Even though last weekend’s race at Talladega was somewhat calm compared to a typical restrictor-plate race, there is still a good chance that most fantasy owners could use a strong showing this weekend at Dover International Speedway to offset last weekend’s results.
Fortunately, Dover is a great track for a bounceback week. A lot of the top drivers in the series run well here, and last year, four drivers finished in the Top 5 in both races at Dover. Throw in the fact that most of the top-tier fantasy options also qualified up front, and I’m going to be very aggressive with my lineup construction this week.
This is especially true in Fantasy Live where stage points are king. I’m stacking my lineup in the hopes of piling up stage points and posting a massive point total. I’ve been careful with my starts in recent weeks, and it’s time to cash in on that patience Sunday at Dover.
For the Slingshot game, I’ll be using a mixture of options. Quality options starting in the middle of the pack are always worth taking advantage of because of the likelihood they provide bonus points in the place differential category. However, I’m also going to try to take advantage of Dover’s fantasy-friendly tendencies and roster one of the big names starting up front. At worst, a should be able to get a Top 5 finish and a bunch of points, and I could grab the bonus points for picking the winner.
Check out all my top Fantasy NASCAR plays for the season-long games, and make sure to finalize your lineups for Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
Larson put together two strong performances at Dover last year, leading more than 130 laps in both races and picking up a pair of Top 5s. He also finished sixth or better in all four stages. After grabbing the pole for Sunday’s race, it looks like Larson still has plenty of speed. I expect him to pile up stage points as he contends for the win.
His recent luck at Dover hasn’t been great, but Harvick still managed to earn points in three of the four stages at the track last year. He’s also led a ton of laps here with Stewart-Haas Racing. Starting on the front row, Harvick is in perfect position to earn tons of stage points, especially with the long-run speed he showed in practice Saturday.
Busch picked up his third career win at Dover last fall, and he collected points in all four stages here in 2017, finishing fourth or better in three of them. Busch enters Sunday’s race as the top scorer in this format, and after a Top 5 qualifying effort and strong practice times in race trim, he should add to his total in a big way with plenty of stage points and a strong finish.
Elliott hasn’t quite lived up to expectations yet this season, but he could really break out at Dover. He finished seventh or better in three of the four stages last year, finishing second and leading the most laps in the fall race. For his career, Elliott has never finished outside the Top 5 in four starts at Dover. Rolling off sixth with a car that appeared to be one of the best in practice, he’s in a great spot to earn those all-important stage points and arguably his best track.
He still isn’t showing elite speed on a routine basis by any means, but Johnson has shown some signs of life heading to his best track. He won at Dover last spring and finished third in the fall, finishing fifth or better in three of the four stages. Johnson also owns a ridiculous 11 wins here overall. A mid-pack qualifying run isn’t ideal, but I’m still going to take a chance on Johnson at a track that’s always been good to him. Worst-case scenario, I have to turn to my bench option.
Garage Driver – Martin Truex Jr.
Truex has an incredible resume at Dover, and last year, he finished third or better in all four stages, grabbing a pair of stage wins. I’m starting him on my bench because I have the fewest starts remaining for him among all the big names I’m using this weekend, but his upside is undeniable. If one of my drivers has trouble or Truex ends up having the car to beat, I’ll go ahead and swap him in.
Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Driver Group Game
He’s got the safe floor and high ceiling I always look for in my Group A pick. Larson has finished 11th or better in seven of his eight starts at Dover, cracking the Top 5 while leading more than 100 laps in both races last year. Starting on the pole, tipped the scales in his favor for the starting nod.
Elliott has an impeccable resume at Dover. He led the most laps and finished second here last fall, and he’s yet to finish outside the Top 5 in four career starts at the track. He’s got tons of speed again this weekend, qualifying and sixth and showing Top 5 speed on short and long runs in practice.
After Suarez picked up a pair of Top 10s at Dover as a rookie, he was on my radar heading into Sunday’s race. After qualifying seventh, I have enough confidence in him to try to squeeze a start out of him instead of burning up another start from Clint Bowyer, Erik Jones or one of the other Group B mainstays.
I’ve loved the progress Byron has shown in recent weeks as the Top 20s have started to become Top 15s. He had to strong starts at Dover as a rookie in the XFINTIY Series last year, and after qualifying 17th and looking like a potential Top 10 threat in practice, I think he can at least flirt with another Top 15 this weekend.
Slingshot Fantasy Auto Lineup
- Kyle Busch ($12,500)
- Joey Logano ($11,600)
- Jimmie Johnson ($10,900)
- Austin Dillon ($8,300)
- Ty Dillon ($6,700)