Dan Beaver

NASCAR Fantasy Live Preview

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Fantasy Live: Overton's 400

Wednesday, June 27, 2018


This week, the series gets back to basics with a race on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track. For the sake of handicapping, we tend to lump Chicagoland Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway, and Kentucky Speedway together because the drivers who excel on them are typically the same.

Six drivers have four or more top-10s in the races run so far this year. They are Kyle Larson, Kurt Busch, Joey Logano, and of course the Big Three: Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, and Martin Truex Jr. There are not going to be a lot of surprises this week, so choose from among the marquee drivers and teams.

Chase Elliott
Coming off a dramatic top-five at Sonoma Raceway, Chase Elliott enters a track that has been extremely kind in the past. As a rookie, he finished third at Chicagoland. Last year, he improved and ran second to Martin Truex Jr. It is time to stop asking when Elliott is going to win; just play him by the numbers until Chevrolet turns their season around and hope you have him on the roster at the right time.

Martin Truex Jr.
Martin Truex Jr. has more momentum than Elliott. He won last week for the second time in three races. His Toyota 350k victory was the fourth time in five events that he finished second or better. And there is the not-so-little matter of his back-to-back Chicagoland wins in 2016 and 2017. Truex was the class of the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks last year and he is the driver most likely to step up and challenge Harvick and Busch on this course type.

The Dominators
Do we really need to explain this? Between them, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have won every similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track race this year. If you are playing in the NASCAR America Fantasy League, you don’t have to worry about allocation management. But even in allocation management games, this is one of the times you will want to have the dominators on your lineup. If you can’t have both, make sure you have Harvick.

Brad Keselowski
Brad Keselowski finished fifth in the 2011 race at Chicagoland. He hasn’t finished worse than eighth on this track since. No one else comes close to matching his seven-race streak. Equally important, he has a pair of wins in that timeframe with trophies in 2012 and 2014. Team Penske has not turned a corner yet that suggests they are going to challenge the Big Three, but top-fives are well within reach.

Greatest Differentiator

Denny Hamlin
Denny Hamlin has a current four-race streak on this track of results sixth or better. He won the 2015 MyAFibRisk.com 400 to kick off the Chase with a guarantee into the next round. And with Joe Gibbs Racing, he is part of one of the two juggernaut organizations that have dominated the season. Hamlin has an opportunity to become only the seventh different winner this season, but he hasn’t had a top-five in three races and that could have him flying under the radar.

Garage Pick

Matt Kenseth
It is only a matter of time before Roush-Fenway Racing gets things turned around. If you are confident with the rest of your roster, having Matt Kenseth in the garage could be one of the greatest differentiators. He won the 2013 Geico 400 and has not finished outside the top 10 since. The odds are long that he will score another single digit result unless everything goes right, but he could be well worth the gamble.

Red Flag

Kurt Busch
Kurt Busch once had a great record at Chicagoland. He posted three consecutive top-10s from 2013 through 2015, but his last two results have been disappointing. Busch finished 13th in 2016 and 19th last year. So far in 2018, he has not been able to score a top-five on this track type and if he does not perform well in practice or qualification, it might be an indication that he is going to finish outside the top 10 for the second time in 2018 on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track.



Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 12 years with a little help from his >500,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.
Email :Dan Beaver



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