DraftKings NASCAR: Go Bowling at the Glen
DraftKings NASCAR: Go Bowling at the Glen

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Go Bowling at the Glen

Location: Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Course: Watkins Glen International
Format: 2.5-mile road course
Laps: 90

Race Preview

Kyle Busch matched Kevin Harvick's six season victories by winning last week in Pocono as the top three drivers continue their domination of the series. Fantasy players following that pattern would have to take a hard look at Martin Truex Jr. for the win this week. He is the most recent Watkins Glen winner and won earlier this season at Sonoma. However, a trip to this track means road course specialists like A.J. Allmendinger will carry higher expectations than most other weekends. Denny Hamlin and Allmendinger are two winless drivers in 2018 that have won here recently and will be hoping to solidify a spot in the playoffs by doing so again this week. The rest of the garage has caught up with the specialists, though. Gone are the days of a driver being able to come into the series for just the road course races and be a favorite for the win. More likely we'll see the same top drivers doing battle at the front as we do most other weeks. That means fantasy players will have to gather as much intelligence as possible from practice and qualifying to figure out who has the fastest car and can dominate on Sunday.

Key Stats at Watkins Glen

Number of previous races: 35
Winners from pole: 9
Winners from top-5 starters: 22
Winners from top-10 starters: 26
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
Fastest race: 104.132 mph

Last 10 Watkins Glen Winners

2017 - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 - Denny Hamlin
2015 - Joey Logano
2014 - A.J. Allmendinger
2013 - Kyle Busch
2012 - Marcos Ambrose
2011 - Marcos Ambrose
2010 - Juan Pablo Montoya
2009 - Tony Stewart
2008 - Kyle Busch

Road course racing is a track position game. Having the single-lap pace in practice to start up front is a necessity. The vast majority of races at Watkins Glen have been won from the top-10 starters, and no one has ever won starting outside of the top 20. The length of the lap means teams can experiment with pit strategy to move forward in the field, but passing tends to happen more frequently here than at Sonoma. A driver will still need outright pace to maintain whatever track position pit strategy gives them. Additionally, the pit strategy Furniture Row Racing played to perfection in Sonoma will be more difficult to execute at Watkins Glen. Harvick, Busch, and Truex have all proven themselves to be fully capable of winning on these circuits, but there door may be cracked slightly for a different name to sneak through. The long flowing track will neutralize differences in manufacturers fantasy players have grown accustomed to accounting for at ovals. Every manufacturer has won here in the last five years, and it truly will be a test among the drivers. Fantasy players will want to seek out quick single-lap times from practice where the driver has also qualified in the top 10. Looking for a driver to win who will be starting further back in the field is likely not a viable strategy this week, but could produce some finish differential points depending on the name.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $12,100
Kyle Busch - $11,800
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,500

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Denny Hamlin - $10,300
Kurt Busch - $9,300
Brad Keselowski - $8,900
A.J. Allmendinger - $8,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Chase Elliott - $8,100
Jamie McMurray - $7,700
Daniel Suarez - $7,500
Erik Jones - $6,700

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Michael McDowell - $6,100
Chris Buescher - $5,900
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $5,700
Ty Dillon - $5,400

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,800
Brad Keselowski - $8,900
A.J. Allmendinger - $8,300
Daniel Suarez - $7,500
Matt Kenseth - $6,900
Ty Dillon - $5,400

Kyle Busch has the best Watkins Glen record among the top three contenders with two victories and 11 top-10s from 13 tries. He also led 21 laps from pole position here last year. Surprisingly, he is not the most expensive driver. Brad Keselowski also has a nice price considering his Watkins Glen pedigree. He has never won at the track, but he has led at least 20 laps in the last three races here. He still needs a win in 2018, and could make the pit strategy calls that put him up front for the run to the finish. A.J. Allmendinger and Daniel Suarez are two more top road course racers that can be assets to fantasy rosters. Allmendinger is always quick at the circuit and won the 2014 edition of this race. Daniel Suarez only has one Cup start here, but raced that entire day in the top five and led 14 laps. Watkins Glen could be the best shot Matt Kenseth has at bagging a top finish for Roush Fenway Racing. He hasn't historically been a notable road course racer, but picked up the pace more recently with four straight Watkins Glen top-10 finishes. Rounding things out is Ty Dillon, who fantasy players likely wouldn't choose any other week. However, walked away with a top-20 finish in this race last season and should be capable of replicating that again this week.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $11,500
Kurt Busch - $9,300
Joey Logano - $9,100
Jamie McMurray - $7,700
Erik Jones - $6,700
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $5,700

Martin Truex Jr. is second in line among the top three drivers this week. He won the last two road course races, but probably won't be able to pull off the same pit strategy that won him Sonoma earlier this season. Still, he will be fast on Sunday and is now two race wins behind his championship rivals. Kurt Busch has been a consistent contender at this track, too. He has eight top-10s from 17 starts at the track, and four of those came in the last five visits. Wins have failed to materialize for Joey Logano and Penske Racing since Talladega, but Logano did have back-to-back top-two finishes at Watkins Glen before last year's 24th-place run. Teammate Ryan Blaney would be a good substitute here for fantasy players not sold on Logano's potential this week given his recent form. Jamie McMurray is languishing outside of the playoff positions, but should offer value to fantasy rosters this week. He has been less consistent than some other drivers, but has earned four top-15 finishes at the track from the last five starts. Joe Gibbs Racing's Erik Jones could be a solid top-10 contender this week. He started sixth and finished 10th last year, and that is great value this far down a lineup. Finally, Ricky Stenhouse Jr.'s price is right for the Glen. He isn't a road course natural, but with three top-20s in five Glen starts he offers some reliable points potential from a sixth pick.

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 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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