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DraftKings NASCAR: Quaker State 400

C.J. Radune

Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Quaker State 400

Location: Sparta, Ky.
Course: Kentucky Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

Roush Fenway Racing and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. captured their second superspeedway race of the season in a crash-filled Coke Zero 400 last week at Daytona International Speedway. Ford-powered teams seemed to have the early power advantage heading into last week’s race, but Joe Gibbs Racing cars showed their strength at the front of the field during the running as well. Most accidents happened at the front of the field last week, which meant many of the contenders were taken out or sustained damage. Stenhouse was the one who persevered and came out on top in an overtime finish to score his second series victory. This week, the series turns its attention to another 1.5-mil oval in Kentucky Speedway. The track is a somewhat unique oval that only features one race per season. Brad Keselowski and Joe Gibbs Racing drivers have won all of the six Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series events at the track. Keselowski had a car capable of winning last week but he came up short, as did Joe Gibbs Racing. Will one of them overcome last week’s disappointment to triumph this time around?

Key Stats at Kentucky Speedway

Number of previous races: 6
Winners from pole: 2
Winners from top-5 starters: 3
Winners from top-10 starters: 5
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
Fastest race: 145.607 mph

Last Six Kentucky Winners

2016 - Brad Keselowski
2015 - Kyle Busch
2014 - Brad Keselowski
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Brad Keselowski
2011 - Kyle Busch

Pit strategy and handling are key components of any winning effort at Kentucky Speedway. The flat banking and repaved surface calls for teams to put together neutral-handling machines that aren’t too tough on tires. Failures of the right-front tire can be common and can ruin any competitor’s night, and the newer pavement will be rougher this time around. Additionally, when teams choose to pit for fuel and when any caution periods arrive, could alter the running order. Teams likely will opt for four-tire stops over two, but track position could become a factor as the night progresses. Fuel-mileage also has been important in the past, however. While Kenseth won at the track in 2013 because of a fuel-only stop, Keselowski picked up last year’s checkered flag by saving fuel to beat Carl Edwards to the line. Either way, fantasy players should pay attention to which teams have had trouble on pit road this seasn, and will need to decide which team they think will be mistake free Saturday night.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,400
Kyle Busch - $10,200
Brad Keselowski - $10,100
Kyle Larson - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Jimmie Johnson - $9,700
Chase Elliott - $9,500
Matt Kenseth - $9,100
Joey Logano - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Ryan Blaney - $8,700
Jamie McMurray - $8,500
Clint Bowyer - $8,400
Erik jones - $7,900

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Austin Dillon - $7,600
Ryan Newman - $7,300
Trevor Bayne - $6,900
Ty Dillon - $6,700

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,400
Jimmie Johnson - $9,700
Matt Kenseth - $9,100
Clint Bowyer - $8,500
Trevor Bayne - $6,900
David Ragan - $5,400

Truex has been the class of the field in stockpiling stage wins for the playoffs. He likely will be in contention to add more to his haul this week in Kentucky, too. Truex has been the best-finishing Toyota this season, and he has been very consistent at this track, but fantasy owners who have doubts could choose Kyle Busch in his place. However, Truex has three top-10s from six starts and zero finishes outside of the top 20. Johnson’s championship defense is firing on all cylinders and he has five top-10s from six Kentucky starts. Prior Kentucky winner Kenseth adds a Joe Gibbs flavor to this lineup, and his six top-10 finishes at the track make him one of the top contenders statistically. Bowyer only has one top-10 from six Kentucky starts, but with a new team this year he should be capable of more. Bayne has 13th- and 11th-place finishes from his two starts at Kentucky, and Roush is an improved outfit this time around. Rounding out the lower-risk lineup, Ragan is coming off of a top run at Daytona last week. He led two laps at Kentucky last season before finishing 22nd, but should be capable of a top-20 this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Larson - $10,000
Joey Logano - $9,000
Jamie McMurray - $8,500
Erik jones - $7,900
Ryan Newman - $7,300
Daniel Suarez - $7,100

The higher-risk lineup for Kentucky pairs Larson and a Penske Racing driver with some longer shots who have raced well on similar circuits this season. Larson should add some nice finish differential points to fantasy rosters since he will start last, while teammate Logano continues his quest to overcome his encumbered victory from Richmond. Concerns with Larson’s ability to move through the field could be avoided by choosing Logano’s teammate Keselowski in his place. Logano had three consecutive top-10 finishes at the track before crashing out of last year’s race. McMurray has been competitive this season and was fastest in first practice, but has yet to get a win. His tenacity should pay off, and he finished seventh here last year. Jones is a rookie driver punching above his weight with a new team. Jones has never been at this track in the Cup series but he did finish fourth in the spring Xfinity series race at the track last season. The current season also has been good to Newman. He has three top-five Kentucky finishes. Lastly, Suarez impressed last week at Daytona. Kentucky will be new to him in the Cup series but he finished second and third in the two visits Xfinity made to the track in 2016.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.