DraftKings NASCAR:  Pennzoil 400
DraftKings NASCAR: Pennzoil 400

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Pennzoil 400

Location: Las Vegas
Course: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

Denny Hamlin became the first driver since Sterling Marlin to win consecutive Daytona 500 races, and his delayed win Monday evening gave him three of the last five Daytona 500 wins. He  enters this weekend's race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the same position as last season, but it was Joey Logano who won that visit. Las Vegas has been a happy hunting ground for Ford and Toyota in recent years. The two manufacturers have won the last six races at the circuit, and Chevrolet has won just two of the last 10. Toyota and Ford also took the top-three finishing positions in both races at the track last season with Martin Truex Jr. winning in fall. Logano's victory last spring saw him lead 86 of the 267. While Hamlin has one foot already in the playoffs, those drivers who were competitive in Daytona will be aiming to capitalize on their chances this week. Penske Racing is one organization looking to do just that. Brad Keselowski finished inside the top three in both Las Vegas races last season and was one of the contenders for the win in Daytona until trouble bit him. Many say the season truly gets underway only after the Daytona 500, and for all intents and purposes that is an accurate assessment. The return to 1.5-mile tracks is where championships have been made recently.

Key Stats at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

  • Races: 24
  • Winners from pole: 1
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 8
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 12
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
  • Fastest race: 154.849 mph

Previous 10 Las Vegas Winners

2019 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2019 spring - Joey Logano
2018 fall - Brad Keselowski
2018 spring - Kevin Harvick
2017 - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 - Brad Keselowski
2015 - Kevin Harvick
2014 - Brad Keselowski
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Tony Stewart

Las Vegas Motor Speedway is a traditional 1.5-mile distance in a tri-oval configuration. These types of tracks were dominated by Ford and Toyota last season with Toyota taking command as the season advanced. The format of the track means teams have a large database of information pertaining to setup and how to adjust their machines to the prevailing conditions. This race last season did not have the long stretches dominated by a single driver like we've seen. Logano and Kevin Harvick led more than 80 laps each and there were 19 official lead changes in total. The fall race had 24 lead changes and Joey Logano led more than 100 laps, though. However, drivers and teams know this track well and generally can maintain an early advantage if they are able to find one. Also, significant to note is that attrition at the circuit is generally low and requires careful suspension setup due to the bumps in the corners. For these reasons fantasy owners should pay close attention to 10-lap average speeds in practices leading up to the race when they choose their rosters. Restarts and track position are important throughout the distance at this circuit and qualifying holds much more significance than last week. For example, five of the top-six finishers in this race last year started in the top 10. Only Kurt Busch and Brad Keselowski started deeper in the field to finish in the top five.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values 

Kyle Busch - $12,400
Kevin Harvick - $12,000
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,600
Joey Logano - $10,700

DraftKings Tier 2 Values 

Kyle Larson - $9,800
Chase Elliott - $9,500
Ryan Blaney - $9,200
Kurt Busch - $8,900

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

William Byron - $8,500
Jimmie Johnson - $8,400
Erik Jones - $8,200
Clint Bowyer - $8,000

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $7,600
Austin Dillon - $6,900
Chris Buescher - $6,700
Ross Chastain - $6,100
Ty Dillon - $5,700

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $12,000
Chase Elliott - $9,500
Ryan Blaney - $9,200
Cole Custer - $7,100
Chris Buescher - $6,700
John Hunter Nemechek - $5,400

Kevin Harvick heads the lower-risk lineup option for Las Vegas after posting the fastest 10-lap average in Friday's final practice. He has two wins here and was fourth and second in last year's visits. Chase Elliott has two top-fives from six Las Vegas starts and was a top-10 car in the opening practice. Representing Penske Racing in this option is Ryan Blaney, who was in the top 10 speeds in both practices and is looking to finish one place higher than he did last week. Cole Custer has also shown early speed with his Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. He drove for Rick Ware Racing here in 2018 and was the Xfinity pole sitter at the track for three consecutive races, including both races here last season. Chris Buescher also brings Ford power to this lineup. He was 15th fastest in final practice. Finally, John Hunter Nemechek appears to have a strong machine early this week. He was 11th in the 10-lap averages in final practice and was ninth in single-lap speeds. He finished sixth and eighth in his two Xfinity races at this track last season.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Joey Logano - $10,700
Denny Hamlin - $10,200
Jimmie Johnson - $8,400
Aric Almirola - $7,800
Ross Chastain - $6,100
Ty Dillon - $5,700

Joey Logano didn't survive to fight for the win last week, but he could be there at the finish this weekend. He is the defending winner of this race and had the fourth-fastest time in opening practice. Denny Hamlin will have a lot of work to do to win back-to-back races, but he was eighth in the 10-lap averages from final practice despite missing significant practice time in the first session after inspection penalties from last week and Friday. Jimmie Johnson has started his final season in the Cup series with pace and that looks true again this week in Las Vegas. He led final practice in single-lap times and was second behind Harvick in the 10-lap runs. He has four track wins but didn't convert top-10 starts into top-10 finishes here last season. Aric Almirola was the rabbit in first practice and led the Stewart-Haas Racing team on the timesheets early as the entire team looks very strong this week. He was also 10th in the 10-lap averages in final practice. Ross Chastain is filling in for Ryan Newman after last week's heavy crash, and he put the pedal to the metal in practice taking the third-fastest 10-lap average along with sixth in single-lap speeds in final practice. Finally, Ty Dillon also looks like a bargain heading into Sunday after climbing to 12th in 10-lap average pace late Friday along with third in single-lap speeds in opening practice. He appears to have the speed to claim his best finish at the track Sunday afternoon.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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