NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard
Last week's festivities of throwback weekend delivered a throwback storyline. After rain delayed the proceedings at Darlington, Erik Jones captured his second career win, and first of the season, after a summer of rumors about his job security. Jones locked himself into the playoffs, which leaves a dogfight for the final spots for non-winners in 2019 thus far. They will do so at the prestigious Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the latest crown jewel event at racing's epicenter. Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan Newman enter this weekend's cutoff race needing to perform to make the playoffs, as they are all within 26 points of each other for the final two spots.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a long, 2.5-mile track, which leaves only 160 laps led and laps completed points available. Historically, it has been brutal to pass at this flat, sweeping race track, but NASCAR's new aerodynamic package was specifically designed with tracks like this in mind. A large draft effect at long straightaways should create more runs for passing when cars are clearly faster, but as always, track position will still be vital.
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Our track preview gives you more information about the history of the track, our driver preview helps bring you up to speed on recent driver history, and our Heat Check Podcast with Jim Sannes gives you insight to how he is approaching this weekend's slate.
Denny Hamlin ($14,000): In a race without a clear dominant car, with only 160 laps to complete, I am going to default to a couple of high floor options in this tier. Kevin Harvick ($13,600) is on the pole in what should be a day where track position is king, but Harvick has led races before this season and struggled to fight his way back from issues. Denny Hamlin will certainly spend this race fighting back as well, as after a tire blew in practice, he'll start from the back, but he will be scored from an incredibly positive 33rd. Hamlin was 11th and 15th in the two practice sessions, which makes him a solid bet for a Top 15, and with four wins already this year, he may find the front as well.
Martin Truex Jr ($12,500): Same song from Martin Truex Jr, except he still has his primary car and will start 27th from the grid. Truex is strangely struggling this week, as he posted 20th and 24th in practice. This pick will lend itself to some faith in Truex and Cole Pearn to continue to adjust their race car, but again, with four wins this year, Truex has been in and around the lead on several occasions. It's worth mentioning with these two as well, Joe Gibbs Racing won both races at the sister track to Indianapolis in Pocono, so two Gibbs bullets is a great start to a cash lineup.
Kyle Larson ($11,700): Kyle Larson is peaking at the right time. With five straight Top 10s, he is sailing into the playoffs, and hopes to cap that run off with a win in the regular season finale. It would be his first of 2019, and is definitely a possibility, as he unloaded off the truck and posted the best time in first practice. At 6-1 odds in Vegas, Larson is amongst the favorites to win, and as has been the case before, it would be from a little deeper in the field starting 19th.
Chase Elliott ($10,300): This is once again a play on pass differential, as Chase starts 24th in Sunday's event. He has flashed some speed, posting 4th in first practice, but had a dismal run in final practice in 26th, and parlayed that into a forgettable qualifying effort. With ten Top-10s this season, Chase Elliott has been a stable fixture toward the front of the Cup field, and starting so deep makes him a solid compliment to the Gibbs machines of your choice.
William Byron ($8,600): William Byron has four poles in 2019, but none of those seemed to translate to a solid race car over the long, green-flag run. Byron may be in position to do the opposite this week, because while posting 10th and 12th in practice over single-lap times, he was 3rd of all qualifying drivers on the 10-lap average charts. Byron had an issue on his qualifying lap and is starting a very deep 29th, but should ascend if his practice speed carries over. He is a great fourth driver in a FanDuel lineup at only $8,600.
Matt DiBenedetto ($6,800): For the past few weeks, Matt DiBenedetto has been climbing in price--and it is for good reason. DiBenedetto keeps churning out Top 10s in his car with a Gibbs alliance, including 8th last week at Darlington. Larger tracks more dependent on car than driver have been the 95 team's kryptonite this season, but maybe they are even making gains there as well, because he flashed 5th in final practice. Unlike the last few weeks, however, DiBenedetto will have a hole to climb from starting 26th, but that only increases his floor and ceiling for daily fantasy.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.