Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR Hot-Starts: Toyota-Save Mart 350

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series goes road racing for the first time this season is at Sonoma Raceway this Sunday afternoon for the Toyota-Save Mart 350.

The strategy for setting your DraftKings lineups at road courses is all about finding value. Certain drivers are better at these tracks than they are at the typical oval track. Alternatively, some drivers are worse. If you can spot those drivers who may have had a bad run in qualifying, and are a safe bet to move towards the front, then you are getting your money’s worth. Positive position differential points are king at a track where the number of laps are fewer.

Then there are drivers who seem to dominate races no matter where they are. One of those drivers is our first hot-start this weekend.

This week’s fantasy forecast is backed by DraftKings, the No. 1 platform for daily fantasy sports. You can jump in on all of the daily fantasy NASCAR action at Sonoma by signing up here for a free entry into one of this weekend’s contests. All you have to do is make a $5 deposit to get started! 

Martin Truex Jr. ($10,300)
Starting Position: Third

Truex is red hot this season. He has two wins, during both of which he led over 100 laps. In fact, he leads all drivers in laps led, and sits comfortably in second place in series points standings. He won the first two stages of the race last weekend at Michigan, but came up short during the final run, finishing sixth.

Truex won this race in his final season with Michael Waltrip Racing back in 2013. During that win he led 51 of the 110 laps. Last season, Martin finished fifth after starting from the second row, his second top five in 11 Sonoma races.

The second row is right where he will be starting again on Sunday. Truex was fast off the trailer and posted the quickest lap time in first practice. He has a great handle for this track and should find himself battling at the front again. Truex was impressive on the two road courses last season, and has a chance to pick up his second career win at Sonoma on Sunday.

Matt Kenseth ($7,500)
Starting Position: 38th

Kenseth was on a list of drivers to avoid this weekend until Friday afternoon. As a result of losing his engine during practice, Kenseth will be starting dead last on Sunday in a backup car.

Kenseth is historically bad at road courses, and all together does not seem to enjoy the two weekends a year when the series finds themselves making right-handed turns. Yet, because of how DraftKings scoring works for NASCAR, a last place starting position has competitors drooling over the potential of those coveted positive position differential points.

Kenseth is averaging a 21st place finish over his career at Sonoma. In 17 starts, his best finish is eighth, and that was back in 2008. Last season, he finished 20th, and 21st the year previous.

If Kenseth can maintain pace and finish in 21st, that is 17 points worth of positions, on top of the 23 points awarded for 21st. 40 points from a driver who only costs $7,500 is great value. In the weird world of daily fantasy sports, Kenseth blowing an engine, moving to a backup car, and starting from the back gives him more upside than many of the other drivers.

Post-Qualifying Optimal Lineup:

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