NASCAR DFS: Axalta 400

NASCAR DFS: Axalta 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

AXALTA 400

Location: Long Pond, Penn.
Course: Pocono Raceway
Format: 2.5-mile oval
Laps: 160

Race Preview

Pocono Raceway is one of NASCAR's more unique circuits. The three distinctly different turns make settling on a chassis setup an endeavor of compromise. Each turn features a different radius and banking, which forces teams to sacrifice some sections of the track to be faster on others. Additionally, the long straights push engines to their limits while testing transmissions since drivers will have to change gears each lap. The sheer size of the track opens the door to fuel and tire strategy, but a fast car that can carry the fastest speed through the center of each corner will have an advantage. Having a quick car early in the weekend can pay dividends since 52 of 74 Sprint Cup races at the track have been won by drivers starting inside the top 10. Dale Earnhardt Jr. swept both races at the track in 2014, while Hendrick Racing drivers have taken all of the five most recent events.

Key Stats at Pocono Raceway

Previous races: 74
Wins from pole: 15
Wins from top-5 starters: 44
Wins from top-10 starters: 52
Wins from 21st or lower starters: 5
Fastest race: 145.384 mph

Last 10 Dover Winners

2014 fall - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2014 spring - Dale Earnhardt Jr.
2013 fall - Kasey Kahne
2013 spring - Jimmie Johnson
2012 fall - Jeff Gordon
2012 spring - Joey Logano
2011 fall - Brad Keselowski
2011 spring - Jeff Gordon
2010 fall - Greg Biffle
2010 spring - Denny Hamlin

Pocono Raceway is a challenging circuit that has favored Hendrick Motorsports most recently. The track punishes mistakes, but its long distance can allow more drivers to remain on the lead lap than last week's venue Dover International Raceway. Being mistake free on pit road, choosing the right strategy and using the draft effectively are all necessities to succeed here. The unique layout will strain equipment more than normal, and force a settings compromise that will maximize speed at the end of the long straights. Track position will be important, and differing strategies will attempt to maximize that. Restarts could make or break a race at Pocono, making it especially important to have an afternoon free of errors.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Jimmie Johnson - $ 13,400
Kurt Busch - $12,500
Denny Hamlin - $11,600

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $11,100
Kyle Busch - $11,000
Kasey Kahne - $10,800
Carl Edwards - $10,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Jamie McMurray - $9,700
Ryan Newman - $9,500
Paul Menard - $8,700
Aric Almirola - $8,300

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

A.J. Allmendinger - $8,200
Casey Mears - $7,900
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,900

WHO I WOULD CHOOSE THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Cash Game Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kurt Busch - $12,500
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,100
Ryan Newman - $9,500
Paul Menard - $8,700
A.J. Allmendinger - $8,200

Kurt Busch continues to run strong each and every week. He has already posted a win this season and is a two-time Pocono winner with three top-10 finishes in the last four races there. Still the most likely candidate to score his first win of the season, Truex is starting to look like a driver who is owed a trophy. He has only failed to finish inside the top-10 once this season. Ryan Newman has finished inside the top-10 at Pocono in each of the last five races there, and Paul Menard is quickly becoming a regular face in the top-10 finishers. Allmendinger continues to make strides with his JTG Daugherty Racing team, and he should be expected to improve on his Pocono average this week.

Higher-Risk Tournament Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Jimmie Johnson - $13,400
Kasey Kahne - $10,800
Greg Biffle - $9,000
Aric Almirola - $8,300
Casey Mears - $7,900

Last week's winner, Jimmie Johnson, appears to be in complete control. He had a misstep in Charlotte, but made the necessary corrections to triumph in Dover. Kahne could be the Hendrick Motorsports driver with the most value this week. He won here with Hendrick in the fall of 2013 and finished 10th the last time at the track. Strides forward continue to be visible within the Roush Fenway Racing stable, and Biffle is leading that charge. His speed in Charlotte wasn't a fluke since he held station at the sharp end of the field in Dover last week, too. Lastly, Almirola made waves last week with a stout top-5 finish while Casey Mears finished 12th in his last Pocono outing.

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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