Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Gander Outdoors 400
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Gander Outdoors 400
Dover International Speedway - Dover, DE
Track - 1 Mile Oval
The inaugural Charlotte Road Course race proved to be very exciting and things really got interesting on the final lap. Jimmie Johnson was seven points to the good but proved to everyone no matter what the format is, drivers still want to win every single race. He ended up getting into Martin Truex Jr. on the final turn which ultimately ended up in him not advancing to the second round. That crash triggered more craziness Jeffrey Earnhardt also got turned and ended up stalled on the track which allowed Kyle Larson's beat up car to limp past him and gain the one point he needed to advance. In the end, Jimmie Johnson, Austin Dillon, Denny Hamlin, and Erik Jones were eliminated leaving 12 drivers left fighting for a championship.
The second round begins this Sunday afternoon with a return trip to Dover International Speedway for the Gander Outdoors 400. The track is a one-mile oval with 24 degrees of banking making it much different than the other one-mile tracks(New Hampshire/Phoenix) so track type won't be weighed this week. What I will be looking at more than anything is dominator upside as there have been two drivers to lead 100 or more laps in each of the last four races and six of those eight drivers came from a Top 5 starting position.
One note before getting started. The qualifying session for this race was rained out on Friday afternoon meaning the field will be set by owners points with the final 12 drivers in the playoffs leading the field to green in the first six rows. Let's now dig in and take a look at some track history trends and then look at some of the top targets for the race.
Last Six Winners at Dover
- Kevin Harvick(started 2nd, led 201 laps)
- Kyle Busch(started 2nd, led 30 laps)
- Jimmie Johnson(started 14th, led 7th)
- Martin Truex Jr.(started 2nd, led 187 laps)
- Matt Kenseth(started 10th, led 48 laps)
- Kevin Harvick(started 15th, led 355 laps)
Top 5 Current Track History at Dover
Since the start of the 2016 season, there have been six drivers with an average finish below 10 but no one has been more consistent than Martin Truex Jr. who has four straight Top 5's including a win and is second in that time with 387 laps led. Chase Elliott will most definitely be a factor this weekend as he returns to Dover with some excellent track history early in his career. He picked up a career-worst 12th place finish this Spring but came into this season with four straight Top 5 finishes to start his Cup career at the track. In an even smaller sample size, Daniel Suarez has also impressed here early in his career with three straight finishes of 8th or better. Matt Kenseth won here in May 2016 and has not finished outside of 12th in his last four races at Dover but was also in much better equipment in those races so temper your expectations. Kyle Larson finished 10th here in the Spring which was decent considering the early struggles for the Chevy's but in 2016 he was dominant finishing 2nd and 5th with a combined 378 laps led.
Top 5 Career Track History at Dover
Even with about a seven-point buffer to move on in the playoffs last week, Jimmie Johnson still went for the win and it ended up costing him an 8th championship. You can bet he will be going for the win once again this week at arguably his best track as he leads all active drivers with 11 career wins and a 9.1 average finish. Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, and Kyle Busch are next in line with three career wins a piece with Busch winning the playoff race here in 2017. The other members of the "Big 3", Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick, are the only other drivers with multiple wins here. Harvick won here in the Spring leading 201 laps while Truex won't the playoff race here in 2016 leading 187 laps.
Top 5 Current Form (Last Six Races)
Following the carnage that was the final lap of the Roval, Joey Logano jumps to the #1 spot in the form ranks. He finished the first round with two top 10's in the three races and over the last six races, has four Top 10 finishes for a 7.8 average finish. Kyle Larson limped to the finish line at the roval and that pass of the stalled out Jeffrey Earnhardt proved to be just enough to sneak him into the second round. It also helped that he finished 2nd and 7th in the first two races of the first round and over the last six races, he has been good for fantasy leading 372 lap led. Kurt Busch also advanced to the second round after a 5th place finish at the Roval which was needed as he started the first round with 21st and 18th place finishes. Teammates Ryan Blaney and Brad Keselowski round out the top 5 after both drivers advanced to the second round after wins in the first round.
Pre Qualifying/Practice Targets
The "Big 3"
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr have won three of the last four races here at Dover and with qualifying rained out will start 1, 2, 3. I will have a piece of each of them this week but won't decide who I will have more exposure to until I see the results of the final two practices on Saturday. Stay tuned for updates on my cheatsheet
Going down into the next tier of pricing, one driver stands out above the rest. He was #1 in me pre-qualifying model as he returns to Dover with four Top 5 finishes in five career races and has been very consistent lately with a top 10 finish in two straight playoff races and eight of his last 10 races overall.
He was safely in a position to advance last week at the Roval and still pushed for the win. Now he goes back to a track where he has a whopping 11 career wins and no more championship to worry about. Look for the #48 to do everything possible to get that first win of the season.
The rained out qualifying has the #6 car starting 28th this week which gives Kenseth some place differential value at a low $7K price tag. Although he is less competitive equipment this time around, he has finished 12th o better here at Dover in eight of his last nine race with six Top 10's. I will take a Top 20 finish at these prices.
At his price, we don't need a whole lot for him to hit value while he helps us get a couple elite drivers in our lineups. He starts 30th this week and has finished Top 25 in three straight races here at Dover.
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.
- NASCAR Homestead Auto Racing: (AP Photo/Terry Renna)