It will be a bitter sweet race for Fantasy NASCAR players Sunday. We will get to see the four best drivers compete for the MENCS championship, but it will also be the last race in the 2019 Fantasy NASCAR season. Who will take home the trophy Sunday? Everyone has their pick but I want to provide some information so you know which one of these four drivers is the best for your fantasy team at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
– This is a race between the final four and the other 35 drivers do not matter much. The four championship drivers dominated the last four races at this track and they should do the same Sunday. The final four finished No. 1 (Joey Logano), No. 2. (Martin Truex Jr.), No. 3 (Kevin Harvick) and No. 4 (Kyle Busch) last year. This is how close they were running with 14 laps left in the race in 2018.
– No driver has repeated as the champion under the current playoff format for the MENCS. Kevin Harvick won the championship in 2014, Kyle Busch won in 2015 and Martin Truex Jr. won in 2017. If the trend continues and no drivers are able to repeat… Denny Hamlin will be your 2019 MENCS Champion.
– The race Sunday will likely come down to who performs the best on pit-road. Homestead-Miami Speedway is a high tire wear track. That means teams will pit for four tires with every opportunity they get. The best playoff teams on pit road this season are 1. Kyle Busch (ranks 2nd overall), 2. Kevin Harvick (ranks 3rd overall), 3. Martin Truex Jr. (ranks 8th overall) and 4. Denny Hamlin (ranks 10th overall). *According to NBC Sports NASCAR Talk
– Since Homestead-Miami is a high tire wear track, we need to compare it to other intermediate tracks with high tire wear. These tracks include Atlanta, Auto Club, Chicago and Darlington). Here are the driver’s stats on these four tracks in 2019:
Championship Four Stats at High Tire Wear Tracks in 2019
|Driver||Avg. Run Pos.||Avg. Finish Pos.||Laps Led||
|1. Kevin Harvick||
|2. Kyle Busch||
|3. Martin Truex Jr.||
|4. Denny Hamlin||
Denny Hamlin: This is the 14th season for Hamlin in the MENCS series and his best chance to take home the trophy since 2010. Hamlin won six races in 2019, including the Daytona 500 and two races on the 1.5-mile tracks (Texas and Kansas). He also has momentum with his win last week at Phoenix and an 8.7 average finishing position in the playoffs. Hamlin will be using Chassis No. 300 Sunday. This is the car he took to Victory Lane at Texas. Starting position will be important Sunday and Hamlin has won the pole for the last two races at Homestead and three of the last four races at the track. Hamlin also leads the series in wins in Miami with two trips to Victory Lane (2013 and 2009). The experts in Las Vegas have Hamlin as a 3-1 favorite to win the MENCS Championship.
Martin Truex Jr.: Truex Jr. came 10 laps away from becoming a back-to-back MENCS Champion. He was passed by Joey Logano in the final laps last year and that prevents Truex from going for the three-peat Sunday. The switch from Furniture Row Racing to Joe Gibbs Racing did not slow down crew chief Cole Pearn and Truex. The No. 19 team won seven races this season (two of them were on 1.5-mile tracks. Las Vegas and Charlotte). Truex also led 1,268 laps in 2019. The No. 19 car clinched a spot in the championship race three weeks ago. The team sent most of their crew members’ home from Phoenix last week to work on their car. The word in the garage is that Truex will pilot the car he led 116 laps and took to Victory Lane at Charlotte. The extra time to prepare for this race has to help the No. 19 team. The experts in Las Vegas have Truex as the favorite to win at 11-4 odds.
Kyle Busch: Busch enters the race in unfamiliar territory. He has competed in five championship four races and this is the first time Rowdy is not the favorite to win. It is no secret that Busch dislikes the aero package used on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. It will likely take a win for Busch to secure his second MENCS Championship but the No. 18 car has not been to Victory Lane since the Pocono race in June (22 races ago). Busch is very good at managing his tires and his pit crew is one of the best in the business. NASCAR does not require the teams to release what chassis they will use in the race. No word yet as to which car Busch will be bringing to the track. I would not be surprised if it were the car Busch led 134 /200 laps and took to Victory Lane at Auto Club Speedway. You can never bet against Busch in a must win race. The experts in Las Vegas have Busch as a 3-1 favorite to win the MENCS Championship.
Kevin Harvick: Harvick is the only non-Joe Gibbs Racing driver in the field of four. JGR has won 18 of the 35 races this season so this puts Harvick into a slight underdog role. You can bet the No. 4 team will hype up being the David to JGR’s Goliath. Harvick has always performed well when his back was against the wall. When you look at the stats, Harvick should be the favorite to win. This is his fifth time competing for the championship at Homestead and he has been the class of the field at high tire wear tracks this season. Brad Keselowski told MRN Radio after the race at Phoenix, “It sucks we are not competing for the trophy next week but it is important that a Ford wins the championship. We already lost the manufacturers championship so we need to ensure Harvick wins the season championship.” It sounds like Harvick will get a lot of support from the Ford camp this week while the JGR Toyota’s are all doing their own thing. The No. 4 team has not announced what car they are bringing to the track but they did have an extra week to prepare since Harvick wrapped up his spot in the championship four with his win at Texas. The experts in Las Vegas have Harvick as a 3-1 favorite to win the Championship.
FantasyRacingTips.com Picks to Win the 2019 Championship
- Kevin Harvick
- Martin Truex Jr.
- Kyle Busch
- Denny Hamlin
– It is hard to ignore how well Kevin Harvick runs on tracks where a driver is forced to manage his tires. The No. 4 team is at their best in an underdog rule and 3 vs. 1 is not a fair fight, but my money is on Harvick regardless of the odds. He will have the full support of Team Ford and that has to mean something in this race. There has never been a repeat winner in this format but #4THECUP is my pick to be drinking the champagne Sunday.
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