The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Sparta, Kentucky this week for the Quaker State 400.
Most drivers in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series either really like Kentucky or they hate it. The track is one of the roughest surfaces on the circuit and drivers usually have a hard time navigating the bumps in the turns. By looking are the driver’s stats at Kentucky it is not hard to figure out which drivers enjoy the track and which want to move on to New Hampshire.
Fantasy teams will want to start using the drivers who have dominated the races on the intermediates tracks this season. Jimmie Johnson leads the series with four wins on similar tracks. Kevin Harvick has a win and five second-place finishes on the intermediate tracks. Martin Truex has led the most laps at the last three races of this size and Kurt Busch won the last race at Michigan. These four drivers will be the best option this week.
Here are my picks for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky.
Yahoo Group A Picks
There will be many good choices in Group A of Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing this week. Jimmie Johnson and Kevin Harvick will be the popular picks but there are other drivers to consider for the race Sunday.
Matt Kenseth is the best selection if you want to go against what the completion may have this week. He has a series-best average finish position and a series-best driver rating at Kentucky. Kenseth has never finished outside the top seven at the track. He will run up front Saturday night.
Kyle Busch is also a great pick this week. He has the second-best driver rating and the second-best average finish position at Kentucky. He has finished every race at the track in the top 10. Busch will be one of the drivers to watch this week.
My sleeper pick in Group A is Jeff Gordon. The only track Gordon has never won a race at is Kentucky. Getting Gordon to Victory Lane Sunday must be high on Hendrick Motorsports list this week. Do not be surprised to see Gordon add another career achievement to his resume Saturday night.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A.
Harvick has never won at Kentucky, but that could change this week. He has been the best driver this season on the intermediate tracks. Harvick has one win and five second-place finishes on tracks similar to Kentucky. He has led a series-high 530 laps in the eight races. Harvick should be one of the drivers racing for the checker-flag Saturday night.
Kevin Harvick may have dominated the races this season on the intermediate tracks, but no driver has been better than Johnson at taking home the trophy. He has fours and led the second-most laps this season on tracks similar tracks. Johnson has never finished outside the top 10 at Kentucky. Do not be surprised to see Johnson win his first race at the track this week.
Other good choices: Matt Kenseth,Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski
Yahoo Group B Picks
This will be the week for fantasy teams to select the top drivers from Group B. It was not smart to use allocations with Kurt Busch, Martin Truex Jr. or Kasey Kahne at Sonoma or Daytona, but these drivers are too good to ignore this week.
My sleeper pick for Group B is Kyle Larson. He has not been able to duplicate his success from his rookie season, but he is starting to run better. In his only race at Kentucky, Larson qualified sixth and was running in the top five when he was involved in an accident. He should run near the top 10 again Saturday night.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B.
Busch is the best choice in Group B this week. He won the last race at an intermediate track and has led the third-most laps this season on similar tracks, although he has not competed in every race. Busch will qualify up front, lead laps and be one of the drivers competing for the win this week. Do not be afraid to use an allocation with him for the race at Kentucky.
Martin Truex Jr.
If you are looking for a driver who may lead many laps in the race Sunday and earn your fantasy team 20 bonus points, Truex Jr. is your driver. He has led the most laps in the last three races at the intermediate tracks. His stats at Kentucky are not spectacular, but the cars Truex has this season are much better than the cars he has had in the past. Truex should easily add another top-10 finish this week.
Kahne is on the team for bonus points for qualifying more than my intensions to use him in the race. He won the pole for the last race on an intermediate track and should qualify up front for the race Sunday. Kahne has finished all of his starts at Kentucky in the top 13. There is little risk in selecting Kahne for your team this week.
Edwards has not been the best driver this season on the intermediate tracks, but he did win the race at Charlotte. The problem with Edwards this season has been finishing races. He has been able to qualify well and usually runs in the top 10, but when it is time to race for the checkered-flag Edwards finds his way outside the top 10. He is on too good of a team for this trend to continue. Look for Edwards to rebound with a nice race at Kentucky.
Other Good Choices: Jamie McMurray, Paul Menard, Kyle Larson and Clint Bowyer
Yahoo Group C Picks
There will not be many good options in Group C this week. Danica Patrick and David Ragan will be popular picks, but neither driver has had much success at Kentucky. Ryan Blaney is also a good pick, but he has his issues as well. This could be a good week to take a chance on a driver like Justin Allgaier.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C.
Blaney will be back in the No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford this week. Blaney will be a good pick this week, but he does come with some risk. If qualifying gets rained out he will miss the race since 46 cars are entered this week. Blaney has run well when his car does not suffer engine problems. He had engine failure in three races this season. Fantasy teams should select Blaney this week and use him for bonus points for qualifying.
Patrick has been one of the best secrets in fantasy this season. It is hard to get top-20 finishes out of your Group C drivers this season, but Patrick has been one of the best. She has finished five of the eight races on the intermediate tracks inside the top 20. Look for Patrick to finish inside the top 20 again Saturday night.
Other Good Choices: Justin Allgaier and David Ragan
Fantasy Live Picks
The best strategy for Fantasy Live this week will be to select a combination of drivers who could lead many laps (Drivers who were fast in practice and start up front) and some drivers who start further back with an opportunity to earn bonus points for finishing differential. Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex are the best bets to lead the race Sunday. The two drivers have led 460 laps in the last three races on the intermediate tracks. Fantasy teams should select these two drivers and build their team around them.
Here are the five drivers I selected for Fantasy Live for the race at Kentucky:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $29.00
Driver 2: Martin Truex Jr. $25.00
Driver 3: Matt Kenseth $26.00
Driver 4: Casey Mears $12.25
Driver 5: Alex Bowman $7.75
Pick to Win: Matt Kenseth
* Driver prices based on prices at Daytona
Fox Fantasy Racing
The strategy for Fox Fantasy Racing is to select drivers who qualify in the back with a good opportunity to move to the front. This games rewards teams who find drivers who can work their way through traffic. Fantasy teams will need these bonus points to finish at the top of their league standings.
Do not overlook the cheap drivers though. Kyle Busch must be included on every team at the price of $5,400. He will score more points than most of the drivers that cost twice as much.
Here are my selections for Fox Fantasy Racing for Kentucky:
Driver 1: Kevin Harvick $12,500
Driver 2: Martin Truex Jr. $10,900
Driver 3: Kurt Busch $10,800
Driver 4: Matt Kenseth $10,400
Driver 5: Kyle Busch $5,400
* Driver prices based on prices at Daytona