NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Monster Energy All-Star Race
NASCAR takes a bit of a week off this week when it comes to racing for points, but Saturday night's All-Star Race will be anything but a day at the beach. A new format and the non-superspeedway debut of restrictor plates in NASCAR's top series have the race looking to be a wild card. Whoever solves the puzzle will win $1 million dollars, making aggression the main dish for Saturday's two-course meal.
It is important to note, before the main event, the Monster Energy Open will take place to add three drivers to the All-Star Race. Stars like Chase Elliott, Erik Jones, and Daniel Suarez are currently not in the main event and will attempt to race their way in. On FanDuel, no Open drivers will be in the player pool, but on DraftKings, three drivers with extremely valuable rear starting positions will be added to the pool. Keep an eye on the DraftKings player pool for who advances into the main event and becomes an instant top play.
In addition to that, we have other helpful things to know in our race preview.
Kevin Harvick ($15,000): The hottest man in NASCAR is shaping up to be the top play again this weekend. In the only practice session, Harvick had the fastest single lap time. Harvick's run on the mile-and-a-half tracks is something to behold, already winning this year at Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Kansas, and finishing second at Texas. The restrictor plates added to create some fun this weekend should limit Harvick's ability to dominate wire to wire, but he should remain at the front all night if he avoids trouble on pit road between segments, and "The Closer" is tied with the next guy as the odds-on favorite to win, per VegasInsider.com.
Kyle Busch ($12,500): On a day where Justify seems to be a shoo-in for the second leg of the triple crown at the Preakness, we may be searching to bet on a place and a show to Harvick. Kyle Busch is as good a bet as any. Despite struggling at Kansas last weekend and never really flashing the potential he showed in practice, in a race full of unknowns, the most talented driver in the field is a good bet. It's been checkers or wreckers for Busch in the event, winning last year after crashing out of two of the last three All-Star races. Kyle also finished second in the truck race on Friday night and carries that momentum in, as well.
Kyle Larson ($9,000): A mistake in qualifying has left Larson in 16th, near the rear of the field, which gives him tremendous upside for Saturday night in what will be a tight-scoring affair. Larson received an L1 penalty after appearing to be the dominant car at Kansas before late contact with Ryan Blaney left him in the dust. Will the competitive advantage being taken away affect Larson's performance? That's most likely a question for next weekend in the 600-miler. With restrictor plates limiting horsepower, the ability to use the high lane should be a huge advantage on Saturday, and Larson does it as well as any.
Denny Hamlin ($11,000): Hamlin won the All-Star race in 2015, and after qualifying toward the rear in 14th, he should be a popular play. Hamlin is considered as good as anyone at using the draft at Talladega and Daytona, and it will be a huge factor at Charlotte with the new rules package. Hamlin's bugaboo has been pit road this year, and it doomed him with a pit-box mistake in qualifying. Luckily for Hamlin, he will likely avoid a green-flag pit stop at any point Saturday night, so we can feel comfortable rolling him out, even at the steep price tag.
Kurt Busch ($8,500): Kurt Busch is too good to pass up at this price. He's been in a fast Ford all season long and was second in the combined practice session Friday afternoon. Busch is a veteran and has seen the ups and downs of the All-Star race throughout his career. The 2010 winner with Penske, he has shown the ability to be dominant when given the car underneath him. Quietly on one of the hottest teams in NASCAR, Busch could keep it going from his 15th-place starting spot, a tremendous starting position for fantasy.
Kasey Kahne ($5,000): In such an unpredictable event, why not bet on the longshot? Kahne is starting dead last after a miserable qualifying run littered with penalties, but the 95's speed seemed competitive in his run. Kahne won the race from dead last in 2008 after receiving the fan vote, and his car is actually a replica of that paint scheme this weekend. Not many have been better at Charlotte than Kahne since he entered the circuit in 2004. He has five wins at this track, including the lone All-Star Race win, although all came in much more competitive equipment. The race could be incident free, but a decent-sized pileup could work wonders for the 95 (as long as he's not involved). Salary is pretty friendly across the board this weekend, so you should be able to afford top plays without dipping down to Kahne, but leaving salary on the table by using Kahne would be a unique way to differentiate your entries.