We’re at Dover International Speedway this weekend for the kickoff race of Round 2 of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Dover is a 1-mile concrete oval where track position is quite important. Looking back at the last time we were here (May), all of the top 9 finishers started 15th or better, and the top 6 qualifiers all finished 8th or better. So keep that in mind when making your Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest lineup this weekend: this could be the time to pick the guys starting up front.

Click here for the starting lineup for Sunday’s race at Dover. You can also find the speeds from Practice #1 on Friday by clicking here. For speeds from the second practice (Happy Hour), click 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.*

Drydene 400 400 Slingshot Picks

Kyle Larson 2018 Kentucky Fantasy NASCAR Credit One Bank
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Kyle Larson ($11,900) – Denny Hamlin may be on the pole for Sunday’s race but Kyle Larson has the best car. Through both practice sessions here on Friday, the #42 Chevrolet was the fastest, and it was entirely apparent in Happy Hour, when Larson posted both the fastest lap and the best ten-lap average. As far as track history goes, Kyle has five top 5s in eleven career starts at “The Monster Mile,” and that includes a 3rd-place finish here back in May. The #42 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 2nd when we get going on Sunday but I expect Larson to stay up front all day and pick up a good chunk of Stage points. I’m perfectly fine with rolling the dice on a guy like him in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this weekend even without the place differential potential.

Clint Bowyer ($10,700) – If I were to ask you who had the 2nd-best average finish over the last six races, how long would it take for you to get to Clint Bowyer? Without that prompt, I’m assuming pretty long. But anyway, Bowyer continues to ride his little hot streak right now, and over those last six races, he’s finished 8th or better in five of them. And here at Dover, he has three top 10s in the last four races, so it’s all looking good for Clint and this #14 heading into Sunday’s Drydene 400. Bowyer didn’t have blazing fast speed here at Dover on Friday but I’m still expecting a top 10 finish out of him on Sunday. He starts back in 17th so that should translate to a great points day in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest, too.

Alex Bowman ($10,400) – All of the Hendrick cars looked super fast on Friday during practice, and I’m expecting a big weekend out of them. Looking at Alex Bowman specifically, his track record here at Dover is pretty awful, but the #88 Chevrolet did finish 2nd here back in May, so you have to like that. Additionally, Bowman is coming off of that 2nd-place finish at the Roval, and ended up 6th or better in two of the three races in Round 1 of the Playoffs. The #88 Chevrolet qualified 12th this weekend but I don’t see why Bowman can’t go up and grab a top 10 finish on Sunday–if not better.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,400) – Jimmie Johnson has conquered Dover International Speedway 11 times in his 35 career starts, of course he’s on the table as a potential fantasy pick this weekend. Another reason you have to like him, though, is because of how fast the #48 Chevrolet was on Friday; I had Johnson clocked as the 4th-fastest in terms of overall speed, and he ranked 2nd in ten-lap average in both sessions. Johnson qualified 11th for Sunday’s Drydene 400, and although that is kind of high, don’t forget what I said about track position at Dover. I’m hoping Jimmie can get some Stage points on Sunday to make up for the lack of place differential potential. Of course, if you wanted to go a different route in this price range, Ryan Newman ($9,200) is sitting there, and he qualified 24th, so he has some room for place differential points as well. I just didn’t see a lot of speed out of the #6 Ford in practice this weekend, while the #48 Chevrolet had plenty of it.

Ty Dillon ($7,300) – Six of the last seven Cup Series races overall have ended with Ty Dillon inside the top 20, and three of the last four have ended with him in 16th or better. So, yes, there’s a reason I’m paying $7,300 for him in the Slingshot Fantasy Auto Contest this weekend. Another reason, though, is that Dover has been a very good track for Ty over the years, as he has finished between 14th and 24th in four of the last five races at “The Monster Mile.” Additionally, the #13 Chevrolet ended up 25th in qualifying here this weekend, so there’s room for Ty to move up on race day as well. I also don’t mind Bubba Wallace ($7,200) in this spot, either, for what it’s worth. He starts 26th and finished 23rd in this race one year ago.

As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.