Welcome fellow race fans to FakePigskin’s coverage of NASCAR DFS for the 2018 season! Martin Truex Jr. regained his 2017 form last week at Auto Club Speedway by winning both stages and winning the race. Kevin Harvick made contact with Kyle Larson early, and finished laps down after fixing the damage, preventing him from sweeping the “West Coast Swing”.
For those of you not familiar with how NASCAR DFS is played, here is the basic rundown of how it works:
- You must select five to six drivers to race, but each driver has a salary assigned to them and you must fit their salaries within a $50,000 cap, so you cannot just load up on the top five to six drivers in the points standings.
- Points are scored by a driver’s place differential (Starting position -finishing position), fastest laps posted, laps led, pass differential (amount of cars passed – times being passed), and their finishing position.
- You will need to find the balance of your front running drivers along with your sleeper drivers you can count on to out perform their salary ranking and finish in the top 15.
The Monster Energy Nascar Cup Series begins it’s “Short Track Swing” where three of the next four races are at Nascar’s short tracks, Martinsville, Bristol, and Richmond. Short tracks are racetrack’s that are less than a mile long that lead to close racing, which leads to contact! Martinsville is a half-mile paper clip shaped racetrack where the only racing groove is the bottom groove. All drivers want this thin piece of real estate and will be very aggressive, especially at the end of the race trying to gain as many positions as possible. With there being less emphasis on aerodynamics and the lower speed the field will be more competitive as the track relies more on the driver.
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As normal, rain has interfered with the race weekend at Martinsville, cancelling qualifying. When qualifying is cancelled, the starting lineup is determined by car owner’s points (in the event one team has multiple drivers during the season). After last week’s win, Martin Truex Jr. became the point leader and will start the race first.
Just like each NASCAR DFS race, my picks are separated into three stages, my All Stars, Solid Performers, and Sleepers. Drivers, let’s start making money!
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700): One of the few tracks Truex Jr. did not win last year, he’s looking for more success this season. Truex paced the 1st and 2nd practice and will start 1st on Sunday. Over the last four races, Truex Jr. has averaged a finish of 10.75 with 189 laps led.
Brad Keselowski ($10,100): Right behind Truex Jr. both practice sessions was Keselowski.In his last four races at Martinsville, Keselowski has an average finish of 3rd, which ranks 2nd among all drivers, with a win and a worst finish of 5th! Keselowski has also led 224 laps and will start fifth on Sunday. Keselowski will want a win soon to show the rest of the field that he is a contender for this year’s championship.
Jimmie Johnson ($9,100): In Johnson’s last four races at Martinsville, he has an average finish of 9.25 with one win. Overall Johnson was won nine times at Martinsville! Due to his slow start to the season, Johnson will start 18th, but with Martinsville being a handling racetrack, the Chevrolets should be more competitive after switching to the new Camaro body style this year that has led to struggles on the bigger track.
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Kurt Busch ($8,500): Though his stats from the last four races haven’t shown, Kurt has shown performance in the first 2 practice sessions, placing 5th and 13th respectively. Kurt has had a solid start to the season, finishing in the top-15 in three of the last four races. Kurt will start 11th on Sunday and won’t have far to go to have a good finish.
Clint Bowyer ($8,300): Placing 9th in the current standings, Bowyer is part of the Stewart-Hass revolution of 2018. In the past few seasons, Kevin Harvick was carrying the torch for the team, while Harvick is still the top driver at the team, the other three cars has definitely improved their performance. Bowyer finished 10th and 11th in practice sessions and has averaged a 15th place finis in his last four races.
Ryan Newman ($7,900): Finally Draft King’s realized they’ve been undervaluing Newman for a long time and now he has to slide into my Solid Performers category. Newman has an average finish of 12th in his last four Martinsville races and placed fourth and fifth in the practice sessions. look for Newman to have a clean weekend and finish comfortably in the top-15.
Kasey Kahne ($6,600): In his last four races, Kahne has an average finish of 15.75, however Kahne has struggled this weekend so far. However, look for him to use his veteran status to his advantage over the other drivers around him. Leavine Family Racing has struggled with the new Camaro body, but Martinsville relies more on driver, handling , and sometimes pure grit, look for Kahne to grind out a solid finish.
A.J. Allmendinger ($6,400): Allmendinger is known for his road course racing skill with his background in open wheels cars, however short tracks always cater well to the road course aces due to managing the braking in the turns. Allmendinger has averaged a 14th place finish in his last four races and placed 13th and 5th in the practice sessions. He starts 25th on Sunday and should work his way through the pack for some additional points on top of his finishing position.
Yours truly put on his helmet, strapped the belts tight, and took some hot laps this weekend for the Las Vegas Corporate Challenge Karting event. Out of 20 organizations, my team finished 6th in average lap time. The field was deeper than ever before, with the winning team telling me they had been practicing every week day for 2 months! Our team only did one practice together, so we faired very well!
Good luck this week and let’s make some money! You can follow me on Twitter @ScottYoungLV and please shoot me any questions or comments.
*All driver stats are referenced from DriverAverages.com
*Practice and race results from Nascar.com
*Driver salaries are obtained from Draft Kings