The NASCAR Cup Series will join the Xfinity Series and Truck Series at Circuit of the Americas (COTA) this weekend. The schedule this week will be similar to what we had last week. The Trucks and Xfinity Series will compete in a double-header Saturday and then the Cup Series will race Sunday. There was no practice last week at Atlanta. That will not be the case at COTA. The Cup Series will have a 50-minute practice Friday and the Truck and Xfinity Series will also have practice this weekend. Here is the schedule for the races this weekend at COTA…
FANTASY PICKS SCHEDULE
* I will try to post the DFS Cup Series picks Saturday evening, but I have them scheduled for early Sunday morning. That is the latest the picks will be posted.
The Cup Series will race a new aero package this week at COTA. It will be the same aero package used at Phoenix two weeks ago. The cars will have 30% less downforce and they will be tougher to navigate the left and right turns at COTA. This is the reason why NASCAR is giving the teams 50-minutes to practice Friday. The new aero package should widen the gap between the good road course drivers and the poor drivers.
The team that uses the correct pit strategy typically wins the road course races. NASCAR is going to make it tougher on the crew chiefs this year because they will not know when the yellow flags will be waived Sunday. NASCAR will still award Stage Points, but the race will not be stopped at the end of the Stages. This is just one more wrinkle added to the race Sunday that will make it tougher to predict.
You can watch the extended highlights of last year’s race at COTA here: NASCAR Race Rewind
* The end of this race was nuts…LOL
FANTASY STATS FOR COTA
We do not need to over complicate things this week. Some drivers are good on the road courses and others struggle. I am focusing my picks on the drivers who have had success on the road courses in their careers, but the new area package will make the cars tougher to drive. The speeds from Friday’s practice will be important, but we do not have that data yet. We can look at the drivers who had success in the Gen-7 car last year for our picks this week. Here are the stats from the road courses sorted by Driver Ranking…
* Jordan Taylor will be driving the No. 9 car for Chase Elliott Sunday.
ROAD COURSE RINGERS
Have you been a fan of NASCAR for a long time? If so, you probably remember the days when the “Road Course Ringers” would show up and give the Cup Series drivers a lot of competition on the road course tracks. Over the years the Cup Series drivers have improved, and the “ringers” have had a tough time competing against the stars of the sport. There will be a lot of “ringers” in the race this week and some of them will be in good cars.
Jordan Taylor will fill in for Chase Elliott in the No. 9 car for Hendrick Motorsports. He will have a better car than the other ringers in the field and he just may have the best car overall in the field. Kimi Raikkonen “The Iceman” will drive the No. 91 car for Trackhouse Racing. This is another fast car, but Raikkonen finished 37th in his only start in the Cup Series (Watkins Glen last year). Jenson Button is a former Formula One World Champion. He will drive the No. 15 car for Rick Ware Racing. This car will be provided by Stewart-Haas Racing. Conor Daly will drive the No. 50 car for The Money Team. He has two Cup Series starts on his resume and his best finish is 29th.
Jimmie Johnson will also be in the field this week. The seven-time champion will drive the No. 84 car for Legacy Motor Club. I trust Johnson a lot more than the “Road Course Ringers” listed above.
EARLY WEEK PICKS FOR COTA
I will miss Chase Elliott this week. I had his name written in permanent marker in all of my lineups this week. Now, I have to find a replacement and use an allocation with a driver I was not planning to use.
ONE & DONE PICK: Jordan Taylor
DRIVER GROUP GAME PICKS: Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Daniel Suarez, Tyler Reddick, Michael McDowell, AJ Allmendinger and Ty Gibbs
FANTASY LIVE PICKS: Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick, AJ Allmendinger, (Garage) Michael McDowell
Good luck this weekend!
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