The Setup – Penzoil 400
By Tyler Miller

The Daytona 500 is in the rear view mirror. While we are all focused on the health and long-term well-being of Ryan Newman this week, we need to take some time to prepare for the next race weekend. Las Vegas Motor Speedway, a 1.5 mile intermediate race track, is hosting the Penzoil 400 presented by Jiffy Lube. One year ago, Joey Logano led 86 laps en route to victory. Pole sitter Kevin Harvick led 88 laps and finished the race 4th. The only cautions during that race were the stage breaks, there were no on-track incidents one year ago. Could we see a similar race on Sunday? Let’s get started.

Race Distance: 267 laps (400.5 miles). Stage 1 ends on lap 80, Stage 2 ends on lap 160.
Lineup Lock 3:30 pm eastern Sunday
2019 Spring winner/Pole Sitter: Joey Logano (Started 10th)/Kevin Harvick (Finished 4th)
2019 Fall winner/Pole Sitter: Martin Truex Jr. (Started 24th)/Clint Bowyer (Finished 24th)

Past Winners: Spring/Fall (Starting Position)
2018: Kevin Harvick (2nd)/Brad Keselowski (13th)
2017: Martin Truex Jr. (2nd)
2016: Brad Keselowski (4th)
2015: Kevin Harvick (18th)
*There was no fall race prior to the 2018 season

Daytona 500 Recap:
What went right?

I am very happy with the Daytona 500 results. There were moments immediately following the race where I didn’t care at all about the money, I just wanted to make sure that Ryan Newman was ok. Daytona and Talladega are unpredictable races and they have the potential for terrifying wrecks. Thankfully Ryan survived and NASCAR continues its streak of not losing a driver in the top three national touring series since the 2001 Daytona 500.

Victory Lane wrote up 4 of the top 6 points scoring drivers on Fan Duel. Denny Hamlin was the top scoring driver with the win, 79 laps led and + 20 differential. Ryan Blaney finished second leading 4 laps with +25 differential. Brendan Gaughan scored the 4th most fantasy points and Clint Bowyer scored the 6th most points on Fan Duel. Chase Elliott was also a solid play, scoring the 14th most points on Fan Duel, finishing the race 17th, 23 laps led, and +8 differential. Reed Sorenson ending up being my value play on Draft Kings which worked out well for a minimum priced driver. Sorenson ended up crashing late but finished 31st which was a + 9 differential.

My Fan Duel lineup ended up being Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Clint Bowyer, Ryan Blaney, and Brendan Gaughan. This lineup scored 317.7 and cashed in every contest I entered. I played a similar quick pick lineup with Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Matt DiBenedetto, and Brendan Gaughan which scored 277.1 and paid 3x my entry fee in the $1 quick pick single entry tournament.

My Draft Kings lineup scored 323.75 with Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Clint Bowyer, Brendan Gaughan, and Reed Sorenson. That score was good enough for an average payout of 3x entry fees including a 28th place finish in the Casual $5k Slingshot. Since I primarily play Fan Duel, I still qualify for casual contests on Draft Kings and I plan on taking advantage of that for as long as possible due to the lower pay lines.

What went wrong?
It is easy to blame Kyle Busch’s engine for not scoring more points on Sunday/Monday. I thought Kyle Busch was the best play of the race so I never had a thought to play anyone else. Had I played Chase Elliott instead of Kyle Busch my score would have increased to 345.1 on Fan Duel and 360 on Draft Kings. On to the next race.

What to watch for in practice and qualifying:
Logano and Harvick? Statistically, Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick are the clear choices for this weekend. Do their practice speeds reflect this past success or has someone else emerged as the driver to beat at Las Vegas?

Who’s filling in for Newman? At some point this week Roush Fenway Racing will announce a replacement driver for Ryan Newman. Assuming that driver is minimally priced, is it the right value play in DFS on Sunday?

Can Hendrick bounce back? Hendrick Motorsports had a dreadful Daytona 500 with 3 of 4 drivers finishing 24th or worse. Can they bounce back at Las Vegas? Jimmie Johnson has a strong history at this track but hasn’t here since 2010. Keep an eye on the Hendrick drivers during practice and qualifying.

What Vegas thinks (Opening lines via VegasInsider.com)

Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick are favored to win at 9-2. Chase Elliott is the only Hendrick driver to break the 20-1 threshold at 14-1. I like Joey Logano at 7-1, I think he is being overlooked and should be considered a favorite with Harvick and Busch.

Kyle Busch 9-2
Kevin Harvick 9-2
Martin Truex Jr. 5-1
Brad Keselowski 6-1
Joey Logano 7-1
Denny Hamlin 10-1
Kyle Larson 10-1
Chase Elliott 14-1
Ryan Blaney 20-1

Driver Ratings Las Vegas:
1. Kevin Harvick 104.0
2. Joey Logano 103.3
3. Jimmie Johnson 102.9
4. Kyle Busch 101.8
5. Martin Truex Jr. 97.6
6. Brad Keselowski 95.5
7. Chase Elliott 95.5
8. Kyle Larson 93.7
9. Ryan Blaney 92.0
10. Denny Hamlin 83.0
11. Kurt Busch 83.0
12. Erik Jones 81.9
13. Ryan Newman 80.5
14. Austin Dillon 77.9
15. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 73.0

Average Running Position:

1. Joey Logano 9.162
2. Kyle Busch 10.230
3. Kevin Harvick 10.722
4. Chase Elliott 10.765
5. Jimmie Johnson 10.938
6. Martin Truex Jr. 11.380
7. Ryan Blaney 12.072
8. Kyle Larson 12.555
9. Brad Keselowski 12.627
10. Denny Hamlin 14.502
11. Ryan Newman 15.199
12. Kurt Busch 15.742
13. Austin Dillon 16.578
14. Daniel Suarez 16.954
15. Erik Jones 17.367

Laps Led
1. Jimmie Johnson 582 (12.7% of laps run)
2. Kevin Harvick 544 (11.9)
3. Joey Logano 433 (12.4)
4. Martin Truex Jr. 292 (6.8)
5. Brad Keselowski 280 (8.0)
6. Kyle Busch 254 (5.9)
7. Kurt Busch 96 (2.2)

2019 Spring Top 10
1. Joey Logano
2. Brad Keselowski
3. Kyle Busch
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Kurt Busch
6. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
7. Aric Almirola
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Chase Elliott
10. Denny Hamlin

2019 Fall 10
1. Martin Truex Jr.
2. Kevin Harvick
3. Brad Keselowski
4. Chase Elliott
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Alex Bowman
7. William Byron
8. Kyle Larson
9. Joey Logano
10. Ryan Newman

2018 Spring Top 10
1. Kevin Harvick
2. Kyle Busch
3. Kyle Larson
4. Martin Truex Jr.
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Brad Keselowski
7. Joey Logano
8. Erik Jones
9. Paul Menard
10. Aric Almirola

2018 Fall Top 10
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Kyle Larson
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Joey Logano
5. Ryan Blaney
6. Aric Almirola
7. Kyle Busch
8. Daniel Suarez
9. Ryan Newman
10. Paul Menard

Stay Tuned for updated content Saturday night.

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