The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is already seven races into the season and allocations with the top drivers are starting to run out. The three drivers who have the most important allocations (Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott and Erik Jones) all failed to qualify their cars. As a result they will start in the back this week. I plan to fade these drivers Sunday.
Here are my picks for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500…
Brad Keselowski (8): The No. 2 car is my pick to win Sunday. This track is shaped and reconfigured like Kentucky. Keselowski dominated the race at Kentucky on the newly paved surface using this aero-package last year. He has been fast all weekend and had the best car on the 12-lap speed chart.
Group A Rankings: 1) Brad Keselowski, 2) Kevin Harvick, 3) Joey Logano, 4) Kyle Busch, 5) Jimmie Johnson, 6) Martin Truex Jr., 7) Matt Kenseth, 8) Denny Hamlin, 9) Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Clint Bowyer (9): I was really hoping Bowyer would show up with a fast car this weekend to allow me to save an allocation with Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott. He did not disappoint me. He qualified 3rd and was fast in practice. I will roll the dice with a driver who has been driving well this season.
Jamie McMurray (6): This pick is all about saving allocations. I think Kyle Larson and Chase Elliott will have a faster car than McMurray, but the two Young Guns start at the back of the field. Fantasy NASCAR is all about waying the risk vs. reward. There is a good chance the race Sunday ends up being a wreck-fest and Larson and Elliott have a good chance being involved at the back of the pack. I will use McMurray who starts 6th and hope he can stay up front.
Group B Rankings: 1) Chase Elliott, 2) Kyle Larson, 3) Clint Bowyer, 4) Jamie McMurray, 5) Ryan Blaney, 6) Kurt Busch, 7) Ryan Newman, 8) Aric Almirola, 9) Aric Almirola, 10) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., 11) AJ Allmendinger., 12) Trevor Bayne, 13) Austin Dillon, 14) Kasey Kahne, 15) Chris Buescher, 16) Danica Patrick
Daniel Suarez (9): He will be driving the car that Carl Edwards used to win the last race at Texas. The car has a lot of speed. Suarez was 6th fastest in final practice. I will save an allocation with Erik Jones who starts 36th. The experience in the Xfinity Series race Saturday will help Suarez Sunday.
Group C Rankings: 1) Erik Jones, 2) Daniel Suarez, 3) Ty Dillon, 4) Michael McDowell, 5) Michael McDowell… do not even think about the rest.
Good luck this week!
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