The Fantasy Live picks continue to score well. The lineup at Charlotte was nearly perfect if you had Alex Bowman in the Garage. The picks are now beating 98.5% of the competition and I feel very confident that they can end the season by outscoring 99% of the entries for the 10th consecutive season. First, we must ensure we have some good picks for the Toyota Save Mart 350 at Sonoma.
Here are my picks for Toyota Save Mart 350…
* The last two weeks I went all in on the Hendrick Motorsports driver with my bonus picks. I used Chase Elliott as my race winner, Hendrick Motorsports as my winning team and Chevy as my winning manufacturer at COTA. I had the same picks but changed the winning driver to Kyle Larson last week at Charlotte. It worked both times. I am not so confident in Chase Elliott winning the race Sunday so I will hedge my picks. I will pick Elliott as the winning driver, Chevy as my winning manufacturer and Joe Gibbs Racing as my winning team. This will give me bonus points if Chase Elliott, Martin Truex Jr, Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin or Christopher Bell finds Victory Lane Sunday.
** I mapped out my allocations with each driver for each race. I do this each year to ensure I am using each driver at their best tracks. I will tweak it during the season if a driver gets on a hot-streak, but it gives me an idea of what allocations I have left with each driver.
Chase Elliott (5): Chase Elliott does not have very good stats at Sonoma. He has competed in 4 races at Sonoma and he finished 37th, 4th, 8th and 21st. He has only led 3 laps in his career at Sonoma. Not great, but I am not worried about it. Elliott worked with Jeff Gordon and Max Pappas after the last race at Sonoma to improve his road course skills. It worked. Elliott finished 1st, 1st, 1st, 21st and 1st in the road course races since the series last competed at Sonoma. Elliott will start from the front row, so he should score a lot of Stage points and have a good chance to win his 7th road course race.
Martin Truex Jr. (4): The starting lineup is based off of NASCAR’s formula so Martin Truex Jr. will start deep in the field Sunday. The No. 19 should make quick work of the competition and be inside the top-10 before the end of Stage 1. Truex has been the best driver at this track. He won the last two races at Sonoma and his 121 laps led since 2017 are almost 4 times more than any driver in the field. You have to have Truex on your team this week.
Kyle Busch (5): Kyle Busch has been almost as good as Martin Truex Jr. at Sonoma. Rowdy has finished 2nd, 5th, 5th, 7th and 1st in his last 5 trips to wine country. If any driver is going to challenge Chase Elliott up front this week, it will be Busch. This is a good race to use another allocation with the No. 18 car.
Kevin Harvick (6): Sonoma is typically a great track for Joe Gibbs Racing and I wanted to use Denny Hamlin with Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch, but I need to save the No. 11 car for Pocono. I will replace Hamlin with Kevin Harvick. The No. 4 car is no stranger to Victory Lane at Sonoma. Harvick won this race in 2017, finished 2nd in 2018 and 6th in the last race at the track. The No. 4 car will start 8th Sunday, so Harvick will have the track position he needs to score a lot of Stage points and finish in the top-five this week.
Alex Bowman (6): Alex Bowman is not the first name that comes to mind when people think of road course drivers, but he has been consistent. Bowman has finished 8th, 10th, 8th, 12th and 2nd in his last five road course races (8th place average finishing position). He has competed in two races at Sonoma in a Hendrick Motorsports car. Bowman finished 9th and 14th in those two races. He has a lot more road course experience now. Hendrick Motorsports is running too well right now to fade, so I will use the No. 48 car Sunday.
Garage Driver Joey Logano (3): I am going to roll the dice with Joey Logano this week in the Garage. Logano said that he knew his weakness was road course racing so he worked hard in the simulator in the off-season to improve his skills. It worked. Logano finished 2nd, 2nd and 3rd in his last 3 road course races. No driver has a better average finishing position on the road courses this year. Logano finished 3rd and 5th at Sonoma in 2016 and 2015. He should be good enough for a top-10 finish Sunday.
Good luck and be sure to follow me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR. I 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.
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