With 18 of 36 races completed, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is now halfway done. The second half of the schedule begins at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with the Overton’s 301. Joe Gibbs Racing has been particularly successful at “The Magic Mile” in recent years, as the organization has won three of the last five races at the site. JGR has no wins yet this season and looks to change that at NHMS.
TOP PRICED PICKS
Kyle Busch ($10,500) is one of only nine drivers to have won more than once at New Hampshire. In the last four races at the site, Kyle Busch has the third-most Laps led at 232, the eighth-best Average Running Position of 8.3, and the third-best Driver Rating of 115.4. Kyle Busch starts seventh and was fastest in final practice. Kyle Busch will compete for the win and easily finish in the Top 5 as evidenced by practice speeds.
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300) has shown that he is a threat to win on any track this season and will once again be a contender to win this week. Truex will be a fantastic fantasy play and will earn a lot of points from leading laps as he starts first. In the last four races, Truex has the fourth-best ARP of 7.7, the sixth-best Average Finishing Position of 10.8, and the fourth-best DR of 109.6. Truex was second in final practice and had the best 10 Consecutive Lap Average.
Kevin Harvick ($10,000) is one of six drivers to have 11 or more Top 10 finishes in 2017. In the last four races at NHMS, Harvick has been the driver to beat, as he ranks first in ARP with 5.1, Fastest Laps at 202, Laps in the Top 15 at 1,183, and Laps Led at 283. Harvick starts 12th and had the 10th best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Harvick’s practice speeds indicate that he will grab his 12th Top 10 finish of the year.
A driver that is looking to bounce back after wrecking the past two races is Brad Keselowski ($9,900). In his last four starts at New Hampshire, Keselowski has the fifth-most Laps Led at 107, the third-best ARP of 6.8, and the fifth-best DR of 109.4. Keselowski starts 10th and was 12th in final practice. Keselowski will not return to the form he displayed in the beginning of the season where he nabbed eight Top 10 finishes in the first 10 races. He will finish slightly behind his starting position outside the Top 10 as designated by practice speeds.
Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Denny Hamlin ($9,800) and Matt Kenseth ($9,300) have both been successful at New Hampshire in the past. Hamlin has two wins at the site and the eighth-best AFP of 10.0 in his last four starts, while Kenseth has three wins and the best AFP of 2.5 in his last four starts. Hamlin was third in final practice while Kenseth was sixth. Hamlin and Kenseth start eighth and third, respectively. Kenseth has shown better history at the site while Hamlin looked better in final practice, which is more like actual race conditions. Hamlin and Kenseth will both be solid picks that will finish around their starting positions.
Just like last week, Kyle Larson ($9,700) is a must-play pick. Larson will be starting from the last position after his qualifying time was disallowed. Larson was fourth in final practice and will gain a lot of points from Place Differential. Watch for Larson to climb through the field and acquire his fourth career Top 10 finish at New Hampshire.
Which Hendrick Motorsports driver is the best fantasy pick in the $9,000 range? This week, expect Chase Elliott ($9,100) to be the superior fantasy choice rather than Jimmie Johnson ($9,600). In final practice, Elliott and Johnson were fifth and sixth fastest while Elliott had the third-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average. Johnson ranked eighth in that category. Johnson has three wins and a better AFP of 10.5, which ranks eighth of active drivers, while Elliott has not finished inside the Top 10 in two New Hampshire starts. Elliott, however, has been better in practice and starts 11th, which allows him to secure a few points from PD, unlike Johnson, who will be unable to do so from his starting position of second. Johnson is unlikely to lead any laps with Truex being faster from the front row.
MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS
Clint Bowyer ($8,700) is one of the better choices in the $8,000 range. This is because he starts in the 19th position, the furthest back of all drivers in that price range and he was 17th in final practice. Bowyer has seven Top 10 finishes this year, which include two of them in the last three races. Expect Bowyer to finish ahead of his starting position and gain a few points from PD.
The driver that will earn the most fantasy points this week in the $8,000 range will be Ryan Blaney ($8,300). Blaney has two Top 12 finishes in three starts at New Hampshire. Blaney starts 15th and had the second-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. Blaney has two Top 10 finishes in the last three races. Blaney has been faster than much of the pack in practice, and has momentum from recent races, therefore he will pull a Top 10 finish as well as gaining points from PD.
Daniel Suarez ($7,500) and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,400) are two young drivers that are expected to finish ahead of their starting positions. Suarez starts 14th while Stenhouse starts 17th. Suarez was seventh in final practice while Stenhouse was 16th in the 10 Consecutive Lap Average. Suarez will be making his Cup Series debut at New Hampshire, while Stenhouse has two Top 10 finishes in eight starts at the site.
Roush Fenway Racing driver Trevor Bayne ($6,900) will be one of the top bargain values who will obtain points from PD. Bayne has finished with a positive PD in two of his past four starts at New Hampshire. Bayne starts 27th and was 20th in final practice. Expect Bayne to finish ahead of his starting position and in the Top 20.
Chris Buescher ($6,300) has finished in the Top 20 in the last three races in 2017. Buescher starts 22nd and ranked 24th in the 10 Consecutive Lap Average during final practice. Buescher has an AFP of 22.1 for the season and finished with a positive PD of +6 during this race last year. Buescher will finish around his starting position, as marked by his performances this season and his practice speeds.
Danica Patrick ($6,200) captured her two career-best finishes of 14th and 18th at New Hampshire last season. Patrick starts 30th and was 24th in final practice. Patrick will nab a good amount of points from PD and finish just outside the Top 20.
TOP DRIVERS IN EACH PRICE RANGE FOR OVERTON’S 301 – BASED ON COMBINATION OF PROJECTED PERFORMANCE AND VALUE
$10,000 – Plus Range
1: Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300) – Truex starts first and has been one of the fastest in all practices. He will lead the most laps and compete for the win.
2: Kyle Busch ($10,500) – Kyle Busch starts seventh and was fastest in final practice. Expect him to snag a Top 5 finish.
3: Kevin Harvick ($10,000) – He will score a Top 10 finish as exhibited by practice speeds.
$9,000 – Plus Range
1: Kyle Larson ($9,700) – He will rise through the field and finish around the Top 5, gaining plenty of points from PD while doing so.
2: Chase Elliott ($9,100) – Elliott starts 11th and was fifth in final practice. He will finish in the Top 10 and grab a few points from PD.
3: Denny Hamlin ($9,800) – Hamlin starts eighth and was third in final practice. Watch for Hamlin to bring home a Top 5 finish.
$8,000 – Plus Range
1: Ryan Blaney ($8,300) – Blaney starts 15th and was eighth in final practice, the fastest of all drivers in this price range. He will finish in the Top 10 and secure a solid number of points from PD.
2: Clint Bowyer ($8,700) – Bowyer starts 19th, the furthest back of all drivers in this price range. Bowyer was 17th in final practice and has finished 13th or better in the last three races.
3: Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,000) – Earnhardt starts 18th and was 13th in final practice. Expect him to finish a few positions ahead of his starting position.
$7,000 – Plus Range
1: Daniel Suarez ($7,500) – Suarez starts 14th and was seventh in final practice. Look for Suarez to finish in the Top 10.
2: Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,400) – Stenhouse starts 17th and his 10 Consecutive Lap Average during final practice was 16th. Stenhouse will finish slightly ahead of his starting position.
3: Erik Jones ($7,900) – Jones will start sixth and was 10th in final practice. He will finish behind his starting position but remain in the Top 10 based on practice speeds, scoring more points than other drivers in this value range.
Below $7,000 Range
1: Trevor Bayne ($6,900) – Bayne starts 27th and was 20th in final practice. Watch for Bayne to sneak into the Top 20, picking up a couple of points from PD.
2: Danica Patrick ($6,200) – Patrick starts 30th and was 24th in final practice. She will finish in the Top 25.
3: Chris Buescher ($6,300) – Buescher starts 22nd and has finished inside the Top 20 in the last three races this season. Buescher will finish around his starting position according to his practice speeds.