Welcome to one of the most anticipated races of the season. The first elimination race of the Monster Energy Cup Series Playoffs takes the teams to the new Charlotte Road Course. It is called the Roval as it’s a hybrid road coarse/oval and while some drivers have tested here, no one knows exactly what to expect. The biggest challenge will be determining how to set the car up and then not wrecking in some of the treacherous turns. Before getting into picks, let’s take a ride around the track with AJ Allmendinger.
For fantasy, track position will be key but maybe not as much as the other road courses as their should be some opportunity to pass in the oval section of the track. Depending on qualifying, there could be some nice value with place differential.
In this article, I will be looking at some of the top pre-qualifying targets in each price range. The opening practice and qualifying session will take place on Friday with the final two practices coming on Saturday so make sure to check out my DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet where I have updates on those sessions and also list my final targets. You can also jump into the RotoPros Slack Chat if you have any questions. Let's get into the picks.
Top Tier Targets
Kyle Busch(DK - $11,400 FD - $14,500)
Busch is my top driver this week for a couple reasons starting with his road course history as he has four career wins and eight straight finishes of 7th or better. I realize this is a brand new track and much different from the other two road courses but in July 13 drivers tested here and Kyle was 3rd in the first session and fastest in the final session that day. He was also fastest in opening practice here Friday and after qualifying 14th offers some place differential upside as well. He won;t have to worry about crashing as his win last night locked him into the second round so look for the #18 to be aggressive and shoot for a second straight win.
Kurt Busch(DK - $9,000 FD - $11,200)
Kurt Busch is in a little different situation than brother Kyle this week as he sits on the bubble in the first elimination race of the Playoffs. The good news is that he is also a terrific road course racer who has finished 11th or better in nine straight race on the track type with eight Top 10’s and three Top 5’s. He won the pole this week giving him terrific track position and a chance to get out front and lead some laps. He sits with a salary right at the bottom of the top tier and is a great play in all formats.
Mid Tier Targets
Joey Logano(DK - $8,800 FD - $11,700)
After five straight Top 6 finishes on road courses including a win at Watkins Glen in 2015, Logano’s luck changed. He has finished four straight outside the Top 10 including an unlucky Lap one crash at Watkins Glen in August. I think he turns it around this week on the new Roval setup and during the test in July, he finished with the second-fastest speed in both sessions. He will need a strong finish this weekend to move on to the second round as he is only 10 points on the good side of the bubble. It also helps that he is starting 15th which provides some place differential upside and on FanDuel his price dropped $1,000 this week.
A.J. Allmendinger(DK - $7,700 FD - $8,600)
When it comes to a brand new road course, there is no driver I trust more than Allmendinger who has a background in open-wheel racing and know what it takes to navigate these types of tracks. He was another driver who tested here in July finishing with the 5th and 3rd fastest speeds in those sessions. There is a little risk with him starting second compared to his early practice speeds but he should definitely be a Top 10 car which should be enough to pay off his mid range salary. He will be leaving the #47 car at the end of the season and this is his final shot at a road course win in that car so look for him to go out strong.
Daniel Hemric(DK - $5,600 FD - $4,000)
Hemric makes a tremendous punt play this week, especially on FanDuel where he is minimum price. He will step into the Richard Childress #8 this week and is one of the few drivers who is running both the Xfinity and Cup race. That is significant as this is a new track so he will have extra experience for Sunday that almost no other driver will have. On top of that, he has shown a ton of speed as he was 4th in opening practice and followed that up by qualifying 11th Friday afternoon. That does take away some of the place differential but he came out in the first practice on Saturday and posted the second-fastest time. Given his price, even a Top 15 would be more than enough to hit value this week.