DraftKings NASCAR: Penzoil 400

DraftKings NASCAR: Penzoil 400

This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

Pennzoil 400

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Course: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

Brad Keselowski crossed the finish line ahead of Martin Truex Jr. last week to become the first driver to win under NASCAR's new rules package for the Monster Energy Cup series. He battled the flu and held off the charging Truex to become Penske Racing's all-time leading race winner. While the adjusted horsepower and aerodynamics encouraged closer racing there was still room for drivers with the best handling machines to spend time out front. Kyle Larson spent 142 laps running in the lead while five other drivers spent at least 20 laps out front, too. The new rules also punished drivers that were forced to check up or lose momentum. Regaining ground lost after a situation like that will be something drivers will be wary of the rest of the season. Additionally, tire wear plagued some competitors. Multiple teams suffered failures or significant wear as the reduced horsepower actually created higher cornering speeds than in past seasons. Team will need to work hard in the coming weeks to ensure they can set up a car that is easy on tires, allows the driver to keep his foot in the throttle, and is fast enough to get to the front.

Key Stats at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Number of previous races: 22
Winners from pole: 1
Winners from top-5 starters: 8
Winners from top-10 starters: 11
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 4
Fastest race: 154.633 mph

Last 10 Las Vegas Winners

2018 fall - Brad Keselowski
2018 spring - Kevin Harvick
2017 - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 - Brad Keselowski
2015 - Kevin Harvick
2014 - Brad Keselowski
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Tony Stewart
2011 - Carl Edwards
2010 - Jimmie Johnson

Just as he won in Atlanta, Keselowski also won last time out at Las Vegas. He led 75 laps that afternoon to top Kyle Larson and Truex in third. That race was a relatively tight affair with the top four finishers leading 241 of the 267 laps. Kevin Harvick is the defending winner of the spring event, which he dominated. He led 214 laps that day to finish ahead of Kyle Busch with Keselowski in sixth. This week's race should see more of what fantasy owners saw in Atlanta. Passing throughout the field will be plentiful as drivers work to maintain momentum, and the lead will likely be a close affair between those with the best handling. The Penske Fords have been among the best so far this season, and it would be reasonable to expect Keselowski and teammates Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney to take their turns leading on Sunday. Additionally, the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota stable appears very strong and will likely have one or all of their drivers at the sharp end of the racing as well. Las Vegas has a habit of producing winners from throughout the field. So, qualifying position may not be make-or-break this week, but tuning the car to perform well in traffic could be the difference between winning and finishing in the middle of the pack. The introduction of NASCAR's full new rules package should also promote even closer racing through the field than we experienced last week.

(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $12,500
Kyle Busch - $11,900
Joey Logano - $10,700
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Kyle Larson - $9,800
Ryan Blaney - $9,500
Chase Elliott - $9,200
Clint Bowyer - $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Aric Almirola - $8,600
Erik Jones - $8,400
Kurt Busch - $8,200
Daniel Suarez - $7,700

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Alex Bowman - $7,400
Paul Menard - $6,900
Matt DiBenedetto - $6,700
Ryan Preece - $6,100


Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $10,700
Martin Truex Jr. - $10,100
Erik Jones - $8,400
Ryan Newman - $7,200
Daniel Hemric - $7,100
Ryan Preece - $6,100

For the second week in a row, avoiding Kevin Harvick opens the options for fantasy rosters. Joey Logano and Penske Racing have been very quick so far this season, and with some better luck this week they could grab their first win of the season. Logano has yet to win at the track, but he has scored six consecutive top-10 finishes there. His pace in qualifying should be discounted since the team focused on race setup early in the weekend. Martin Truex Jr. is another driver knocking on the door of an early win. Truex won this race in 2017 and led 96 laps there last fall. He was runner-up last week and could likely do one better on Sunday. Teammate Erik Jones also makes a strong case for inclusion at Las Vegas. He started from pole in his last visit before crashing out. He has pace at the circuit and is likely to be in the mix again this week. Rookies Daniel Hemric and Ryan Preece have both been impressive in the opening races of 2019. Preece finished sixth in last fall's Xfinity race at the track despite starting 34th, while Hemric finished sixth there in the spring. Both have shown potential at the Cup level and are good value this week, especially with Hemric among the fastest in practice on Friday. Finally, Ryan Newman pieced together a 13th-place finish in Atlanta last week. This week the field should run even closer, which should give Newman an even greater ability to climb higher in the finishing order than last week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $12,500
Ryan Blaney - $9,500
Daniel Suarez - $7,700
Paul Menard - $6,900
William Byron - $6,600
Chris Buescher - $6,500

Selecting favorite Kevin Harvick means not being able to spend as freely further down the roster. Harvick is worthy of the favorite tag this week with two Las Vegas wins including this race last year. Selecting Ryan Blaney gives fantasy owners some Penske power, too. He also has four Las Vegas top-10s in five tries. Daniel Suarez has also been notable so far this season, and a top-10 last week in Atlanta should be something that gets fantasy owners' attention. Getting back to Ford with Paul Menard adds another driver that should be expected to finish inside the top 15, while William Byron should have the chance to score his first notable Las Vegas finish under the full implementation of the new rules package this week. Rounding out the higher-risk lineup we're going with Chris Buescher. He finished ninth last week in Atlanta and had back-to-back top-15s at Las Vegas last season.

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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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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