The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competes at New Hampshire Motor Speedway this week. This is the second race of the 2017 NASCAR Playoffs. The race can be seen Sunday at 2pm ET on NBC Sports Network.
My Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing picks scored 299 points at Richmond and are beating 98% of the entries (7,752 points). I still have 9 weeks to get into the top 99% for the sixth consecutive season. I plan to get it done.
Fantasy teams need to continue to use the drivers who are competing for the championship. Nine of the top 10 last week were drivers in the playoffs. NASCAR teams will continue to put all of their resources into the cars for the drivers still alive in the playoffs. I expect the top 10 Sunday to be playoff teams.
Here are my picks for New Hampshire…
Yahoo Group A Picks
The best pick every week is Martin Truex Jr. That will not change Sunday. He led the most laps in the July race at the Monster Mile and he could easily have three consecutive wins entering the race this week. The only thing that can stop the No. 78 team right now is NASCAR throwing a caution at the end of the race. I suggest adding Truex to your team simply for qualifying points if you do not have enough allocations to start him this week.
The popular topic at Chicago was the speed the Toyotas have. It is true they have the most speed but Kevin Harvick proved he is catching up to them. Harvick won this race last year and he should easily finish in the top five Sunday. Harvick is the only non-Toyota driver I would consider Sunday.
Joe Gibbs Racing has not been as strong as Martin Truex Jr., but the speed tends to even out at the Magic Mile. Matt Kenseth has been the most dominant driver at this track the last five races. Denny Hamlin won the July race and should be considered as an allocation saver this week. Kyle Busch led the 2nd-most laps in the July race and his team has been the closest to Truex this season. Any of these drivers would be good choices at the Magic Mile.
Denny Hamlin (8) will be the driver I will start in the race Sunday. I debated between Matt Kenseth and Hamlin and it came down to momentum. Both have great stats at New Hampshire but the No. 11 car has been more consistent then the No. 20 car so I will play it safe this week. Hamlin qualified 8th and led 54 laps on his way to Victory Lane in the 1st race at New Hampshire. It will also help that crew chief Mike Wheeler returns from his suspension Sunday.
Martin Truex Jr. (3) is on my team for qualifying points. I have enough faith in Hamlin that I do not think I will have to use him. If something does happen to Hamlin over the weekend, Truex is great backup driver to have. He should have won the July race at New Hampshire. He led the most laps (137) but got a flat tire with 82 laps to go. Truex was able to drive through the field and finish 3rd.
*If you are low on allocations with Truex I would recommend Matt Kenseth. This is his best track.
Here are my allocations left with the drivers in Group A: Kyle Busch (1), Martin Truex Jr. (3), Brad Keselowski (3), Kevin Harvick (6), Joey Logano (6), Denny Hamlin (8), Jimmie Johnson (9), Matt Kenseth (9), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (9)
Yahoo Group B Picks
Group B is becoming incredibly difficult. I used my last allocation with Ryan Blaney last week (I wish I would have saved it) and now I am getting low on some of the other popular drivers from this group. I plan to use the driver who are competing for the championship and have momentum on their side (except Bowyer).
If you are low on allocations and do not want to use the drivers I listed below, here are some other drivers I would recommend (In order that I like them): Jamie McMurray, Ryan Newman, Ryan Blaney and Kasey Kahne
Kyle Larson (2) will be the biggest threat to Martin Truex Jr. this week. Larson led all of the practices but failed to make it to qualifying in the first race at New Hampshire. The No. 42 car had the speed to win the pole. Larson quickly made his way through the field from his 39th starting position. He finished 2nd in the race. I am not using an allocation with Larson this week but he is the obvious choice to score 10 bonus points for winning the pole. I will take them.
Chase Elliott (3) showed up with a lot of speed at Chicago. I expected Hendrick Motorsports to have faster cars once the playoffs began but I expected the No. 48 car to be the fastest on the team. Elliott has not had a lot of success at New Hampshire but that does not bother me. Elliott finished 11th and 13th in his last two races at the track. He is a quick learner and HMS will give him a fast car. If Elliott has the same speed this week that he had in Chicago, I will not hesitate to use one of my last allocations with him.
Kurt Busch (2) has three wins at New Hampshire but the last trip to Victory Lane was in 2008. The No. 41 team is one of the hottest in the sport right now. Busch qualified 9th and finished 8th in the first race at New Hampshire. He should finish in the top 10 Sunday. Busch is one of the streakiest drivers in the sport. You need to use him while he is running well because Busch could cool off at any moment.
Clint Bowyer (4) used to be the driver to beat at New Hampshire. He had two wins at the track while driving for Richard Childress Racing. Bowyer looked pretty good in the July race at the track. He started 19th and finished 7th. He had the 6th-best average running position in the race. Bowyer also ran well two weeks ago at Richmond (The No. 14 car finished 6th). This is the only non-playoff driver I plan to use this week from Group B.
Here are the allocations I have left in Group B: Ryan Blaney (0), Jamie McMurray (1) , Kyle Larson (2), Kurt Busch (2), Chase Elliott (3), Clint Bowyer (4), Austin Dillon (6), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (6), Ryan Newman (6), AJ Allmendinger (7), Kasey Kahne (8) and all the rest 9.
Yahoo Group C Picks
The two rookies drivers for Toyota are the best picks in Group C this week (Erik Jones and Daniel Suarez). Last week I bit the bullet and used Ty Dillon even though Daniel Suarez was the better choice. I plan to do the same this week but I should have better results.
Ty Dillon (2) will be a good choice this week. He has only completed in one race in the MENCS at New Hampshire but he performed well. Dillon qualified 25th and finished 16th. He also had success at the Magic Mile in the Xfinity Series. I plan to start Dillon this week.
Daniel Suarez (2) will be the driver I will pair with Dillon because he has the best chance to score qualifying points. He has never started worse than 4th in the Xfinity Series at New Hampshire. Suarez finished 6th in his first MENCS race at New Hampshire. He could score another top 5 this week.
Here are the allocations I have left in Group C: Erik Jones (1), Daniel Suarez (2), Ty Dillon (2), Michael McDowell (5), David Ragan (8) and the rest with 9 allocations.
Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing Team
Group A: Martin Truex Jr. (3), Denny Hamlin (8)
Group B: Kyle Larson (2), Kurt Busch (2), Chase Elliott (3), Clint Bowyer (4)
Group C: Daniel Suarez (2), Ty Dillon (2)
I will post my final picks for Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing Saturday after final practice.
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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