This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.
Verizon 200 at the Brickyard
Location: Speedway, Ind.
Course: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
Format: 2.4-mile road course
A visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course this week will make it back-to-back road course races for the NASCAR Cup Series drivers and teams. Kyle Larson won last week at Watkins Glen for his second road course victory of the season after multiple charges from the back of the field left Chase Elliott short of challenging for the win. Since this is the first time the Cup Series will race on the infield circuit there will be on-track practice and qualifying. Chase Briscoe, who finished ninth last week, won on the circuit last season in the Xfinity Series, which is the only prior NASCAR race on the course.
In the playoff battle, Tyler Reddick outscored teammate Austin Dillon again last week. The pair are now separated by 15 points with three races remaining remaining to finalize the field of championship contenders. Dillon will attempt Saturday's Xfinity Series race at the track to help boost his chances of closing the gap to Reddick. The other nonwinning playoff contenders, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin, remain relatively safe on points, but that could all change with another unexpected winner this weekend.
Key Stats at Indianapolis
- Number of races: 0
- Winners from pole: 0
- Winners from top-5 starters: 0
- Winners from top-10 starters: 0
- Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
- Fastest race: N/A
Previous 10 Road Course Winners
2021 Watkins Glen - Kyle Larson
2021 Road America - Chase Elliott
2021 Sonoma Raceway - Kyle Larson
2021 Circuit of the Americas - Chase Elliott
2021 Daytona Road Course - Christopher Bell
2020 Daytona Road Course - Chase Elliott
2020 Charlotte ROVAL - Chase Elliott
2019 Charlotte ROVAL - Chase Elliott
2019 Watkins Glen International - Chase Elliott
2019 Sonoma Raceway - Martin Truex Jr.
The infield road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway has hosted most of the major international racing series already, but this year marks the first trip around the twists and turns for NASCAR's Cup Series. The Xfinity Series blazed the trail last season in a double-header race with IndyCar, and this week all three major series will be on track. The course presents a few good passing opportunities, where the long front and back straights feature heavy braking into tight corners. Out-braking opponents and getting maximum grip on corner exit is what will get the job done. As with most road courses, pit strategy will be a big factor. Teams will plan around the stage breaks to calculate their windows for stops, and pitting early can become a way to get drivers out of traffic. Maximizing lap speed on pit entry and pit exit can earn drivers extra places as others duck in for fuel and tires.
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)
After climbing through the field twice to finish second at Watkins Glen last week we know that Chase Elliott (DK $11,000, FD $14,000) remains the king of road courses. On-track practice and qualifying this week should help him avoid the problems he dealt with last week. Christopher Bell (DK $9,200, FD $11,500) already won on a road course this season, but he also has a point to prove after being knocked out of contention in a three-way battle for the lead last week. He recovered to finish seventh, and was also the runner up at Road America, too. Harvick (DK $8,000, FD $9,500) is still winless in 2021, but he's another driver pulling double duty this week to gain more seat time at the new venue. Harvick didn't make a splash last week at Watkins Glen, but he delivered a confident top-10, which would be good return on his bargain price this week. As I pointed out in the NASCAR Barometer following last week's Watkins Glen race, Briscoe (DK $7,900, FD $8,500) should be on every fantasy player's radar this week. He won on this course in the Xfinity Series last year and has two top-10s from the last two road course visits. Reddick (DK $7,600, FD $7,800) will look to extend his points lead over Dillon with another top-15 this week. He has four top-10s from the last five races, including both road course starts. Veteran Ryan Newman (DK $6,100, FD $4,000) had a race to forget last week but should be a contender for the top-20 if he can remain mistake-free on Sunday.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Watkins Glen showed that, despite the rise of other competitors on road courses, Martin Truex Jr. (DK $10,400, FD $13,000) is still among the best. He finished third and led 34 of the 90 laps. Austin Cindric (DK $9,400, FD $9,000) will attempt to make his sixth Cup Series start of the season. He hasn't finished better than 15th in any, but is at his best on road courses and be capable of leading laps again this weekend. Every fantasy NASCAR player knows AJ Allmendinger (DK $8,800, FD $10,500) is one to consider on road courses. He will race in both Xfinity and Cup races this weekend and should be capable of a top finish if he and the team can avoid trouble. Road courses are also opportunities for fantasy managers to select Ross Chastain (DK $7,700, FD $7,500) and Michael McDowell (DK $7,200, FD $6,700). Chastain finished seventh at Road America and 12th at Watkins Glen, while McDowell earned top-10 finishes at both Daytona and Austin road courses. Austin Dillon (DK $6,300, FD $5,500) will get extra seat this week pulling double duty in Xfinity and Cup. The extra effort could help him close the points gap to teammate Reddick for the final spot in the playoff field.