This week the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the Pennzoil 400 on Sunday afternoon. It is the second intermediate track in a row but will most likely not play out anything like last week as the tracks are very different. The biggest difference is the grip level as Atlanta is one of the most slippery tracks on the circuit which also leads to quick fall-off for tires. Vegas, on the other hand, despite not being repaved since 2006 has a ton of grip and normally faster speeds with the progressive banking.
Qualifying just wrapped up and Kevin Harvick’s prediction of “the fastest car will not win the pole today” came true. He ended up winning the Busch Pole Award thanks to catching a draft at the end of his run. The other interesting aspect was the game of chicken going on as no one wanted to be the first on the track at the start of the round. Despite all the craziness, I think there is something we can take away from this from a fantasy perspective. There are some fast cars that didn’t make it through to the final round that will give us a ton of place differential upside and with so many of them the ownership should be somewhat spread out.
Let’s jump in and take a look at my core drivers in each price range. Keep in mind, these picks are coming before the final two practices so be sure to grab a copy of my DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet as I will be updatiung that data and all my picks Saturday afternoon. You can also jump into the RotoPros Community Chat if you have any questions. Not a member yet? Make sure to get over to Rotopros.com and sign up for your free trial today. Let's get into the picks.
Top Tier Target
Martin Truex Jr.(DK - $10,100 FD - $13,500)
From a fantasy perspective, Truex kinda has everything going his way right now. He returns to Las Vegas after finishing Top 5 in both races here last year and has finished Top 5 in four of his last five trips to the track including a win in 2017 and he also led the most laps twice in that time. He will also be starting 23rd this week giving us the most place differential upside of any driver in the Top 10 of salary and best of all is only the 5th most expensive option on DraftKings. Fire up Truex Jr. in all formats and consider pairing him with one or more of his teammates(Busch, Jones, Hamlin).
Mid Tier Targets
Ryan Newman(DK - $8,500 FD - $9,600)
No matter how Newman and the #6 car practice on Saturday they are top targets this week for a couple reasons starting with qualifying. Newman is old school so it was no surprise he was not a fan of the pack qualifying. He ended up not making it through to the second round and will start 29th this week and with his low price on both sites is a near lock, at least in cash games. He returns to Las Vegas after a 9th place finish in the playoffs and has finished Top 20 in six straight and eight of his last nine races here with five Top 10 finishes.
Ross Chastain(DK - $5,500 FD - $3,500)
For value, I am going to go almost to the minimum price on both sites with Ross Chastain. He has picked up positive place differential in both races this season(Daytona +26, Atlanta +1) and that streak will continue this week as he starts dead last(38th) after a poor qualifying run. The good news is that he was impressive here last year in the #15 car finishing 29th and 20th both times starting outside the Top 30. At these prices, I would consider Chastain a strong option in all formats allowing you to stack almost any two top end drivers.