The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is set to run the 11th race of the season on Sunday at Dover International Speedway. Chase Elliott won the pole in Friday’s single-car qualifying, and in addition to being the most recent race winner of the season, he’s also the most recent race winner here at Dover.
Races at the “Monster Mile” typically see the same faces make their way toward the front. This makes it a little easier to make Fantasy NASCAR picks, although the weather isn’t doing us any favors this weekend. In addition to Practice #2 getting fogged out on Saturday morning, there’s a high likelihood that Sunday’s Gander RV 400 will be at least delayed due to rain. This also means that the drivers will be hitting, essentially, a ‘brand new’ track compared to what they practiced on on Saturday, as all the rubber will wash off overnight. Will the drivers that were fast in Saturday’s only practice session be the best on Sunday (or Monday) as well? We’ll see. Click here for the starting lineup for this weekend’s Gander Outdoors 400. Also if you’d like to analyze the practice results from Saturday’s session, you can do so by clicking here.
*Please note: the picks and suggestions below are my opinions and strategy for the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. These are not meant to sway your thinking in any way, but rather give you insight into the drivers I am most likely to pick on Sunday.*
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Picks for Dover
NOTE: Martin Truex, Jr. has to start at the rear for Monday’s race at Dover but will NOT be scored from there. I am now going with this lineup: Kurt Busch ($11,200), Kyle Larson ($10,800), Ryan Blaney ($10,600), Erik Jones ($10,300), and Chris Buescher ($6,900).
Martin Truex, Jr. ($12,800) – It’s hard to turn down Kyle Busch ($13,300) and his huge place differential potential this weekend, but Martin Truex, Jr. is a great alternative (and at a discount) here at Dover. The #19 Toyota will roll off the grid from 13th for Sunday’s Gander RV 400 but Truex should be a top 5 threat early in the race, and through the whole day. Over the last five races here at “The Monster Mile,” Martin has just one finish outside of the top 5, and that was a 15th-place result last fall–which only happened because he had a speeding penalty in the final 100 laps. Speed-wise, Truex was 2nd-fastest in Saturday’s practice session and had the 3rd-best ten-lap average.
Kurt Busch ($11,200) – There’s a reason Kurt Busch is second only to his brother Kyle in terms of the top scoring drivers in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest: the #1 team can rarely qualify up front. This weekend, Kurt ended up 19th in qualifying despite being the fastest car in the opening practice session on Friday. Now, in terms of race speed, Busch wasn’t overly impressive during Saturday’s post-qualifying practice (18th in ten-lap average), but his teammate, Kyle Larson, had a blazing fast car, and that should help this #1 team get pointed in the right direction on race day. Kurt finished 5th in both Dover races here last season, and while I don’t see him finishing that high here on Sunday, a solid top 10 is more than likely.
Kyle Larson ($10,800) – He’s probably going to end up being the chalk pick of the week in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, but I just can’t ignore the speed in the #42 Chevrolet this weekend. Larson qualified 3rd for the Gander RV 400 but had the field covered by nearly a tenth during Saturday’s practice. So if the #42 team can avoid issues this weekend–which has been a struggle all year–you have to consider Larson as the favorite to lead the most laps and win the race on Sunday. He starts 3rd, so picking him in this Slingshot game is risky due to the potential for major negative place differential, but Larson loves this track and has posted a top 6 finish in half of his ten career starts here. I’m rolling the dice with Kyle Larson this weekend. I think this team finally turns things around.
Daniel Suarez ($10,200) – Daniel Suarez is a perfect 4-for-4 when it comes to finishing inside the top 10 at Dover International Speedway, and with a mid-range salary of $10,200, that makes me like Daniel even more in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest. He qualified 14th for this weekend’s Gander RV 400, and while I wish that was a little more towards mid-pack for additional place differential points, 14th isn’t bad. Speed-wise, the #41 Ford looked solid on Saturday even though the driver wasn’t happy with the speed, as Suarez wound up 6th-best on the ten-lap average chart and 6th-best when it came to 20-lap average as well. A top 10 finish on Sunday would be a good value for a driver at Suarez’s price point and starting spot.
Landon Cassill ($5,000) – Just a team-filler here. I don’t particularly like reaching down this far in the barrel when it comes to Fantasy NASCAR, but the reason I’m doing so this week is because there’s no drivers in that sub-$7,000 range that I’m overly confident in. You could make the case for Chris Buescher ($6,900) or Ty Dillon ($6,800), as they start 30th and 25th (respectively), but neither’s career stats here at Dover are very good. Landon Cassill starts 31st and should be able to pick up a couple positions by the time the checkered flag waves. Really what I’m hoping for in this spot is that Landon doesn’t wreck, but even then, the damage will be minimal. For what it’s worth, Cassill finished 26th at Bristol and 28th at Martinsville this year, which are the last two tracks under 1.5 miles that we have raced at.