DraftKings NASCAR: Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400

DraftKings NASCAR: Axalta ‘We Paint Winners’ 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Axalta 'We Paint Winners' 400

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

Race Preview

The NASCAR Sprint Cup teams will unload in Pocono Raceway licking the wounds inflicted by the dominant Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing. The team manhandled the rest of the field and didn't even allow a sniff of a chance to anyone as they gobbled up records for laps and miles led in a single event. Pocono Raceway presents a different challenge, though. Ford appears to have taken strides forward in the past two weeks, and the long straights and unique corners of the "Tricky Triangle" could give them cause for hope. With two of the most unlucky drivers in 2016 shaking off those rain clouds to score wins in the last two races, the rest of the garage will be working to add their names to the list of Chase for the Sprint Cup contenders.

Key Stats at Pocono Raceway

Number of previous races: 76
Winners from pole: 15
Winners from top-5 starters: 45
Winners from top-10 starters: 54
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
Fastest race: 145.384 mph

Last 10 Pocono Winners

2015 fall - Matt Kenseth
2015 spring - Martin Truex Jr.
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 - Kevin Harvick

Pocono Raceway's three unique turns and long straights present an interesting challenge for Sprint Cup teams this week. Chassis set up at this circuit is always a compromise in at least one turn, as teams seek a compromise that enables their cars to rocket down the long straights. Equipment endurance is always a question at the track. The long full-throttle periods coupled with some shifting in the turns means drivers will have to be mindful of what they're putting their machines through. The low-downforce settings should create plenty of sliding in Pocono's longer corners, which could create more passing opportunities at the end of the following straights. The strategists will aim to play with fuel mileage, as the long lap can open the door to differing strategies to win the race on fuel economy.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $10,400
Jimmie Johnson - $10,100
Joey Logano - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kurt Busch - $9,400
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $9,300
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Brad Keselowski - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kyle Larson - $8,700
Austin Dillon - $8,200
Kasey Kahne - $8,100

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Greg Biffle - $7,000
David Ragan - $5,700
Michael Annett - $4,900

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,300
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $9,300
Brad Keselowski - $9,100
Austin Dillon - $8,200
Greg Biffle - $7,000
David Ragan - $5,700

While you shouldn't expect Truex's domination to repeat this week, he has been fast all season, and last week's victory should be the tonic the team needs to rid themselves of the bad luck that has haunted them. Earnhardt has been one of the best at Pocono, having swept the races in 2014, and is often a threat to win. Some of Earnhardt's wins were from battles with Keselowski. The Penske Racing driver has one victory at the track and finished second there last fall. Dillon has yet to score a top-10 at Pocono, but his 2016 results so far have been very encouraging. His lowest Pocono finish is just 19th, so more could be in store on Sunday. Greg Biffle will be racing without his crew chief this weekend, but the step forward in performance from Ford and Roush Fenway Racing could be a boon to fantasy rosters. The last pick in the lower-risk option is Ragan. He had a rough night in Charlotte but has been a regular face in the top 15 this season. With two top-20s in his last three Pocono starts he's a value-added option at this price.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $10,000
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Kyle Larson - $8,700
Jamie McMurray - $7,700
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,200
Ryan Newman - $7,100

Penske Racing's Logano heads the higher-risk lineup for Pocono. His history at the track includes a win but has been checkered. The pace the team has shown the past few weeks should be enough to see him through to the top this week, however. Denny Hamlin has the highest driver rating this week, and with four top-10 finishes from his last five races here, he should be an excellent selection. The inexperience is starting to wane for Larson as he edges ever closer to scoring his first series win. Pocono presents another great opportunity to get that breakthrough. He hasn't finished lower than 12th in his four tries. Charlotte was a disappointment for McMurray. He showed little speed through the weekend, but three top-10s in his last four Pocono races make him an early consideration this week. Last year's Pocono races were disasters for Stenhouse, but he's racing very well in 2016 and he should make good use of Ford's step up in performance. He has two top-20 finishes from six Pocono starts. Finally, Newman bagged his fourth top-10 of the season last week and a boost in confidence is exactly what this team needed. He has finished inside the top 10 in 50 percent of his races at Pocono.

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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