Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: TicketGuardian 500

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series travels to ISM Raceway for week No. 2 of the West Coast Swing at ISM Raceway. The 312-lap race will feature higher horsepower than Atlanta and Las Vegas, in addition to higher downforce. That will equal higher speeds. Qualifying position should be important in this race, though there are drivers who finish well after qualifying mid-pack.

In order to succeed and put yourself above the cash line, you will want drivers who have a fast car, lead a large amount of laps, and finish well (or several spots ahead of where they start). Remember, DraftKings adds or subtracts from where the driver qualifies in the race. Check before the race in case any drivers in your line have to start from the back. For example, Jimmie Johnson will start 15th on Sunday. If he were forced to start in the rear for any reason between now and the race, DraftKings would keep his initial qualifying position, and you could possibly lose points if he doesn’t win or finish better than 15th.

The following drivers are meant to serve as a basis for your lineup. Good luck!

DraftKings Picks

Kevin Harvick ($12,800)
Career at ISM: 32 starts, 9 wins, 16 top fives, 21 top 10s
Average finish at ISM Raceway: 9.3

For the second week in a row my first pick (and most expensive one) is Harvick, and for good reason. Harvick has a dominating track history here, having won nine races and finishing in the top 10 21 times out of 32 races. Out of the last 10 races at ISM, he has led 1105 laps, over 600 more than the next closest driver. Harvick also won this race a year ago.

A week ago, the Stewart-Haas Racing driver scored 85 points at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after leading 88 laps and having 52 fastest laps in the race. He is somewhat risky due to his price, but after qualifying in eighth position, he could pay off the salary. You really can’t go wrong choosing him in your roster.

Kyle Busch ($12,200)
Career at ISM: 27 starts, 2 wins, 9 top fives, 19 top 10s
Average finish at ISM: 11.4

Again, a driver risky from a fantasy perspective, Kyle Busch is a good bet to win this race. In fact, he won the fall race last season, and finished second to Harvick in the spring. Kyle Busch led 128 of the 312 laps in the 2018 spring race, and 117 laps in the fall. In the previous seven races at ISM Raceway, he has finished in the top 10 every time. Six of those seven races saw Kyle Busch finish in the top five. This year, he has completed all three races in the top 10, and the top five in two of those.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver is one of the hottest drivers on the circuit today and would be an option, should you decide not to play Harvick in your line. Busch qualified in the fourth position and can earn you points for potentially leading laps. His three teammates also qualified in the top 10 (Denny Hamlin in third, Martin Truex Jr. in ninth and Erik Jones in 10th). All three have quick cars and can score big points for your line.

Kurt Busch ($8,800)
Career at ISM: 32 starts, 1 wins, 7 top fives, 18 top 10s
Average finish at ISM Raceway: 14.2

The 2005 Subway Fresh Fit 500 race winner at this track has finished in the top five in two out of three races so far this season. While he has a great track record at ISM Raceway, much of his success happened several years ago. However, he and his team proved last weekend in Las Vegas that they are willing to take risks, after staying out while the rest of the field pitted. They succeeded in this strategy and took home a top five finish.

Stewart-Haas Racing have had strong cars, especially within the last few seasons. Kurt Busch (who qualified 16th) and Aric Almirola (14th) have both performed well here and can earn you points for positive point differential, as well as fastest lap points. They are not too expensive in price, either. Perhaps you could stack the whole team in your line, though that would be risky (due to the volatility of racing).

Chase Elliott ($9,300)
Career at ISM: 6 starts, 0 wins, 2 top fives, 4 top 10s
Average finish at ISM Raceway: 9.5

Elliott has a pretty good track history here, though the sample size is somewhat small. However, he does have the potential to lead many laps, as he is starting on the front row for this race (in second). In his six races, he has led 156 laps. He also can give you points for fastest laps (66 total for both races last year).

Hendrick Motorsports historically runs well at this track, with Johnson leading the way. Johnson qualified 15th, while Alex Bowman and William Byron are starting sixth and seventh, respectively. All four drivers have the equipment and talent to finish well and earn big fantasy points for your line.

Kyle Larson ($9,900)
Career at ISM: 10 starts, 0 wins, 3 top fives, 4 top 10s
Average finish at ISM Raceway: 14.2

Larson unusually qualified in 31st position; most of his previous races here, he started within the top 10. The Chip Ganassi Racing driver has a fast car, and has led laps at ISM also. Since he is starting so far back, he has the potential to give us an extreme amount of fantasy points in our roster.

This season, Larson and his team has made mistakes on pit road, after having stellar performances throughout Atlanta and Las Vegas races. Will they be able to avoid pit road troubles and finish strong? We will have to wait and see.

Honorable Mention

Ryan Newman ($7,100)
Career at ISM: 33 starts, 2 wins, 10 top fives, 12 top 10s
Average finish at ISM Raceway: 16.8

Newman is my honorable mention this week (along with teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) due to their starting position and their performances so far this year and at this track. Newman won this race in 2017, while Stenhouse finished in the top 10 at Las Vegas last week. Newman, starting 18th, and Stenhouse, 19th, are low in salary and can help save money if you choose one of the more expensive drivers in your line.

Dark Horse Performer

Matt DiBenedetto ($7,100)
Career at ISM: 8 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at ISM Raceway: 26.2

I have DiBenedetto as my Dark Horse Performer due to him driving for a new team this year. He is risky because of his price and past performances at ISM, but the Leavine Family Racing driver (who has an alliance with JGR) has proved that he can run well. His Daytona 500 may have ended in heartbreak, but he showed that he has the drive and the talent to finish well (especially since he qualified 25th). Despite qualifying there, he was 10th fastest in practice Friday, so he does have some speed on offer. He can save you some money to insert one of the more expensive drivers in your lineup.

About the author

Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor and involved with photos, social media and news editing. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.

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Dorene Tomlinson

Excellent! For me to read anything about sports is rare-so you got me reading this!

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