Nascar picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice
Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - South Point 400
Chris Durell will be bringing you his weekly race breakdown, top trends, and pre-qualifying targets to help you cash on DraftKings and FanDuel. You can also grab a copy of his free DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet that includes a ton of stats and a customizable model.
Now’s your chance to get DFSR PRO, which will give you access to our MLB optimizer and our new player lab! Get started for free by clicking the button below.
First time with MLB? Be sure to read our free MLB Ebooks on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.
South Point 400
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Las Vegas, NV
Track - 1.5 Mile D-Shaped Oval
20° of Banking
After a dominating win by Kevin Harvick and the #4 team at the Brickyard, the Monster Energy Cup Series heads to Las Vegas to kick off the 2019 Playoffs. Ryan Newman went into that final regular-season race tied with Daniel Suarez for the final spot and battled his way from a 22nd starting position to finish 8th and grab that final position. That means, for the first time in the 16 years of the playoffs, Jimmie Johnson will not be battling for a title. This is also one of the few seasons I can remember it being so wide open(coming from a Kyle Busch fan) which should create some tremendous racing over the next 10 weeks.
This weekends race at las Vegas is also the eighth race on an intermediate track with the full 2019 rules package so I have added that data to the sheet this week and weighed it quite heavy in the model. The biggest takeaway when breaking down that data is that no driver has multiple wins and nine drivers have an average finish between 8.4 and 12. In only four of those races has a driver led 100 or more laps and Las Vegas in the Spring was not one of them. In fact, no driver has led 100 or more laps in two straight and three of the last five races here in Sin City.
From a fantasy perspective, I will be looking to build my core around the playoff drivers and for value plays, will be looking at drivers with something to prove down the stretch. Speed also helps so be sure to check the updates on my NASCAR cheatsheet throughout the weekend and if you are a DFSR member, make sure to get into chat and grab your Members-Only sheet with all my top picks in my player pool. Let's take a look at some track history and trends and then look at my initial pre-qualifying picks.
Last Six Winners at Las Vegas
- 2019(1) - Joey Logano(started 10th)
- 2018(2) - Brad Keselowski(starting 13th)
- 2018(1) - Kevin Harvick(started 2nd)
- 2017 - Martin Truex Jr.(started 2nd)
- 2016 - Brad Keselowski(started 4th)
- 2015 - Kevin Harvick(started 18th)
Track History at Las Vegas
We can't Las Vegas without starting with Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. Logano won the race here in the Spring leading 86 laps and has finished Top 10 at the track in 10 straight races(five Top 5's) going back to 2014. Keselowski finished runner-up this Spring and has finished 7th or better in eight straight races here in Vegas with three wins(2018, 2016, 2014). Ryan Blaney finished 22nd in the Spring but came into this season with four straight finishes of 7th or better at the track. If anyone has an advantage going into the first round it is Team Penske who has been terrific here.
Kyle Busch has just one career win here at his home track but he has been very consistent overall with seven Top 5's and nine Top 10's in his 16 races here and has finished 3rd, 7th, and 2nd in his last three trips. Where he has lacked from a fantasy perspective is in the dominator department as he has not led more than 13 laps in a race in four straight. His teammate Martin Truex Jr. has been even more consistent here with Top 10's in four straight and five of his last six trips to Vegas with a win in 2017. He also leads all drivers with an average of 85.4 DK/73.8 FD points per race at this track since the start of 2017.
While Kyle Larson is still searching for his first career win here at Las Vegas, he has been consistent. He finished 12th earlier this year but had podium finishes(2nd, 3rd, 2nd) in three straight races before that and has the third-best career average finish(11.4).
Kevin Harvick has been very up and down here lately but flashed huge upside when things are going well. Over his last eight races here at Vegas, he has two wins, three Top 5's, and five Top 10's but also has finishes of 39th, 38th, and 41st in that sample size. He is coming in hot so I fully expect one of those strong runs this weekend.
Track Type History(Intermediate Tracks)
Like I mentioned in the opening, I add the data from all the intermediate mile and a half races that have used the full 2019 rules package with aero ducts(Atlanta only exclusion). I also mentioned no driver won multiple races in this sample size(7 races) but only five drivers had three of more Top 5 finishes led by Joey Logano who won the Spring Vegas race. He also leads all drivers with a 8.4 average finish in those seven races and was also one of just six drivers to finish all seven races inside the Top 20. His teammate Brad Keselowski won the Kansas race and was one of just three drivers with four Top 5's in the seven races. While he enters this week with the 10th-best average finish in those seven races, he is the only driver with multiple mile and a half-track wins this season as he also won in Atlanta.
Joe Gibbs Racing provides us with the only other two drivers with four Top 5's in the seven races led by Erik Jones who won the Southern 500 and has the third-best average finish(10.1) in this seven-race sample size. While Kyle Busch has surprisingly not one of the drivers with a win on an intermediate track, he does have a series-leading 349 laps led in the sample size with four races of 66 or more laps led.
Speaking of laps led, Kevin Harvick much like Busch has not won on an intermediate this season but has led 100 or more laps twice on the track type with 338 total.
Taking a looking at the Hendrick Motor Sports camp, Alex Bowman(10.6) and Chase Elliott(10.7) lead the way, each with two Top 5's and three Top 10's and Bowman also had a huge win at Chicago back at the end of June.
Kevin Harvick enters the Playoffs as the hottest driver in the series coming off a dominating win at the Brickyard and also has three wins and six Top 10's in his last seven races.
Denny Hamlin has finished 6th or better in seven of his last eight races including two wins(Pocono/Bristol) and six Top 5 finishes.
Kyle Larson may be entering the Playoffs as one of the drivers without a win but he has been consistent lately with five finishes of 8th or better in his last six and eight Top 10's in his last 11 races overall.
Kyle Busch had an engine go down last week but had Top 10's in six of his previous seven before that with a series-leading 397 laps led in that time.
From a value perspective, Ryan Newman has four Top 10's and eight Top 20 finishes in his last 10 races and from a non-Playoff driver perspective, don't forget about Chris Buescher. He enters the final 10 races of the season with 15 straight Top 20 finishes including nine Top 15's, and three Top 10's.
Joey Logano/Brad Keselowski
They are #1 and #2 in my model following the two practices on Friday and easily my top two drivers to target on DraftKings as both come in under $10K. They have combined to win four of the last seven races here at Las Vegas and neither has finished outside the Top 10 since 2013(Logano 12th). Keselowski is second in my practice model ranking 6th and 3rd in the two sessions while Logano is 5th in the practice model ranking 13th and 2nd in the two sessions and also posted the 3rd fastest 10-lap average in final practice. Both are core plays for me in all formats regardless of starting position.
I think with the excellent track history, fast practice speeds, and discount on the Penske cars that this will push the ownership down on some of the top drivers. This includes Kyle Busch who is the most expensive driver on both sites and while he has not won at his home track since 2009, he has finishes of 3rd, 7th, and 2nd in his last three trips. He also doesn't have a win on an intermediate track this season but has led a series-high 349 laps on the track type. He was 14th and 6th in the two practices on Friday but appears to have a good long-run car as he led all drivers in 10-lap averages in the final session.
Suarez just missed the Playoffs in his first season in the #41 car and will be looking to make a statement down the stretch. He will likely be starting Top 10 this week so it is more of a GPP play but the #41 has speed here in Vegas as Suarez is 7th in my practice model ranking 8th and 9th in the two sessions but the only issue was long-run speed(10th, 14th in 10-lap averages). Stay tuned for qualifying as he will also be in my cash game core if he was to qualify outside the Top 15.
Another GPP target I like this week is Chase Elliott. It has been a love/hate relationship for him here at Vegas with three finishes outside the Top 30 due to crashes but in the two races he has finished he was 3rd(2017) and 9th(2019). He is also 6th in my practice model and after posting the 10th fastest lap in opening practice, really found speed in the final session ranking 4th with the 2nd fastest 10-lap average.
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for five 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.