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Sunday, August 14, 2022

NASCAR DFS: FireKeepers Casino 400


This article is part of our NASCAR DFS series.

FireKeepers Casino 400

Location: Brooklyn, Mich.
Course: Michigan International Speedway
Format: 2.0-mile D-shaped oval
Laps: 200

NASCAR FireKeepers Casino 400 Race Preview

Another road course visit last week meant another win for Tyler Reddick. It was Reddick’s second series win, and both have come on road courses. His victory kept the playoff picture largely the same with Ryan Blaney and Martin Truex Jr. in the final transfer positions on points alone and Kevin Harvick on the outside looking in. This week features a return to high-speed ovals with Michigan International Speedway firmly in the sights. Blaney is this race’s defending winner, and a successful defense of that win this weekend would steady playoff nerves. Blaney isn’t the only one feeling pressure, though. Four races remain for drivers to win their way into the championship battle, and anything can happen as the conclusion of the regular season looms ahead.

Key Stats at Michigan International Speedway

  • Number of races: 104
  • Winners from pole: 21
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 62
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 78
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 7
  • Fastest race: 173.997 mph

Previous 10 Michigan Winners

2021 – Ryan Blaney
2020 II _ Kevin Harvick
2020 I – Kevin Harvick
2019 fall – Kevin Harvick
2019 spring – Joey Logano
2018 fall – Kevin Harvick
2018 spring – Clint Bowyer
2017 fall – Kyle Larson
2017 spring – Kyle Larson
2016 fall – Kyle Larson

The closest circuit to Michigan that the NASCAR Cup Series has raced this season is Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. That track hosted the second race of the season and was notable for the number of spins and mishaps that occurred through the weekend as drivers adjusted to the characteristics of the new car. Teams have a much better handle on the car now, but engine power and handling will be the keys to victory this week. The track does have a preferred line, but its wide turns enable drivers to run different lines based on handling. That characteristic also enables plenty of passing, which creates close racing throughout the field. Pitting under green is less of a penalty than at some of the shorter circuits, too. The long track also can make strategy an important factor. Multiple races in the past have come down to fuel mileage. Typically, though, caution periods can converge the strategies and make it more of a battle of track position. For this reason, teams must focus on both short- and long-run pace.

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NASCAR Projections

DraftKings Value Picks for the FireKeepers 400 (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Chase Elliott – $10,900
Kyle Larson – $10,700
Kyle Busch – $10,500
Denny Hamlin – $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Martin Truex Jr. – $9,500
Ryan Blaney – $9,300
William Byron – $9,200
Christopher Bell – $9,000

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Joey Logano – $8,800
Daniel Suarez – $8,600
Kevin Harvick – $8,400
Alex Bowman – $8,200

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Austin Cindric – $7,700
Chase Briscoe – $7,500
Bubba Wallace – $7,400
Chris Buescher – $7,100

NASCAR DFS Picks for the FireKeepers Casino 400

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Larson – $10,700
Ryan Blaney – $9,300
Daniel Suarez – $8,600
Austin Cindric – $7,700
Chris Buescher – $7,100
Ty Gibbs – $6,600

Three-time Michigan winner Kyle Larson (DK $10,700, FD $13,000) could use a victory to regain some momentum and build consistency before the playoffs get underway. He led 28 laps to win at Fontana and finished third in his last two Michigan visits. Defending winner Blaney (DK $9,300, FD $11,000) needs a win to get the playoff questions out of his mind. He has been fast all season but needs some better luck. With two top-fives in the last three Michigan races, he could be a contender for Victory Lane this week. Fantasy players will remember Daniel Suarez (DK $8,600, FD $9,000) being in position to win at Fontana. The win didn’t come then, but he does have a victory this season. This track should pose the same opportunity to put himself into position for the finish, too. Trackhouse Racing has been consistent all season, and this could be another chance for Suarez to race at the front. While this will be Austin Cindric‘s (DK $7,700, FD $7,200) first series Michigan start, we know Team Penske has the horsepower to win this season. He finished 12th at Fontana in February and has been consistently finishing in the top 10 since June. Another team that has shown the power to run up front is RFK Racing and Chris Buescher (DK $7,100, FD $6,200). He finished 15th in this race last year and should be capable of even more with this year’s equipment. Ty Gibbs (DK $6,600, FD $7,500) will be the lone Toyota selection this week. He will make his third series start filling in for injured Kurt Busch, and is already turning heads with his racing. He finished 16th and 17th in his first two races, which is remarkable as he has never driven this Cup Series car before. Fantasy players should have confidence that he can do even better this week and finish inside the top 15.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Ross Chastain – $10,000
Martin Truex Jr. – $9,500
Kevin Harvick – $8,400
Alex Bowman – $8,200
Bubba Wallace – $7,400
Austin Hill – $6,400

Ross Chastain‘s (DK $10,000, FD $12,000) last two finishes don’t reflect how well he actually raced. He was in position to win both times but came away with poor results. Had things gone better the last few miles of each of those races, he could be entering this week on a streak of eight straight top-10 finishes. Fantasy players should expect him to be in contention for the win this week, but he’ll need to avoid falling afoul of both NASCAR officials as well as Denny Hamlin. A win this week would certainly help Martin Truex Jr. (DK $9,500, FD $10,500) sleep better the next few weeks. He still hasn’t visited Victory Lane this season but hasn’t been far off the mark. He has never won at Michigan but finished third or fourth in four of the last five races there. Harvick (DK $8,600, FD $8,500) is a five-time Michigan winner who needs a win as badly as Truex does. Fantasy players probably won’t want to pass on him this week after he finished first or second in five of the last seven Michigan races. Alex Bowman (DK $8,200, FD $8,800) could also use a boost. He isn’t desperate for a victory, but he also hasn’t finished in the top 10 since May. His Hendrick Motorsports engine should be an advantage for him this week to make a return to the top-10 and start building more confidence for the playoffs. On the other end of the momentum spectrum is Bubba Wallace (DK $7,400, FD $7,800). Wallace is now 20th in points after three consecutive top-10 finishes. This is the best form of his career, and he should feel confident of grabbing another top-10 this weekend. Finally, Austin Hill (DK $6,400, FD $5,500) will make his series debut this week for Richard Childress Racing. He is competing in his first full time in the Xfinity Series and already has two wins under his belt. Like Gibbs, Hill should be a reliable driver aiming to make all the laps and safely deliver as much as the equipment will allow.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it’s possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.

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