DraftKings NASCAR: Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

DraftKings NASCAR: Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Brantley Gilbert Big Machine Brickyard 400

Location: Speedway, Ind.
Course: Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Format: 2.5-mile oval
Laps: 160

Race Preview

Joe Gibbs Racing made their long-awaited breakthrough last weekend at New Hampshire with Denny Hamlin driving to Victory Lane. Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. were among the fastest cars all afternoon, but both suffered problems late in the race that Hamlin was able to capitalize on. Toyota has improved its performance, and now Ford is the manufacturer looking to improve before the playoffs. There was only one Ford in the top five last week and none in the prior race. Races continue to wind down before the cutoff for the playoffs and some drivers and struggling to find their way in. Joey Logano is now 52 points out of a playoff spot, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kasey Kahne both essentially need to win to find their way in. Matt Kenseth currently sits on the bubble with a nice cushion in points, but he'd feel much more comfortable with a victory. Only five playoff spots remain for nonwinners, and winless drivers have seven remaining chances to get the job done. This week's opportunity is the flat and long Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is one of the marquee races each season. A win on Sunday would be a career highlight and could give someone a pass into the playoffs.

Key Stats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 23
Winners from pole: 4
Winners from top-5 starters: 12
Winners from top-10 starters: 15
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 3
Fastest race: 155.912 mph

Last 10 Brickyard Winners

2016 - Kyle Busch
2015 - Kyle Busch
2014 - Jeff Gordon
2013 - Ryan Newman
2012 - Jimmie Johnson
2011 - Paul Menard
2010 - Jamie McMurray
2009 - Jimmie Johnson
2008 - Jimmie Johnson
2007 - Tony Stewart

The Brickyard 400 is one of the crown jewels on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup calendar that every driver wants to win. Racing at the track is difficult for the heavy Cup cars, though. The four turns are flat with very little banking to help the cars maneuver through the turns, and the straights require long on-throttle periods. The configuration makes passing difficult, and most passes come from slingshot moves down the long straights and driving hard into turns 1 and 3. The flat track increases wear on tires as drivers push the machines to the limits of adhesion, and right-front tire failures can be a concern. The long, 2.5-mile circuit can stretch out the field, and drivers can leverage fuel strategy without having to lose a lap by coming to pit road. Track position will be a primary concern for teams, and drivers behind the leaders may opt for two-tire stops given the challenges of passing in the single-groove turns. Restarts will also be the focus of drivers and teams, and could play a significant role in the outcome of Sunday's race.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,600
Kyle Busch - $10,500
Kyle Larson - $10,200
Jimmie Johnson - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kevin Harvick - $9,900
Brad Keselowski - $9,300
Matt Kenseth - $9,200
Jamie McMurray - $8,700

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kurt Busch - $8,300
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $8,200
AUstin Dillon - $7,500
Ryan Newman - $7,400

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

A.J. Allmendinger - $6,900
Ty Dillon - $6,800
Paul Menard - $6,300
Aric Almirola - $6,100

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,500
Jimmie Johnson - $10,000
Clint Bowyer - $8,600
Kasey Kahne - $7,900
Chris Buescher - $6,600
Paul Menard - $6,300

The lower-risk lineup for the Brickyard focuses on balance between drivers of various price ranges. Kyle Busch is the top choice as he starts from pole going for three consecutive Indy wins, which would also give him his first win of the season. Most agree he is due for a breakthrough; the only question is whether it will be this week. Johnson is always a relatively safe play as well. The Hendrick Motorsports driver has four wins at the track and could be in contention to win again on Sunday if the team can avoid the mistakes that creep into their efforts. Results have returned to form for Bowyer, which gives us confidence in him as well. Two top-fives and another top-10 from the last three races coupled with his respectable Indy average finish of 13.5 make him an easy selection for Sunday. Kahne probably has the biggest question mark on him in this option. He hasn't performed to expectations this season, but the Brickyard has been a good venue for him. If he has anything in him, it should come to the surface this week. Buescher finished an impressive 14th here last season in his first effort at the track, and he should repeat that with better equipment and support this time around. Finally, while Menard may be underperforming this season, he is a former Brickyard winner and finished 10th in last year's race.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,600
Kyle Larson - $10,200
Denny Hamlin - $9,500
Ryan Newman - $7,400
A.J. Allmendinger - $6,900
Landon Cassill - $5,300

Our higher-risk lineup for Indianapolis offers the two best drivers in the Cup series this season, putting greater emphasis on them to have successful races. Both Truex and Larson are expected to be strong contenders in Sunday afternoon's race. Larson has never finished outside of the top 10 at the circuit (and isn't starting last this week), while Truex has back-to-back top-10s in the last two races there. We add Hamlin not because of his win last week but because he regularly scores top-fives at this track. Three of his four top-fives on the circuit came in the last three races, even when starting as deep as 27th. Newman is a former Brickyard winner, and it is his home track. Those factors help him outperform at the circuit, and a top-10 should be the expectation from him this week. Results have been mixed for Allmendinger at Indy. He dropped out of last year's race due to overheating but landed a top-10 on his first try and was disappointed with his qualifying effort. However, he has been consistently finishing around the top 20 mark the last few races and at this price could offer decent value with upside potential. Finally, Cassill falls into a similar category. He may not have Allmendinger's top-10 or upside potential but he finished 20th at the Brickyard last year. That is the second time finishing there in his seven career tries.

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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