Dan Beaver

Statistically Speaking

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Start or Park: Overton's 400

Friday, June 29, 2018


Fantasy players have a lot of decisions to make in a short period of time on short weekends like the one faced before the Overton's 400 at Chicagoland Speedway. Increasingly, NASCAR has been testing two-day shows. One reason for this might have been given by Denny Hamlin this week on the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Download when he suggest that NASCAR might be looking at midweek shows in the next few years.

Whatever the cause, it is easier to accommodate on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track since those courses dominate the calendar. Five races have been run so far in 2018 and there has been a lot of consistency on this course type to help players make their decisions.

Level One

Start The Dominators
Nothing has happened since the last race on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks to suggest that Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, or Martin Truex Jr. are going to slow down. While circumstances may keep them from sweeping the top three spots, it is an almost foregone conclusion that one of them is going to win this week while the other two finish somewhere in the top five or on its cusp. In unlimited games, start all three and fill in with other marquee drivers.

Start Chase Elliott
Last week’s second-place finish got Chase Elliott into the Fantasy Power Rankings top 10, but in order to stay there, Chevrolet drivers as a whole are going to have to figure out what is going on with the aero-package. Any week could feature the race that sees that breakthrough and when it happens, Elliott is going to be among the top five. Either he or Kyle Larson is due to win sometime in the next several races.

Park Clint Bowyer
Chicagoland has not been one of Clint Bowyer’s better tracks in recent seasons. It has been four years since he cracked the top 10 there; in fact, he hasn’t even finished on the lead lap in that span of time despite having a controversial and illegal suspension in 2015 while driving for Michael Waltrip Racing. The Stewart-Haas Racing organization has improved to the point that Bowyer should be able to reverse both of those trends, but he is unlikely to get a second career top-five on this track and that is what is needed at this level to make him attractive.

Level Two

Start Ryan Blaney
Even before he joined Team Penske, Ryan Blaney performed well at Chicagoland. He finished fourth in his rookie season after starting in the back half of the field when qualification was rained out. Last year, he started 12th and finished 11th. In better equipment this year, he should easily score another top-10 and that will make him a solid value in games where he is priced rightly.

Start Paul Menard
Paul Menard took over Blaney’s ride from last year. While he has not had the same success in it on all track types, the Wood Brothers have benefited from their alliance substantially on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. Menard has two top-10s on this course type (Las Vegas and Kansas) and finished outside the top 15 only twice in five races. One of these was a 17th (at Atlanta in week two), so there is a strong likelihood that he will finish somewhere in or near the top 15.

Park Jimmie Johnson
Jimmie Johnson may be the victim of his own success – especially on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. He’s been so great on these tracks throughout his career, that he has an exacting sense of what he wants. Unfortunately, either the current Chevrolet setup or the general evolution of the sport is keeping him from getting that and it shows in his results.

Level Three

Start Bubba Wallace
Three of Bubba Wallace’s five best finishes have come on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks; his other two were on the restrictor-plate Daytona International Speedway. He finished eighth at Texas Motor Speedway this spring – and while that was partially aided by high attrition in that event, he had another top 15 last year at Kentucky Speedway while driving in relief for Aric Almirola. A 16th at Charlotte Motor Speedway in the Coke 600 was equally impressive. If all goes well, he should be able to earn another result in the teens.

Start Trevor Bayne
Back behind the wheel of the No. 6 this week, Trevor Bayne will get an opportunity to show how well this team has improved under the guidance of Matt Kenseth. Additionally, one should never underestimate the strength of a motivated driver. Bayne has not been faultless on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks and he’s missed the last two races at Kansas and Charlotte, but he had a pair of top-20s in the three races before losing his fulltime status. His highlight in 2018 was a 12th at Texas.

Previous Start or Parks

Coke 600 (Charlotte) 
KC Masterpiece 400 (Kansas) 
O'Reilly 500 (Texas) 
Pennzoil 400 (Las Vegas) 
QuikTrip 500 (Atlanta) 



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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