Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Quaker State 400
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Quaker State 400
Kentucky Speedway - Sparta, KY
Track - 1.5 Mile D-Shaped Oval Intermediate(14° of Banking)
It was a wild and crazy race at Daytona that saw half the field hit the garage early due to crashes. That included a ton of big names like the Busch brothers, Keselowski, Larson, Johnson, Harvick, Elliott, Almirola, Hamlin, Logano, and Blaney to name a few. The highlight of the race, at least for me, was seeing Erik Jones pass and hold off Martin Truex Jr. for his first career win. I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him at the Daytona 500 media day and he is not only a great driver but a great person as well. For fantasy, if you played it contrarian last week and I mean "contrarian" you likely came out way ahead. Looking at the winning lineup from the $3 Slingshot on DraftKings, Erik Jones($8,100) was the highest priced driver in that lineup and there was $14,300 left over in salary. Whoa!! Let this be a lesson for the next plate race at Talladega.
This week the Monster Energy Cup Series head to Kentucky Speedway for the Quaker State 400 and for the second straight week the race will be under the lights on Saturday night. The Cup series has only been racing here since 2011 and with just one race per season here, there is somewhat limited data which has me leaning on the track type data a little more this week. It is the seventh 1.5-mile intermediate race of the season and as you will see below, they have been dominated by Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick who have split them with three wins apiece. For fantasy, we are back concentrating on dominator points as there has been at least one driver lead 100 or more laps in each of the seven races here and two or more drivers to lead 50 or more laps in all but two races here. With that let's jump in and take a look at the track trends and some pre-qualifying targets.
Last Six Winners at Kentucky Speedway
- 2017 - Martin Truex Jr.(started 2nd, led 152 laps)
- 2016 - Brad Keselowski(started 2nd, led 75 laps)
- 2015 - Kyle Busch(started 9th, led 163 laps)
- 2014 - Brad Keselowski(started 1st, led 199 laps)
- 2013 - Matt Kenseth(started 16th, led 38 laps)
- 2012 - Brad Keselowski(started 8th, led 68 laps)
Top 5 Current Track History at Kentucky Speedway
Martin Truex Jr, on his mile and a half track rampage last season, won here at Kentucky in 2017 and is one of just three drivers to finish Top 10 in each of the last two years. The other two drivers are Jamie McMurray and Kevin Harvick with Harvick getting the fantasy edge as he has also led 128 laps in that time. Kyle Busch has a 5th and a 12th place finish here in the last two races and along with 112 laps led, sits second to Truex in average DraftKings scoring(63). Last week's winner, Erik Jones, has only raced here once but impressed in his rookie season in the #77 car as he came in sixth after starting 14th last year.
Top 5 Career Track History at Kentucky Speedway
There have been just seven Cup races here at Kentucky and Kyle Busch leads all drivers with an impressive 5.1 career average and 549 laps led. Matt Kenseth is back in the field this week and has been very consistent here as well with a win(2013), three Top 5's and is the only other driver besides Busch to finish Top 10 in six of the seven races. Kevin Harvick has been consistent as well with five Top 10's and a 10.0 average finish but is still seeking his first win here. Not shown above is Brad Keselowski who has already won here three times and is second to Busch in DraftKings scoring with an average of 60.1 points per race thanks to 483 laps led.
Top 5 Current Track Type History(1.5-Mile Intermediate)
Over the last two years(30 races), there have been only five drivers who have recorded multiple wins. Martin Truex Jr. leads the way with 10 while Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick sit tied with five each. Jimmie Johnson has four but has not picked one up since 2016 when he won at Atlanta and Homestead to grab his seventh Championship. Brad Keselowski is the only other driver with multiple wins with his three. Matt Kenseth doesn't have a win in the last 30 races at intermediate tracks but has been consistent with a 12.1 average finish which is fourth-best behind Truex, Harvick, and Busch. Looking at this season, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick have dominated the intermediate tracks with three wins apiece with Harvick leading 600 laps and Kyle leading 571.
Top 5 Current Form (Last Six Races)
Martin Truex Jr. was the only driver in last week's form Top 5 to make it to the end of the Daytona race and now takes over the top spot with his 4.7 average finish over the last six races. Kyle Busch falls to second and is the only other driver to pick up five Top 10's in the last six races with a sub 10 average finish. Brad Keselowski makes a move up to third while Clint Bowyer falls to the #5 spot and Kevin Harvick stays put at #4. There are no new drivers in the Top 5 this week.
Pre Qualifying/Practice Targets
Once again, it's very close with the "Big 3" at the top but I lean Busch slightly at this moment as he is the cheapest on DraftKings. The Cup Series has raced here seven times now and Kyle is one of only two drivers to finish Top 10 six times and he also has two wins and he and Harvick have dominated the mile and half tracks this season.
Speaking of track history, Keselowski has won here three times and finished Top 10 two other times and is second to Busch with 483 laps led. He is still looking for that first win in 2018 and is likely still fuming from last week when he was blocked early by Byron and caused a wreck ending his day. I don't think he dominates but has a good shot at running up front and contending for the win late.
Is this the week Matt Kenseth picks up his first Top 10 of the season? It would seem like a likely track for it to happen seeing as he has been terrific here with a win, three Top 5's, and six Top 10's in the seven races here. Even if he doesn't Top 10 he is still a nice value paly on both sites to help stack two of the big three this week.
Below you will find a copy of my DFS NASCAR cheathsheet which includes Track History, Current Form, DraftKings points averages, Track Type History, Practice/Qualifying Ranks and much more.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for four years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is an active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @jager_bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.