This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Quaker State 400
Location: Sparta, Ky.
Course: Kentucky Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Last week's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the third consecutive race on a 2.5-mile oval where pit strategy made the difference. It gave Kevin Harvick his second win at the Brickyard and his second three races. He reclaimed the top spot in the playoff standings with his fourth win of the season, and he is the only driver to have more than 600 points with just eight races remaining in the regular season. Austin Dillon and Erik Jones are locked in their own battle at the opposite end of the playoff positions with Dillon holding just a six-point advantage above Jones to hold the 16th and final playoff spot.
This week's race will be just the 10th time the NASCAR Cup series has raced at Kentucky Speedway. Toyota has won three of the last five races at the track, and only once has the race been won by a driver starting outside of the top 10. Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. have all won multiple times at the track and Kurt Busch is the defending winner. Kyle Busch and Joey Logano will share the front row on Sunday.
Key Stats at Kentucky Speedway
- Number of races: 9
- Winners from pole: 3
- Winners from top-5 starters: 6
- Winners from top-10 starters: 8
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
- Fastest race: 150.454 mph
Previous Kentucky Winners
This week's race at Kentucky Speedway will likely be won in a completely different manner than we saw the last three races. The return to 1.5-mile ovals means the window to pit in an off strategy will be much smaller. The faster lap time makes heading to pit road without losing a lap nearly impossible, unlike Indianapolis and Pocono. The tri-oval also has newer pavement, which shouldn't mean as much tire wear as we've seen in recent week. This is still a track-position track, but spots will be gained by speed on the circuit and quick work on pit road. With only one race winner starting further back than 10th on the grid, fantasy players should place extra emphasis on starting position this week.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Kyle Busch (DK $10,100, FD $13,000) leads the lower-risk lineup again this week despite not having a 2020 win yet. His average finish of 4.7 from nine Kentucky starts makes him an easy selection at this week's price, though. Brad Keselowski (DK $9,000, FD $11,300) is also a value considering he has won this year and is a three-time Kentucky winner who will start sixth this week. Last week Jimmie Johnson (DK $8,800, FD $9,000) missed the first Cup series race of his career after briefly testing positive for Covid-19. He returns this week after two negative tests. He has looked like a potential winner this season and that shouldn't change this week despite his 20th-place starting spot. Matt Kenseth (DK $8,000, FD $8,200) had an impressive runner-up finish last week at Indianapolis and seems to be finding his footing in his series return. He won at Kentucky in 2013. Kurt Busch (DK $7,600, FD $9,700) is the defending winner of this race, and with six top-10s from his nine circuit starts he makes another valuable selection given this week's price. Last in this option is Austin Dillon (DK $6,500, FD $7,200). He is 16th in the standings and needs consistent top-15 finishes to ensure he remains in the playoff positions. He has two 16th-place finishes at this track and will start 19th on Sunday.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
The 2020 season has become a seesaw battle between Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin (DK $10,900, FD $13,800). The pair are tied on wins but neither has won at Kentucky. Of the pair, Hamlin is the one with the pattern of results that would suggest a better Kentucky result. He will start 12th and finished fifth last year. Martin Truex Jr. (DK $9,200, FD $12,300) won back-to-back Kentucky races in 2017 and 2018. He only has one win so far this season and needs to rebuild some momentum after scoring just two top-10 finishes in the last five races. William Byron's (DK $8,600, FD $9,400) low starting position means he has a good opportunity to deliver finish differential points to fantasy owners. He starts 21st on Sunday but has more of a top-15 driver each week. Last week's race at the Brickyard gave Tyler Reddick (DK $8,200, FD $8,000) his fourth top-10 finish of the year, and he brings an impressive Kentucky average finish of 5.0 from four Xfinity starts at the track. Cole Custer (DK $6,900, FD $7,700) won last year's fall Xfinity race at this track and has an average Kentucky finish of 10.8 from that series, too. Our final selection is Ryan Newman (DK $6,100, FD $7,500), who will start 23rd on Sunday but managed to finish ninth here last season despite starting 35th.