Race Weekend Central

Daily Fantasy NASCAR DraftKings Forecast: 2023 Toyota/Save Mart 350

The NASCAR Cup Series travels out west to turn left and right in Wine Country. Let’s get your daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings rosters ready for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway (Sunday, June 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX).

Sonoma is the second road course on the Cup schedule; Tyler Reddick won the first one at Circuit of the Americas.

The California course is 1.99 miles, featuring a chute between turns 4 and 7 that returned to competition last year after Cup ran the Carousel in 2019 and 2021. It’s a very technical circuit, with elevation changes throughout the course.

Whoever can get clean air is likely who will stay in front should no issues arise. This is why you’ll want to wait for qualifying, as there have been six drivers who won from the pole and four from second place. However, four drivers have also won from 11th, the last one being Kyle Busch in 2015.

In the past four races at Sonoma, two were won from first or second (Kyle Larson in 2021, Martin Truex Jr. in 2018), while the other two were won from eighth (Daniel Suarez last year, Truex in 2019).

That’s a long way of saying watching practice speeds and qualifying results can help you decide who might earn a win. Practice kicks off on Saturday (June 10) at 5 p.m. ET, with qualifying starting about an hour later; both will air on FOX Sports 2.

See also
Through the Gears: Sonoma Betting Preview

Also, look at other road course races and see which drivers generally have performed well on this track type. But keep in mind that most of them included stage breaks; this year, there are no cautions at the end of the stages on road courses. That likely changes some teams’ strategies.

Before I dive into this week’s picks for Sonoma, here’s a quick review of last week’s drivers from World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway:

DraftKings SalaryDriverDraftKings Score
$10,300Martin Truex Jr.41.7
$10,100Ryan Blaney69.15
$9,600Ross Chastain6.9
$8,600Alex Bowman8
$7,200Aric Almirola29
$6,400Ricky Stenhouse Jr.-11
$6,100AJ Allmendinger26

Ryan Blaney was the lone bright spot of these drivers, with Ross Chastain, Alex Bowman and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. all scoring under 10 fantasy points on DraftKings. Ouch.

In the $30,000 Happy Hour tournament, the top score was 368.7, which had Larson, Blaney, race winner Busch, Chris Buescher, Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland. I was actually on McDowell last week but decided against writing about him. That’s why you should generally go with your gut (as McDowell totaled 47 fantasy points on DraftKings).

Here’s a closer look at the DraftKings scoring rules …

The winner on the racetrack tallies 45 points, while second place gets 42, third 41 and so on. Tenth scores 34, while 11th gets 32 and decreases by one from there through 20th. This pattern repeats for 21st through 30th and again from 31st through 40th.

Additionally, drivers can earn or lose a point depending on where they began the race. For example, if William Byron started third and won, he would gain two points in addition to his finishing position points, totaling 47 fantasy points.

Drivers also can earn .45 points for each fastest lap and .25 for each lap they lead.

NASCAR DraftKings Scoring

Now, here are my picks for Sonoma!

DraftKings Picks: Top Tier ($9,100-$10,600)

Kyle Busch ($10,100)
Career at Sonoma: 10 starts, 2 wins, 6 top fives, 8 top 10s
Average finish at Sonoma: 15.5

I had quite the dilemma in choosing the drivers in the top tier but decided to settle on Busch to start. Busch has had a few good results at road courses; most recently, at COTA, he survived the late restarts to score a second place. Also, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL, he earned top-five finishes in each of the last two races.

Prior to last year’s event at Sonoma, Busch had earned six consecutive top 10s between 2015 and 2021. He also grabbed five top fives, including a victory in 2015.

Busch didn’t have a good run last year at the 1.99-mile course, but neither did most of the Toyotas. Now that he’s with Chevrolet, I expect him to perform much better this weekend. After all, he was ranked sixth in total speed at COTA in March, according to iFantasyRace.

Ross Chastain ($9,700)
Career at Sonoma: 3 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Sonoma: 15.7

Chastain’s results haven’t been all that great as of late, earning just two top fives in the past five races (and none in the last three). But Sonoma could be the place for him to get back on the right track. He finished seventh in each of the last two races at the California circuit.

Additionally, the No. 1 Trackhouse Racing pilot has some good runs at other road courses. Chastain finished fourth in this year’s race at COTA and scored his first career win there last year. He also was fourth at Road America.

I’ll look at his practice speed to see if the No. 1 car will be No. 1 on my roster this weekend.

Austin Cindric ($9,100)
Career at Sonoma: 1 start, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Sonoma: 5.0

Last year was Austin Cindric’s first visit to Wine Country, but boy, did he deliver. He finished fifth at Sonoma after starting 25th, showing off the road course racing prowess he displayed in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.

Earlier this season at COTA, Cindric finished sixth, a few spots behind where he began (third). In fact, in the eight road courses that he’s run in Cup, he’s earned two top fives and six top 10s. One of these was a runner-up at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

If Cindric’s No. 2 Team Penske car has good pace in practice, don’t be afraid to place him in your DraftKings lineup.

(Also like: Larson, Reddick)

See also
Friday Faceoff: Does JGR Regret Letting Kyle Busch Walk in Free Agency?

Middle Tier ($7,500-$8,900)

Kevin Harvick ($8,100)
Career at Sonoma: 21 starts, 1 win, 7 top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish at Sonoma: 12.8

I’m surprised that Kevin Harvick’s salary is this low on DraftKings. I mean, sure, he hasn’t been a dominator on road courses in awhile, but he still can earn some good results. He was second at the ROVAL after beginning in 22nd, while at last year’s Toyota/Save Mart 350, he gained 19 spots en route to fourth. Also, at Road America, he advanced from 28th to 10th — that’s an extra 18 fantasy points on DraftKings. And earlier this season, Harvick finished 13th, up 16 positions from where he qualified.

Sonoma’s been fairly kind to him as well, as the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing driver placed sixth or better in six of the last seven races there. This includes a win in 2017 and a runner up in 2018, leading 24 and 35 laps in each race, respectively.

Look for Harvick to continue his strong run on this track type, as long as he keeps his nose clean.

Chris Buescher ($7,900)
Career at Sonoma: 6 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Sonoma: 15.8

When it comes to road courses, Buescher could be called the king of consistency. He’s earned six straight top-10 results on road courses, one of which was an eighth at COTA earlier this year after qualifying 32nd. He also advanced from 21st to sixth at the ROVAL and from 16th to 10th at the Indy road course, overcoming a fire in the latter race.

Last season at Sonoma, Buescher piloted his No. 17 RFK Racing Ford to second, leading four laps. In 2017-2021 (minus 2020), he finished between 12th and 19th there; his 12th place came in 2018 following a 25th-place starting position.

Oh, by the way, Buescher was tied with Suarez for first in total speed at Sonoma last year. It will be interesting to see his team’s strategy this week with no cautions for stage breaks.

(Also like: Ty Gibbs)

Low Tier

Michael McDowell ($7,400)
Career at Sonoma: 10 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 1 top 10
Average finish at Sonoma: 23.9

Aside from COTA last year, McDowell has ranked in the top 10 in total speed in the last six road courses, per iFantasyRace. He showed it last year with a third-place finish at Sonoma. 

In three other races in 2022, he started and finished in the top 10: at Road America, Indy road course and Watkins Glen International, leading 14 laps in the latter. And earlier this season at COTA, he gained eight spots on the way to a 12th place, somehow avoiding the mayhem at the end.

McDowell earned a good finish of ninth place last week at Gateway, and hopes to carry that momentum to the West Coast.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($5,900)
Career at Sonoma: 9 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Sonoma: 27.0

Sonoma isn’t usually a good track for Stenhouse, with just two top-20 finishes there. But top 20s is where he’s run in each of the last five road courses, capping off with a seventh at COTA. Some other significant runs were 15th at Watkins Glen and 13th at Indy, the latter being 25 spots ahead of where he began.

Plus, Stenhouse’s salary is low enough that you can fit two or three top-tier drivers with him in the same lineup. All you need is for him to finish in the top 20, as long as he doesn’t start in that same range (so you can earn position differential points on DraftKings).

(Also like: Gilliland)

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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