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Fantasy NASCAR: Toyota/Save Mart 350 DFS Preview
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For the first time this season, the drivers and viewers of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will experience both left and right turns during the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Sonoma is a 2.5-mile road course consisting of 11 unique turns at varying degrees of banking. Rookies at Sonoma tend to be the worst picks since they are not used to the track layout. The last time a “rookie” finished in the Top 10 at Sonoma was Juan Pablo Montoya in 2007, as he became the only driver to win at the site in his debut season. Montoya also came from a very significant open wheel background and was technically not new to road courses.

TOP PRICED PICKS

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300) once ended a 218-race winless streak at Sonoma. In 11 races at Sonoma, Truex has one win, three Top 10 finishes, and 67 Laps Led, which is sixth of active drivers. In his last four starts at SR, Truex has the seventh-most Laps in the Top 15 at 281, the 10th most Quality Passes (Passes of cars inside the Top 15 under green flag conditions) with 74, and the fifth-best Driver Rating of 102.3. Truex starts third and was 10th in final practice. Truex has the highest DraftKings salary this week. His practice speeds point to a finish behind his high starting position, therefore it’s better to use cheaper options.

Kyle Busch ($10,200) has four wins at road courses, the most of active drivers. In 12 starts at Sonoma, Kyle Busch has two wins, four Top 10 finishes, and 107 Laps Led, which is third of active drivers. In his last four Sonoma starts, Kyle Busch has two Top 10 finishes, and a DR of 84.7, which is 13th of active drivers. Kyle Busch was second in final practice and starts fourth. Kyle Busch will finish slightly above his starting position in the Top 3, as indicated by practice speeds.

Kevin Harvick ($9,900) is looking for his first Sonoma win. In 16 starts at Sonoma, Harvick has seven Top 10 finishes. In his last four starts at the site, Harvick has the fifth-best Average Running Position of 11.7, the sixth-best Average Finishing Position of 10.0, and a DR of 99.4, which is sixth-best of active drivers. Harvick starts 12th and was seventh in final practice. Harvick will gather a finish inside the Top 10 on his practice speeds and gain a few points from Place Differential.

Kurt Busch ($9,800) has finished 12th or better in three of the last four races this season. In 16 starts at Sonoma, Kurt Busch has one win, eight Top 10 finishes, and 197 Laps Led, the most of active drivers. In the last four seasons at Sonoma, Kurt Busch has the best AFP of 7.0, the third best ARP of 10.7, the third-most Laps in the Top 15 at 349, and the best DR of 107.7. Kurt Busch starts 17th and was sixth in final practice. Kurt Busch’s practice speeds have displayed that he will finish much better than his starting position, making him a must-play that will gain some significant PD points.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,600) looks to become the first driver to earn four victories this season. In 15 starts at Sonoma, Johnson has one win, nine Top 10 finishes, and 131 Laps Led, which is the second-most of active drivers. In his last four starts at the road course, Johnson has the best ARP of 9.0, the fourth-best AFP of 8.7, and the second-best DR of 106.5. Johnson starts 24th and was 21st in final practice. Johnson has not looked outstanding in practice compared to other drivers in his price range, making him one of the less appealing options.

Whenever the Cup Series goes to a road course, A.J. Allmendinger ($9,500) is always a driver to be strongly considered for lineups. In eight Sonoma starts, Allmendinger has two Top 10 finishes. In his last four starts at Sonoma, he has the second-most Laps Led at 56, the seventh-best ARP of 12.9, and the third-best DR of 103.9. Allmendinger starts fifth and was fourth in final practice. Allmendnger’s practice speeds indicate that he will stay around his starting position, making him a solid choice in this price range.

Clint Bowyer ($9,400) has failed to finish in the Top 10 in the last four races this season. In 11 races at Sonoma, Bowyer has one win, eight Top 10 finishes, and the best AFP of 11.4. In his last four starts at the site, Bowyer has the sixth-most Quality Passes with 82, the eighth-most Fastest Laps with 14, and a DR of 84.4, which ranks 12th of active drivers. Bowyer starts 13th and was eighth in final practice. Bowyer will secure a Top 10 finish this week.

Kyle Larson ($9,300) became the fourth repeat winner of the season with his win at Michigan. In three starts at Sonoma, Larson has the fourth-best ARP of 11.5, the fourth-highest percent of Laps in the Top 15 with 77.3, and the eighth-best DR of 90.0. Larson starts first and was the fastest in final practice. Expect him to compete for the win and lead laps in the process.

Last week, Joey Logano ($9,000) earned his first Top 5 finish since his win at Richmond seven races ago, Logano has four Top 10 finishes and has finished 11th or better in five of the last six Sonoma races. In his last four starts at the site, Logano has the fifth-best AFP of 8.8, the eighth-best AFP of 13.0, and the ninth-best DR of 88.6. Joey Logano starts 18th and was 16th in final practice. Expect Logano to finish ahead of his starting position, in the Top 15.

MID-RANGE PRICED PICKS

Jamie McMurray ($8,500) could become the fourth driver of the season to achieve 10 Top 10 finishes. In 14 starts at Sonoma, McMurray has two Top 5 finishes. In his last four Sonoma starts, McMurray has led the ninth-most laps with 11, has an ARP of 15.2, and a DR of 87.5, both of which are 10th of active drivers. McMurray starts second and had the fourth-best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in final practice. McMurray looked great in final practice and qualifying and will compete for the win.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,100) will be making his final start at Sonoma. In 17 starts at the road course, Earnhardt has two Top 10 finishes. In his last four starts at SR, Earnhardt has the third-best AFP of 8.3, the second-best ARP of 10.2, and the fourth-best DR of 102.4. Earnhardt starts 10th and was third in final practice. Earnhardt looked fast in practices and will earn his fourth Top 10 finish of the year.

Kasey Kahne ($8,000) has not finished in the Top 10 since Talladega six races ago but could do so this week. In 13 races at Sonoma, Kahne has one win and six Top 10 finishes. In his last four starts at the site, Kahne has the second-best AFP of 7.3, the sixth-best ARP of 12.2, and the seventh-best DR of 98.5. Kahne starts 21st and was 25th in final practice. Kahne has used gambling strategies before to finish inside the Top 10 at Sonoma and will do so again to finish ahead of his starting position.

Ryan Newman ($7,900) has finished in The Top 15 in the last four races this season. In 15 Sonoma starts, Newman has seven Top 10 finishes. In the last four Sonoma races, Newman has the ninth-best ARP of 14.5, the 10th most Laps in the Top 15 at 244, and a DR of 85.1, which is 11th of active drivers. Newman starts 20th and was 18th in final practice. Newman will easily finish above his starting position and obtain some points from PD based on history and practice speeds.

Matt Kenseth ($7,500) will start at the rear after not setting a qualifying lap for this week’s race. In 17 starts at Sonoma, Kenseth has one Top 10 finish. Kenseth has finished 12th or better in the last five races this season and was 28th in final practice. Kenseth has never been great at Sonoma, but starting last makes him a good play that will gain some PD points with no risk.

BARGAIN VALUES

Chris Buescher ($6,200) will be making his second start at Sonoma. In his previous start, he started 36th and finished 30th. Buescher was 13th in final practice and starts ninth. Based on practice speeds, Buescher will actually finish around 12th or better, earning a good amount of points from his finishing position. He looked great in pre-race events. He is also Allmendinger’s teammate and may have absorbed a lot from him about this track.

Michael McDowell ($6,100) is a driver known for his road course experience and will be one of the more favorable bargains for Sonoma. In three of his five starts at Sonoma, McDowell finished with positive PD. McDowell starts 16th and was 15th in final practice. McDowell will finish around his starting position.

Danica Patrick ($5,800) is looking for her second Top 10 finish of the year. In four starts at Sonoma, Patrick has two Top 20 finishes. Patrick starts sixth and was 12th in final practice. Even though she may drop some positions, Patrick will score a quality amount of points from finishing just outside the Top 10.

Alon Day ($4,700) is making history as the first Israeli-born driver to make a start in the Cup Series. Day has been very good in NASCAR’s Euro Series and has experience on various road courses. Day starts 32nd and was 23rd in final practice. Day will finish ahead of his starting position and secure a respectable amount of points based on PD.

TOP DRIVERS IN EACH PRICE RANGE FOR TOYOTA/SAVE MART 350 – BASED ON COMBINATION OF PROJECTED PERFORMANCE AND VALUE

$10,000 – Plus Range

1: Kyle Busch ($10,200) – Kyle Busch starts fourth and was second in final practice. Based on practice speeds, he will finish in the Top 3 just ahead of his starting position.

2: Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300) – Truex starts third and was 10th in final practice. As indicated by practice speeds, Truex will drop outside the Top 5 and obtain the least amount of points of drivers in this price range.

$9,000 – Plus Range

1: Kurt Busch ($9,800) – Kurt Busch starts 18th and has displayed practice speeds indicative of a finish just outside the Top 5.

2: Clint Bowyer ($9,400) – Bowyer starts 13th and was eighth in final practice. Expect Bowyer to finish inside the Top 10.

3: Kevin Harvick ($9,900) – Harvick starts 12th and was seventh in final practice. Harvick’s practice speeds have designated that he will finish inside the Top 10.

$8,000 – Plus Range

1: Dale Earnhardt Jr. ($8,100) – Earnhardt starts 10th and looked very good in final practice. Expect him to finish ahead of his starting position.

2: Jamie McMurray ($8,500) – McMurray starts second and will compete for the win.

3: Kasey Kahne ($8,000) – Kahne has very good history at Sonoma and will use pit strategy to finish ahead of his starting position.

$7,000 – Plus Range

1: Ryan Newman ($7,900) – Newman starts 20th and was 18th in final practice. Newman’s practice speeds indicate that he will finish ahead of his starting position.

2: Matt Kenseth ($7,500) – Kenseth has never looked good at Sonoma, as he was 28th in final practice. However, Kenseth will be starting last, meaning that he will seize lots of points based on PD.

3: Austin Dillon ($7,100) – Austin Dillon will start 19th and was 14th in final practice. Dillon will finish in the Top 15 and collect a favorable amount of points based on PD.

Below $7,000 Range

1: Michael McDowell ($6,100) – McDowell starts 16th and was 15th in final practice. He will finish slightly ahead of his starting position based on practice speeds and he has plenty of road course experience.

2: Alon Day ($4,700) – Day starts 32nd and was 23rd in final practice. Day will finish well ahead of his starting position and reap some points from PD.

3: Chris Buescher ($6,200) – Buescher starts ninth and was 13th in final practice. Buescher will drop slightly from his starting position but still finish just outside the Top 10.

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