2020 NCS Pennzoil 400

Las Vegas

Laps: 267

Dominator Pts: 200.25

Fast Laps: 133.50

Laps Led: 66.75

First off want to start out by saying, thank you NASCAR.  The improvements made to not only the tracks but the cars to help improve safety were shown on Monday evening.  After seeing what happened and fearing the worst, it just shows the continued dedication to safety and improvement in the sport.  I also want to say the response time by the first responders was incredible, so thank you to those who helped in that time, also thank you to all that cover our sport in a must be the first to break the news society, everyone acted professionally and waited for the correct news to come out and not jump the gun to be first.  As we keep Ryan and his family in our thoughts and hope to see him back at the track soon!

Now let’s dive into the race for Sunday, Qualifying was canceled so the field is set by 2019 owner points meaning the JGR cars of Kyle Busch (pole) and Martin Truex Jr. (2) will start on the front row.  

*As of writing this article there are rumblings that the JGR Toyotas and the Toyota of Christopher Bell had issues in tech and may have to fall to the rear.  There has been no official word yet from NASCAR.*

10k+

Kyle Busch (1):  This is a home town race for Kyle, he will be a fade for me, he mentioned to MRN radio that they had work to do on their cup car and didn’t sound too happy about it, I don’t like drivers that don’t like their car.  He does have an average finish of 9.5 and has scored an average of 46.67 DK points over his last 6 races here.

Kevin Harvick (3):  Harvick has finished in the top 4 the last 2 races here, he does have a 39th place finish which skews his 15.17 finishing average.  He was going to be a fade for me but now he may be in play pending the Toyota news.  I just felt there are too many other strong cars around him to pay off the 12k price tag.

MTJ (2): this was a guy that I wanted to pivot too out of this group, but we must wait on the Toyota news now, he has an average finish of 4.67 here with 2 wins in the last 6 and has a series best 77.75 average.

Brad Keselowski (8):  Brad offers the best PD upside in this group, pair that with his 3.0 avg finish and he makes for a very strong play Sunday he’s averaged 72.71 DK Points.  He didn’t show dominating speed in practice but seems the Penske cars rarely do and show up front come race day; I expect the same.

Joey Logano (5):  this here is the guy to pivot to from the top 4 guys, 4.50 avg finish and 69.88 DK average, and he won this race last year in the Spring.  I will have shares of Joey come Sunday and possibly a ton.

Denny Hamlin (4): Will be a full fade for me this week, short turnaround and media tour for the Daytona 500 win, I just don’t see the value in playing him, I’m sure he’s mentally beat and now the news of him possibly to the rear just go ahead and move on from Denny this week.  HE only has 1 top 10 finish in the last 6 here and scoring only 23.67 Dk points that will never pay off.

8k-9.9k:

My favorite plays in this range:

Kyle Larson (6): Showed some speed in practice 3rd in 30 lap average could be a solid pivot from the 10k plus guys has run well here average finish of 10.17 and 40.08 DK points. I will have some shares.

Alex Bowman (12):  had the best 30 lap speed in final practice offers some PD upside finished 11th, 6th last year in the two races here.  I do like Bowman this week He will garner some ownership from the 30 lap average alone.

Ryan Blaney (7):  Take  away last Springs 22nd place finish and Blaney has scored a top 7 in the other 5 races in my data, with an average finish of 8.33.  He will be a good play and I think he could go low owned based on his starting spot.  

JJ (18):  Showed some speed in final practice and kind of goes under the radar due to his recent struggles, he does have an average finish of 13.0 the last six.  Not sure what direction to go with him yet.  May take the wait and see approach.  He has averaged 41.79 over the last 6 here which could pay off.

My Fades:

Chase Elliott (10): average finish here 20.67 and has been boom or bust here Finishes of 4,9,36,34,3,38.  Play elsewhere.  Good pivot though given the 2 top 10s with this package.

Kurt Busch(13): Average finish of 23.17 and only averaging 13.42 DK points.

Byron (11):  I think he will continue to improve and needs a solid finish after finishing 40th last week.  But with an average finish of 21.75 no thanks.

Erik Jones (16): average finish of 22.40 and 14.8 DK points, not worth the play IMO.

6k-7.9k:

Not a lot in this range to be honest

My favorite plays in this range:

Aric Almirola (14): Showed great speed in both practices 6th in best 15 lap, and had the best overall practice average in P2, I expect him to be high owned due to that and his starting spot offers some PD upside, he has an average finish of 12.33 and averaged 39.54 DK Points.

Stenhouse (26): this is based on starting spot and the fact he finished 6th in this race last year.  

Austin Dillon (21): again, starting spot and an average finish of 14.33 over the last 6.

Tyler Reddick (25):  Had the 7th best 30 lap average in final practice, I think it’s worth a flyer in this range.

My fades: 

Pretty much the rest.  I don’t have an issue playing Buescher in the 17 car Stenhouse finished 6th in that car last year.

The rest of the Field:

Ross Chastain (15): Everyone will be focusing on Chastain at this tag in the 6 car filling in for Newman.  Starting 15th makes me nervous though.  He showed speed in practice 2nd in the 30 lap average.  Newman finished 10th and 24th last year at Vegas in the car, and Newman is the hardest guy to pass in the business.  I expect a 12-18 place for Chastain come Sunday at the best and that may be enough to pay off the 6.1 tag as he was priced in the 77 car not the 6.

Daniel Suarez (35):  May be the chalk play at that starting spot, the equipment isn’t as good as last years but he has experience.  And don’t need much at 6k and his starting spot offers the best floor.

Ty Dillon (24) Nemechek (29): are two others I would take flyers on this weekend as in this range we just want guys to finish the race and not be the first ones out.  Both these guys fit the bill.

Corey Lajoie (30):  I like Lajoie as a punt, I’m a little nervous after last week on how he will react being involved in what happened on the last lap albeit not his own doing he had nowhere to go.

Thanks for reading!!!  My DK tag is radjer. Hope to see some success this weekend and Enjoy the race.  

*All my data is compiled from the last 6 races unless otherwise noted.  Feel free to reach out and join the Slack Chat for more in depth race day analysis.