The MENCS travels to Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week for the Brickyard 400. This is one of the crown jewel races in NASCAR and the last chance for drivers to secure a spot in the 2018 Playoffs. The race can be seen Sunday at 2 PM ET on NBC Sports Network.
The MENCS will have two practices Saturday. The first will be at 10:30 PM ET and the final practice will be at 1:30 PM ET, both on NBCSN. Qualifying will be Saturday evening at 6 PM ET on NBCSN. My picks will be posted early Sunday morning.
Kyle Busch won the pole and was looking for his 3rd consecutive trip to Victory Lane at the Brickyard last year. The No. 18 car took the early lead and easily won Stage 1 and Stage 2. Busch was fighting Martin Truex Jr. for the lead at the start of the final Stage and both cars wrecked when the 78 got loose and slammed into the door of the 18. Matt Kenseth took over the lead and stayed out-front for the next 21 laps. Kasey Kahne decided to gamble on fuel and it paid off. A caution came out as Kahne was making his final pit stop. He gained a lot of track position and was able to fight off Brad Keselowski for his 18th win of his career and his first trip to Victory Lane at the Brickyard.
Race Rewind at Bristol: Brickyard 400 (2017)
The 2.5-mile track in Indianapolis was never meant for stockcars. The flat corners make it very difficult for the teams to get their cars to rotate through the 4 identical corners. The good news is… teams who hit the setup correctly will be good all around the track. The bad news is.. If you miss the setup, you will have a very long day. There have been some surprise winners in this race but the cream usually rises to the top. It will be very hard to beat the “Big Three” (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.). The results from the race at Pocono usually translate into success at Indianapolis so be sure to check out who ran well in the races at the Tricky Triangle before making your final picks.
Here are my picks for Indianapolis…
DraftKings NASCAR Preview
The race this week is only 160 laps in length. That means there are only 40 points available for laps led and 80 points available for fastest laps. The trend at the Brickyard is to have 1 driver lead 100 laps and score 40 fastest laps, another driver lead 25 laps and score 20 fastest laps and the 3rd driver to lead 15 laps and score 10 fastest laps.
We only need to play 1 dominator this week. Our focus needs to be on place differential points and having as many drivers as possible finish in the top 10. If 4 of your 6 drivers can finish in the top 10, regardless of where they start, you should cash your lineups.
The drivers I expect to be the top dominators this week include: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano
The drivers who could be the top value picks (between $9k – $7K) for the race Sunday include: Chase Elliott, Kurt Busch, Erik Jones, Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon
The drivers I expect to be the best cheap drivers (below $7K) for the race Sunday include: William Byron, Paul Menard, Chris Buescher, AJ Allmendinger and Ty Dillon (lots of cheap value this week)
Top 15 DraftKings Drivers in Last 3 Races at Indianapolis
|Avg. Finish||Laps Led||DK Points|
1. Kyle Busch
2. Matt Kenseth
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Joey Logano
5. Brad Keselowski
6. Daniel Suarez
7. Chris Buescher
8. Kasey Kahne
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Ty Dillon
11. Ryan Newman
12. Kyle Larson
13. Martin Truex Jr.
14. Austin Dillon
15. AJ Allmendinger
I will post my final DraftKings picks Sunday morning.
Fantasy Live Preview
It has been another fantastic season for my Fantasy Live picks. My picks are currently ranked 46th out of nearly 400K entries. I plan to make a charge this week to see how high in the standings I can go. This will be my 4th consecutive season finishing in the top 99.9% in this game.
**Important**: NASCAR will be launching their playoff game after the rosters lock for the race this week. You will automatically be placed into the leagues you were in for the regular season. There are a lot of changes to the playoff game so make sure you plan on checking out my article next week. I have a strategy to win that game because I found a loop-hole in their rules.
*Pick for the Pole*: Our pick for the pole needs to be in before qualifying at 6 p.m. ET Saturday. My pick for the pole will be posted after the final practice Saturday (2:30 p.m. ET) on the front page of this website.
**Garage Driver: I have been doing my best to keep everyone informed by using my Twitter account @MrFantasyNASCAR. I will do it again this week so make sure you follow me and get all of the information about the cars as I scan the drivers throughout the race.
If you are not running low on allocations with the top drivers, you are not playing the game the right way. I am out of allocations with the following drivers: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and Denny Hamlin
Since each of us have different amount of allocations left with each driver, I will post my top 15 driver rankings for Fantasy Live in my article posted before the race. I will factor in Stage Points so these rankings may be a little different from my weekly rankings I normally post on the site. Just use the driver ranked higher in the rankings for your team.
Here are the drivers I have penciled in right now…
5 Starting Drivers
Martin Truex Jr. (1): I had Truex in my lineup last week but I took him out when he went a lap down. Now I still have 1 allocation left with the No. 78 car and I will use it Sunday. Truex had a good chance to win this race last year. He crashed when he tried to pass Kyle Busch for the lead. The No. 78 team always shows up for the big races. They need some momentum heading into the playoffs so I expect Cole Pearn to have a fast setup in the Furniture Row Racing Toyota this week.
Kyle Larson (1): If Larson runs half as well this week as he did at Darlington, we will be in great shape. Larson has run all 4 of his races at the Brickyard in the top 10. Last year he was running 4th when he was caught up in a crash. Chip Ganassi has a lot of wins at this track in the Indi Series and he really wants some in the MENCS as well. Larson already has a playoff spot wrapped up but I still expect this team to bring one of their best cars to the track this week.
Brad Keselowski (1): Keselowski will enter the race this week with a lot of confidence after winning at Darlington. It is no secret that Team Penske wants to get their first win at the Brickyard in the MENCS. This team has run very well at this track but has not been able to kiss the bricks. Keselowski finished 2nd in this race last year. The team said they found some speed during a test at Michigan. Joey Logano and Keselowski finished 1st and 2nd last week and they should finish in the top 5 again Sunday.
Erik Jones (2): Joe Gibbs Racing really performs well at the Brickyard. Jones has been the 2nd-best driver on the team this summer. He enters the race this week after a pair of top-5 finishes and an 8th-place finish last week. Jones ran upfront and led 10 laps in this race last year but was caught up in an accident. The No. 20 team really knows how to setup a car for the Brickyard. Matt Kenseth has a series-best driver ranking and the 2nd-best average finishing position in this car. I am sure the team will give Jones a car fast enough to compete with his teammate, Kyle Busch Sunday.
Chase Elliott (2): Elliott is running too well right now to ignore. No driver in the series has run as well as Elliott in the last 4 races. He has finished 1st, 9th, 3rd and 5th over the last month of the season. Hendrick Motorsports usually brings fast cars to the Brickyard and the No. 9 team is their ticket to Victory Lane Sunday. The No. 9 team is starting to heat up and I plan on playing Elliott Sunday.
My Garage pick will be Ryan Blaney (2). Team Penske knows how to setup cars for the Brickyard and Blaney is very good at large, fast tracks. He may be in my starting lineup when the race starts Sunday but right now the plan is to start the No. 12 car in the garage.
My Bonus Picks will be updated after I see the cars on the track this weekend. Here are my thoughts right now…
Pick for the Pole: Kyle Busch
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch
Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Winning Manufacturer: Toyota
Fantrax Bronze Point Salary Cap Game Preview
Having Brad Keselowski and Kyle Larson on the bench last week was a big mistake. I thought it would be more important to have the “Big Three” (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.) in my lineup so I faded the No. 2 and No. 42 cars. I will not make the same mistake if Team Penske and Chip Ganassi Racing show up with a lot of speed this week.
I will evaluate the drivers on this team during the practice sessions this week and try to get as much information as possible to help us win. Here is the lineup I have “penciled in” right now…
Martin Truex Jr.
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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