DraftKings NASCAR: Quaker State 400
DraftKings NASCAR: Quaker State 400

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Quaker State 400

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

Race Preview

Last week's Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway was a wild and unpredictable affair that gave Erik Jones his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series victory in his second year on the tour and his first with Furniture Row Racing. Crashes early in the second stage eliminated most of the top contenders, and those who did survive were mostly taken out in later wrecks. The carnage opened the door for a surprise first-time winner to take advantage of the opportunity. It was Jones who capitalized on that moment. Now both Furniture Row Racing teammates are going to focus on the approaching playoffs, while super teams like Penske Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing and Hendrick Motorsports, have plenty of work still to be done before the championship elimination rounds commence. This week's race should mark a step away from the unpredictability we saw at Daytona, and the 1.5-mile tri-oval configuration of Kentucky Speedway should give fantasy players a good sense of which drivers are likely to perform well. Martin Truex Jr. won at the speedway last season, but Brad Keselowski leads active drivers with three track wins. Stewart-Haas Racing, Kyle Larson, and the usual contenders are likely to be favorites again this weekend.

Key Stats at Kentucky Speedway

Number of previous races: 7
Winners from pole: 2
Winners from top-5 starters: 4
Winners from top-10 starters: 6
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
Fastest race: 145.607 mph

Last Seven Kentucky Winners

2017 - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 - Brad Keselowski
2015 - Kyle Busch
2014 - Brad Keselowski
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Brad Keselowski
2011 - Kyle Busch

Returning to another 1.5-mile oval will likely cut down the chances of a surprise winner this week. That's good news for fantasy owners, but not as much for the potential of having an entertaining race. Kentucky Speedway is a place where a particular driver can dominate. Truex did that last year en route to his first win at the track. A late caution and Overtime created some late-breaking drama in that race, but his half-lap lead over the rest of the field up until that point was characteristic of how these types of races have tended to run. That means fantasy owners should be looking for which drivers get off to a quick start in practice and qualifying. The winner Saturday night likely will qualify and run up front throughout the weekend. Fantasy owners should look for a driver they think can dominate the laps-led column while also making the correct late-race calls to help them to victory should any late restarts interrupt the proceedings. Teams tested at the track earlier this year, and tire grip is likely to be a focal point. Turn 3 is the hallmark of this circuit, and getting off it well for the long run to the finish line will be what every driver is aiming for.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $11,600
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,200
Kyle Busch - $11,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kyle Larson - $10,100
Brad Keselowski - $9,800
Clint Bowyer - $9,600
Erik jones - $8,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jamie McMurray - $7,900
Ryan Newman - $7,400
Austin Dillon - $7,000
Matt Kenseth - $6,900

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

William Byron - $6,200
Darrell Wallace Jr. - $6,000
Ty Dillon - $5,600
Landon Cassill - $5,300

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,000
Brad Keselowski - $9,800
Jimmie Johnson - $9,100
Matt Kenseth - $6,900
Kasey Kahne - $6,700
Darrell Wallace Jr. - $6,000

Kyle Busch and Keselowski are two of the best drivers at Kentucky Speedway since the series began racing there in 2011. The pair has won five of the seven races contested at the track. Busch led 112 laps in last year's race, and Keselowski led 75 in his 2016 victory. Hendrick Motorsports was more competitive last week at Daytona than it has been much of the season. That doesn't mean Johnson hasn't been improving on 1.5-mile ovals this year, though. He was 14th at Chicago and fifth at Charlotte. This team needs a bit of luck to go along with its growing confidence but should be able to take home a top-10 this week. Kenseth gets back behind the wheel this week at one of his better tracks. He won here for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2013 and only has one finish outside of the top 10 in the seven races held at the track. Fantasy owners recognize that Kahne's performance last week at Daytona is unlikely to happen again, but he has been scoring top-20 finishes more regularly since April, and he has a fresh dose of confidence after scoring a top-five last week. Finishing this roster option is Wallace, who raced to an impressive 11th-place finish at this track last year.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $11,600
Denny Hamlin - $9,500
Erik Jones - $8,300
Jamie McMurray - $7,900
Ryan Newman - $7,400
Landon Cassill - $5,300

Harvick will look to reassert his dominance this week after being shut out of Victory Lane since Kansas. Harvick has been supremely strong on these types of circuits this season, and he's likely to repeat that again this week. Hamlin has yet to visit Victory Lane this season but recently has been showing signs of life. He was seventh at Chicago a few weeks ago and was a top-five runner throughout last year's Kentucky race. The most recent series winner is also pretty good at Kentucky. Jones added his name to the Cup series winner list last week and comes to a track this week where he finished sixth last season. McMurray and Newman are reasonably priced middle-roster choices this week. Neither driver is having his best season in 2018, but they have been regular top-15 runners. That's exactly what fantasy owners need from these two spots in the lineup. The final selection is Cassill. He hasn't been running every race this year but has been producing consistent positive finish differential points for fantasy players willing to start him.

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.
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only NASCAR Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire NASCAR fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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.
NASCAR Barometer: Truex Wins Back to Back Sonoma Races
NASCAR Barometer: Truex Wins Back to Back Sonoma Races
DraftKings NASCAR: Toyota/Save Mart 350
DraftKings NASCAR: Toyota/Save Mart 350
Toyota/Save Mart 350 Preview: The Road Course Wild Card
Toyota/Save Mart 350 Preview: The Road Course Wild Card
NASCAR Barometer: Logano Dominates Michigan
NASCAR Barometer: Logano Dominates Michigan
Draft Kings NASCAR: Firekeepers Casino 400
Draft Kings NASCAR: Firekeepers Casino 400
FireKeepers Casino 400 Preview: Next Test for the New Aero Package
FireKeepers Casino 400 Preview: Next Test for the New Aero Package