NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Toyota/Save Mart 350
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers who crash out of the race is a must, of course!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
Last week NASCAR's longest night was made even longer by a dominant Kyle Larson performance at his best configuration of track. Larson led 327 of 400 laps at Charlotte Motor Speedway en route to winning all three stages and the race. Larson picked up his second win of 2021 in the effort, and he and the rest of NASCAR's best head to Napa Valley for their third road course test of the season. Sunday's race will feature 90 laps around Sonoma's 2.52-mile configuration, which includes the carousel for the second time in Cup Series history.
With no practice or qualifying for the event, the starting lineup for this race was set through NASCAR's 2021 qualifying procedure, which includes last race finishing position, the fastest lap in the last race, and overall point standings. That formula put Larson on the pole, and teammate and road course specialist Chase Elliott will join him on the outside of the front row.
With that in mind, let's preview the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma on FanDuel.
Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000): Starting 17th as the the only driver to win at this track since the start of 2018, Truex is the top option in daily fantasy, although at +430 odds to win on FanDuel Sportsbook, he is not the betting favorite for this weekend's event. Between the start of 2016 and end of 2020, Truex finished seventh or better in 12 of 14 road course events, including three wins, and while Chase Elliott ($14,500) -- the betting favorite -- has won five of the last seven road course races, Truex has been right in his tire tracks. While Truex's place-differential upside is nice following a poor run in Charlotte last week, the real reason Truex is the top dog for me is his track history. He's led 121 of 180 laps here in the last two events. Elliott has only led three in that span -- all under caution -- and while he will be a threat to lead some of this race, my pick is Truex to capture the checkered flag and raise his third straight famed wine glass in victory lane.
Kyle Busch ($13,000): While it is a little odd to not write up Chase Elliott, he might be just a little overvalued at his enormous salary. Sonoma is a very different configuration than Daytona, Charlotte, COTA, or any of Elliott's other recent wins at road courses. Sonoma features no long straightaways and much slower turns, which may be why Elliott's skill has not fully translated to full blown dominance on this particular circuit. Add in Elliott and Hendrick Motorsports' general step back with the 750-horsepower package this season, and Kyle Busch is certainly a viable -- if not preferred -- pivot for this particular race. Busch has finished seventh or better in each of the past five Sonoma races, including a win back in 2015. Busch also has some really promising 2021 road course results, as well. He won the exhibition Busch Clash at Daytona in February, and he had a top-five average running position at COTA. Busch starts third as a potential stacking partner with Truex, his teammate, to contend at the front of Sunday's event.
Others to Consider: Chase Elliott ($14,500), Denny Hamlin ($12,000)
Joey Logano ($11,000): The guy with the best chance to win outside of Elliott and Truex may be Logano. He is certainly a step back from the road course aces in terms of both recent victories and salary, but Logano is getting close. Logano has finished third or better in all four 2021 road course events (including the February exhibition event in Daytona), and Logano has run right around the front all day, with a top-eight averaging running position in each of the events. Logano also has a top-12 average running position in each of the last five races at Sonoma despite late struggles in both 2018 and 2019. Another plug in Logano's favor is his team's speed at 750-horsepower tracks this season, as he has seven top-10 finishes at such tracks, and those skills should transfer well to Napa Valley this weekend. Logano's salary is easy to love, and he does not need a win or laps led to pay off from his starting spot of 13th.
Christopher Bell ($9,000): Bell is one of the two winners at points-paying 2021 road course races this season, as he captured the checkered flag in Daytona back in February. That should have come as no surprise given that he defeated Austin Cindric (amongst others) at the Xfinity Series race at Elkhart Lake in his final 2019 Xfinity season, and he finished second to Cindric at two other road course races. Bell had a top-15 averaging running position at both road course races last season in the Cup Series despite just a 22.5 average finish, so if luck can remain on his side -- which was not the case crashing in the rain at COTA -- Bell should be a factor alongside teammates Truex and Kyle Busch, potentially even challenging for a win. He starts 20th in the best equipment historically at this track, and he will likely carry plenty of justified popularity.
Others to Consider: Ryan Blaney ($10,000), Alex Bowman ($9,500)
Kurt Busch ($8,500): Because of his blown engine at Charlotte, Kurt Busch is starting 30th at one of his best race tracks historically in decent equipment, and that combination is mouthwatering at a salary that can be considered a bargain. Busch has finished 13th or better in every Sonoma race since 2011, including four top-five finishes and a win in that span. Busch has run well in the two road course events this season, as well, as he finished fourth back at Daytona in February and was running inside the top-12 spots before the save of the decade while his car hydroplaned between two cars at COTA two weeks ago. There is no rain in the forecast for Sunday, and Busch should be one of the most experienced starters in the event with results to back it up. While he has been oversalaried for much of 2021 with just one top-five finish this season, Busch has a stellar combination -- maybe the best in the field -- of floor and upside from his starting spot of 30th.
Ross Chastain ($7,000): Chastain -- Kurt Busch's teammate -- also had motor issues, which will have him coming from 27th on the starting grid, and Chastain has matched his veteran teammate's speed on road courses this season, as well. Chastain had a top-10 average running position two weeks ago at COTA, even driving up to second on track before being shuffled back due to pit strategy. He still finished fourth, which was his best career finish, and Chastain has had that result coming for a while on road courses. Chastain finished seventh or better in three of four races in the Xfinity Series at road courses last season -- with the exception being a mechanical issue -- and Chastain scored top-25 finishes in absolutely dreadful Premium Motorsports equipment at the Charlotte ROVAL in 2018 and 2019. Chastain actually has 90 laps on this configuration under his belt in that terrible equipment in 2019, so while he was unable to contend for the win that day, his experience may prove vital as one of NASCAR's most intriguing road course prospects.
Others to Consider: Matt DiBenedetto ($7,500), Chase Briscoe ($7,200), Aric Almirola ($5,200), Ryan Preece ($4,500)
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.