The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Watkins Glen, New York this week for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen.
This will be the series second trip to a road course race this season. Watkins Glen is more suited for stock cars, because it a high speed track that requires less finesse than Sonoma. The word fantasy NASCAR fans will hear a lot this week is “Wheel-hop”. Teams that can keep all four tires on the track win have the most speed in the race.
One of the mistake fantasy teams making is selecting the road course ringers. Do not fall into this trap because the Sprint Cup drivers are the best in the world. They can get around Watkins Glen as well as any specialist in the field.
Here are my picks for the Cheez-It 355 at the Glen.
Yahoo Group A Picks
This will be a good time to take a chance with drivers you have many allocations left in Group A of Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing. Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson have had success at Watkins Glen, but they are too good on the 1.5-mile tracks to be used Sunday. Take a shot with Brad Keselowski or Jeff Gordon this week.
My sleeper pick in Group A is Joey Logano. He is not the first name people think of when it comes to road course racing, but Logano can hold his own. He has finished three of the last four races at Watkins Glen in the top seven. He would be a good pick for your team this week.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A.
Kyle Busch (7)
How can you select a fantasy NASCAR team without Kyle Busch on it? He is on one of the hottest streaks since Jimmie Johnson won four consecutive races in 2007. It does not matter what kind of track the series competes on, Busch has won at all of them.
Busch has run well at Watkins Glen in his career. He has two wins and eight finishes in the top 10 in his 10 career races at the track. Busch has led 188 laps in the races at Watkins Glen so he knows how to stay out front. Coming off a win at the last race on a road course, Busch is the driver to beat this week.
Brad Keselowski (8)
Keselowski is not on a hot streak like Kyle Busch, but he has been running very well the past month. Now the series competes at one of his best tracks. Keselowski had three consecutive runner-up finishes at Watkins Glen before his 35th place finish last year. Keselowski should be the driver chasing Busch to the checkered flag Sunday.
Other good choices: Joey Logano,Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon
Yahoo Group B Picks
The best choices in the field this week will be from Group B. The problem is every fantasy team will probably have A.J. Allmendinger on their team. You will need to make up ground on the competition by your other selections from this group.
Sam Hornish Jr. is my sleeper pick for Group B. Most fantasy teams probably have all nine allocations left with Hornish and this could be the week to spend one of them. He has not competed here since 2012, but he finished fifth in that race. Hornish has a chance to run in the top 10 this week.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B.
A.J. Allmendinger (8)
Allmendinger should be on every team this week.. JTG Daugherty Racing will have all their chips on the table at this race trying to make it to Victory Lane. They know that Allmendinger is a road course ace and his best chance to make the Chase is by winning on Sunday. He got the job done in 2014 and he will have a good chance to do again this season.
Carl Edwards (4)
Edwards is a driver that flies under the radar on the road courses. He is better at Sonoma than he is at Watkins Glen, but he does know his way around this track. Edwards has five top-five finishes and seven finishes in the top 10 in his 10 career starts at the track. He should easily add another top-10 finish to his resume this week.
Tony Stewart (8)
Stewart witll be a controversial pick this week. He has been the worst driver in Group B all season. Why should I select him for my team this week? The one thing Smoke has been able to do is qualify his car. He should be able to start upfront and provide bonus points for qualifying. These points will come in handy this week.
Stewart is also very good at Watkins Glen. He has five wins and finished 12 of his 14 starts in the top 10 at the track. If he looks good in practice, he could be worth a shot this week.
Kyle Larson (5)
Larson ran well at Watkins Glen last year and I will take a chance with a repeat performance from the No. 42 team this week. In 2014 Larson qualified 23rd and drove through the field to a fourth-place finish. He should be much better in his second trip to the track.
Since I know I am start Allmendinger no matter what happens in practice, I only need one other driver to pair with him. I will take a chance that Larson is the best choice in Group B Sunday.
Other Good Choices: Martin Truex Jr., Jamie McMurray, Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch
Yahoo Group C Picks
There are not many good choices in Group C this week. Fantasy teams will have to decide if they want to use a road course ringer (Boris Said), an Xfinity Series driver (Chris Buescher), or the Sprint Cup regulars. I do not expect any of these drivers to finish inside the top 15.
My sleeper pick in Group C is David Gilliland. He has not been very good this season, but Gilliland is a good pick on the road courses. He has finished the last three races at Watkins Glen inside the top 25. That is not bad for a driver in this category.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C.
Justin Allgaier (9)
This would be a great race to use an allocation with Allgaier. He has only competed in one race at Watkins Glen, but he performed very well. Last year Allgaier qualified 15th and finished 17th. Most fantasy teams would take the same type of results from Allgaier Sunday.
Danica Patrick (5)
Patrick has not been great at Watkins Glen but what she has been able to do is make her way through the field. In 2013 she started 35th and finished 20th. Last year she started last and finished 21st. If Patrick can qualify the car in the top 25 she should be able to finish inside the top 20.
Other Good Choices: David Ragan, Boris Said and Chris Buescher
Fantasy Live Picks
The strategy for Fantasy Live this week is not difficult. There are only 90 laps in the race so there will only be 45 bonus points available for leading laps. Fantasy teams will not be able to score well using all of the drivers starting up front. Selecting drivers who start in the back with an opportunity to score points for position differential will be the strategy to use at Watkins Glen.
Fantasy teams should build a balanced lineup this week using cheaper drivers like Carl Edwards, Clint Bowyer and A.J. Allmendinger. There is no need to pay a premium price for the top drivers this week.
Here are the five drivers I selected for Fantasy Live for the race at Watkins Glen:
Driver 1: Brad Keselowski $26.25
Driver 2: Kyle Busch $26.25
Driver 3: Carl Edwards $21.00
Driver 4: A.J. Allmendinger $15.25
Driver 5: David Ragan $10.50
Pick to Win: AJ Allmendinger
* Driver prices based on prices at Pocono
Fox Fantasy Racing
The strategy for Fox Fantasy Racing will be the same as Fantasy Live this week. Selecting drivers who qualify in the middle of the pack and can move to the front will score your team the maximum amount of bonus points this week. Be sure to check out the Happy Hour speeds for the popular drivers who start in the back. If they run fast laps in practice, they should be able to make their way through the field once the green flag is waived.
Here are my selections for Fox Fantasy Racing for Watkins Glen:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $14,300
Driver 2: Brad Keselowski $11,000
Driver 3: Carl Edwards $8,300
Driver 4: Kyle Busch $7,200
Driver 5: A.J. Allmendinger $7,700
* Driver prices based on prices at Pocono