Three of the races are on road courses where we can use drivers like AJ Allmendinger and Austin Cindric to save allocations. Two races are on Superspeedways (Atlanta and Daytona) so we can save allocations in those races as well. We also have a race at Pocono. There are some drivers who are good at the “Tricky Triangle” so we can save some allocations at Pocono. That means we need to use our best drivers at Nashville, New Hampshire, Richmond, and Michigan. Do not be afraid to use your allocations with your top drivers this week. (If you have 3 or 4 starts left with a driver, you are in great shape)
Here are my picks for the Ally 400…
FANTASY LIVE LINEUP
KYLE LARSON (4): Larson will be without crew chief Cliff Daniels this week because of a penalty at Sonoma. I am not worried about the No. 5 team though. Daniels will still be able to setup the car before it arrives at the track. Larson completed dominated this race last year. He led 264 of the 300 laps and scored 19 of the possible 20 Stage Points. I have enough allocations left with Larson to make it through the season, so I will use one Sunday.
ROSS CHASTAIN (7): This is a home race for Trackhouse Racing since they have their headquarters in Nashville. The No. 1 team has been fast in every race and I have been told they spent a lot of time working on their cars so they can win in front of their employees. Chastain finished second at Nashville last year. He is much better in 2022.Chastain posted the seventh-fastest speed in practice with the third-fastest speed on the 15-lap speed chart. He starts seventh Sunday and should be a threat to win the race.
DENNY HAMLIN (6): Joe Gibbs Racing looking like trash at Sonoma but they did not let the trip out west slow them down. All six of their cars (including the 23XI Racing cars) posted top-11 speed in practice. Hamlin had top-10 speed and said he really liked his car. You know the No. 11 car will be fast. The only question is… Can Hamlin avoid mistakes? Hamlin starts on the pole and has the No. 1 pit stall. He should lead some laps, score a lot of Stage Points and have a good chance for a top-five finish Sunday.
JOEY LOGANO (3): Logano has been good on the tracks under 1.5-miles in length this year. WWT Raceway is similar in size and banking as Nashville and Goodyear will be bringing the same tire compound to the race this week. Logano won the race at WWT Raceway He looked awful in practice but they found some speed in qualifying. Logano starts second so he should score some Stage Points and finish in the top-10. (I am not worried about running out of allocations with Logano).
CHRISTOPHER BELL (5): Joe Gibbs Racing looked completely lost at Sonoma, but the No. 20 team was one of the hottest teams in the sport before that race. Bell finished his last seven races on the intermediate tracks in the top-10. That includes a sixth-place finish at Richmond and a ninth –place finish at WWT Raceway. Bell also finished ninth at Nashville last year. The No. 20 car should finish in the top-10 again this week.
GARAGE DRIVER: MARTIN TRUEX JR. (5): I was planning on using Kyle Busch in my lineup Sunday and then he hit the wall in qualifying. Busch will start last Sunday. I still think Rowdy will finish in the top-five, but I will play it safe and roster the No. 19 car. Truex looked like he was happy at the track Friday when he announced he will be back at Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023. That extra motivation should be what Truex needs to get him back to being Martin Truex Jr. I will start him in the Garage and hope he races like he did a year ago on the flat tracks.
Fantasy Live has a new Bonus Picks section this year. Instead of selecting the winning team or manufacturer, we will earn 10 bonus points for selecting the driver who finishes the best in a Head-to-Head matchup. Here are my picks for the matchups…
AUSTIN DILLON vs. TYLER REDDICK (My Pick: TYLER REDDICK)
ROSS CHASTAIN vs. DANIEL SUAREZ (My pick is ROSS CHASTAIN)
ARIC ALMIROLA vs. KEVIN HARVICK (My pick is ARIC ALMIROLA)
WILLIAM BYRON vs. KYLE LARSON (My pick is KYLE LARSON)
Good Luck this week!
*Stats from Fantasy Racing CheatSheet Pro
* Team Information from Jaysky.com
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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