Victory Lane – Ford EcoBoost 400
By Tyler Miller – @rickybobby_jr
This is it, the final race of the 2019 NASCAR season. Weather impacted the weekend schedule with both practices rained out on Friday. NASCAR opted to cancel qualifying and use that time for one practice on Saturday afternoon. Cars will start based on owners points with Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick starting on the front row. The champion, and likely race winner, will be determined between Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Kevin Harvick. Let’s get started.
Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000/10,600) Truex is my pick for the championship. Starting 3rd, I think Truex leads the most laps and wins the race. We have seen Truex dominate races when he doesn’t practice well, but he ran top 3 times on Saturday. Barring any late race drama, I like Truex to win it all on Sunday.
Kyle Busch ($14,000/11,400) I would rank Kyle Busch 2nd out of the Championship 4 this weekend, Kyle showed strong practice speed, fastest in single lap and 5 consecutive lap average, 2nd in 10 lap average. Starting 4th, I think Kyle is a must play and I’m pairing him with Truex this weekend.
Denny Hamlin ($14,000/11,100) I think Denny is right there with Kyle on speed this weekend. I give the edge to Kyle Busch, because of starting position and the potential for positive differential points where Hamlin will likely have somewhere between -0.5 and -2 differential points. Hamlin is starting the race 1st and could lead a lot of laps in the first stage. I think Hamlin deserves consideration, but overall I am probably fading Hamlin and Harvick on Sunday.
Ryan Blaney ($10,500/9,400) The strategy I am implementing this weekend is to play two championship contenders, a driver who has an opportunity to lead laps and win (but not in the championship 4) and two mid-tier drivers who can improve on their position by 5+ spots. I think Ryan Blaney is a prime candidate for leading laps and stealing the win away from the championship four. Blaney was the fastest of the non-championship contenders in practice and the price is right to allow you to use him without having to scrape the bottom of the barrel and hope a guy who is starting 30th can finish 22nd.
Kyle Larson ($13,000/10,200) I would put Kyle Larson in the same category as Blaney, but Larson’s higher salary will keep him out of my cash game lineups. I think Larson would be a solid tournament play if you wanted to use him with one of the championship four drivers (fading the other three). Larson has a strong history at Homestead with the best driver rating, the third best average running position, and the fact that he has led over one-fifth of all the laps he’s run at the track.
Matt DiBenedetto ($5,500/7,600) When I heard that qualifying was canceled, I immediately thought of DiBenedetto. DiBenedetto’s team is 21st in owner points but he has been running much better recently. I like DiBenedetto to run in the top 15 throughout the race and finish somewhere between 12th-15th. I am locking DiBenedetto into all of my lineups this weekend.
William Byron ($10,000/8,400) I think William Byron has a solid car this weekend. Byron’s practice times were not outstanding, 20th in 5 lap average, 11th in 10 lap average, 2nd in 15 lap average, and 1st out of the 10 cars that ran 20 consecutive laps. When everyone else was losing 4-5 tenths of a second for every 5 laps run, Byron was only losing about a tenth per five laps. Byron averaged 33.08 over 5 laps, 33.20 over 10, and 33.33 over 15 laps. For comparison, Truex averaged 32.56 over 5 laps, 33.02 over 10 laps, and 33,28 over a 15 lap run. Truex was faster than Byron in all of those categories, but Byron’s times fell off less when compared to Truex. Starting 9th, you really need Byron to run a perfect race to be worthwhile playing in DFS. I think he is a little too slow in the short runs to be trusted, but he is worth considering at his speed and salary.
Jimmie Johnson ($7,500/7,900) Jimmie Johnson has celebrated more championships (7) than any other driver at Homestead Miami Speedway. Johnson has 1 win, 5 top 5s, and 11 top 10 finishes in 18 starts at the track. Since Johnson didn’t make the playoffs, he is starting the race 18th and has a good shot at improving his starting position by half a dozen spots. I think Johnson can compete for a top 10 finish and be a solid play at his salary in DFS.
Chris Buescher ($6,000/6,700) I like Chris Buescher this weekend and I think he can improve on his 20th place starting position by about 5 spots. Buescher was 16th in 5 lap average and 18th in 10 lap average during practice. I like Johnson more than Buescher this weekend, but Buescher’s price makes him more playable for me.
Drew Herring ($5,400 DK only) For some unknown reason Fan Duel does not have Drew Herring listed as a driver this weekend. On DK he is $5,400 which is a little steep, but I like the potential for a massive day in differential points. Herring is starting 37th and should be able to run around the 25th position, maybe as high as 20th if he’s having a good day. This is the car that Parker Kligerman usually races and has sponsorship from Toyota (Herring had been a Joe Gibbs Racing development driver in the Xfinity series but hasn’t run since 2017). This is Herring’s cup debut and I would play him on Fan Duel if they had him listed, assuming he’d be priced in the Nemechek/LaJoie range.
John Hunter Nemechek ($2,000/5,800) If you are going to play a low salary driver I like John Hunter (make sure you double check the name so you don’t play his dad, Corey LaJoie ($2,500/5,200), and David Ragan ($3,500/5,700) in that order. These drivers are starting 30th, 29th, and 31st. I don’t think any of them can run much better than 25th, but David Ragan does have top 20 potential from time to time. I don’t like building a lineup that relies on any of these guys, but I think that they are the best of bad options if) you are in need.
I like building a lineup around two of the championship contenders (Truex and Kyle Busch are my picks), a non-championship contender who could lead laps and win the race (Blaney or Larson), and two mid-tier drivers who can run well and are relatively reliable (DiBenedetto, Byron, Johnson, Buescher). Good luck to all our subscribers this weekend and thank you for reading my articles this season. I have really enjoyed researching, writing, and playing NASCAR DFS with all of you.
Tyler Miller is a lifelong NASCAR enthusiast who spent five years as a producer on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (2008-2013). Upon meeting his wife in Washington DC, Tyler became an Army spouse and left his career to move all over the country and help raise their two children. Tyler holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sport Communication and Electronic Media Production from Ashland University and is currently pursuing a Masters’ of Science degree in Marketing: Sports Marketing and Media, from Liberty University.