The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend, and while the flat corners at “The Magic Mile” can turn races at the track into a battle for track position, Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 could still be kind to Fantasy NASCAR owners.
As is often the case with flatter tracks, there has been a handful of drivers who have stood out from the pack at New Hampshire, delivering one dominant performance at the track after the next. Needless to say, these drivers should make a great foundation for any season-long Fantasy NASCAR lineup this weekend and put you in position for a sizeable point total.
Of course, loading up your rosters can be tricky at Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game depending on how you have been budgeting your driver allocations. However, I’d still recommend stacking your lineups for New Hampshire, even if you are starting to run low on starts from the top drivers. More often than not at this track, you see the drivers with the strongest cars hang around the front most of the afternoon, piling up those stage points that have become so valuable in season-long leagues. I think you can feel confident that the top options will deliver on Sunday.
This is especially true in Fantasy Live because the current contest concludes at the end of the 26-race regular season. Between then and now, we have races at Pocono, Watkins Glen and Indianapolis, and all three tracks are big enough to allow drivers to pit under green before the end of a stage, forgoing potential stage points for track position and a better shot at a race win. We also have a bit of a wild-card race at Bristol. You can worry about saving starts at these tracks where stage points are going to be much tougher to predict anyway and lean on the heavy hitters this weekend.
For Slingshot Fantasy Auto, I’m always willing to take advantage of any bigger name starting deeper in the field. Grabbing place differential points when they are close to a sure thing has been a successful strategy for me all year. Highlighted by Alex Bowman’s engine woes during the session, there are several quality options starting deeper in the field that I plan to take advantage of Sunday.
Check out all my season-long Fantasy NASCAR picks for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and good luck posting another big point total in all your leagues at “The Magic Mile” this weekend.
NASCAR.com Fantasy Live
I’m down to three starts remaining from Busch, but New Hampshire seems like a no-brainer track to use up one of them, especially after he qualified on the front row. Not only does he own a series-best eight Top 10s in the last 10 races here, but he has finished third or better six times in that span, winning twice. More importantly for this scoring system, he has piled up stage points. Busch has finished sixth or better in all six stages in the three races at New Hampshire since 2017, picking up a pair of stage wins.
Martin Truex Jr.
Truex might not have a New Hampshire win to his credit, but he has still been a dominating force at the track. He has led more than 80 laps in each of the last five races here, leading 100-plus laps four times. Truex has also reeled off three straight Top 5s at New Hampshire, finishing sixth or better in all six stages in those starts and notching three stage wins. Starting sixth, he should continue to pile up stage points at New Hampshire this weekend.
A brake issue ended his day at New Hampshire last year, but prior to the mechanical issue, Keselowski had reeled off 13 straight Top 15s here, logging eight finishes of sixth or better in that stretch. He has one of the better resumes at flat tracks among active drivers, and after grabbing the pole, he should be firmly in the mix for the race win and the stage wins. If you have the starts to spare, I think you need to use him Sunday.
He is quietly becoming one of the stronger performers at flat tracks, and his numbers at New Hampshire back that up. Blaney has earned points in all six stages here over the past two seasons, finishing in the Top 5 in two of them. He has finished 12th or better in four of his six New Hampshire starts overall, finishing ninth and seventh in his two most recent starts. His Top 5 qualifying sealed the deal for me.
Yes, he has momentum on his side after his win at Kentucky, but Busch’s numbers at New Hampshire speak for themselves. He led a race-high 94 laps here a year ago, logging a Top 10 finish and finishing fourth and second, respectively, in the two stages. Busch is a three-time winner at New Hampshire overall, and he has finished eighth or better in three of the last four races at the track. After qualifying third, he appears to have another strong car for Sunday’s race.
Garage Driver – Aric Almirola
He had an excellent run at New Hampshire last year, earning points in both stages and finishing third in the race. Almirola actually led 42 laps and had by far the best car on long runs. In fact, he probably would have cruised to victory lane had the race ended with a longer green flag run. I’m not sure if he can recapture that speed this weekend, but after he qualified in the Top 10, I think he is worth having available to plug in.
Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet Driver Group Game
Kyle Busch (A)
His starts are precious, but you just can’t beat his blend of reliability and upside at New Hampshire. Over the last 10 races here, Busch leads all drivers with eight Top 10s and a 7.6 average finish. He has six finishes of third or better in that same stretch, including three in the last four races alone. Starting second, Busch is my favorite to win the race and a bunch of stage points in the process.
Kurt Busch (B)
Busch is a three-time winner at New Hampshire, and he has finished eighth or better in three of the last four races here, leading a race-high 94 laps a year ago. Yes, he changed teams this offseason, but if his win at Kentucky last weekend wasn’t enough proof that he is still a serious threat, his third-place qualifying effort Friday should do the trick. Armed with excellent track position, Busch has a great chance to notch a lot of stage points and contend for a Top 5.
Jimmie Johnson (B)
While he rarely laps and doesn’t contend for wins at New Hampshire anymore, Johnson has remained one of the steadier performers at the track. He has six Top 10s in the last 10 races here, and he has cracked the Top 15 in six straight starts. Johnson has also earned points in five of the six stages in the three races here since 2017. Call this a conservative pick if you want, but Johnson starts in the Top 10 and looks like one of the safest bets for a solid point total this weekend.
Matt DiBenedetto (C)
I wanted to save a start from Chris Buescher this week at all costs, and while DiBenedetto has certainly had his issues with consistency at the mile-and-a-half tracks, he has held his own at other layouts. He has finished 21st or better at Auto Club, Michigan, Dover, Pocono and Martinsville, and he finished 12th at Bristol and fourth at Sonoma. At the very least, DiBenedetto should have a shot at a Top 20 Sunday, and after a surprising seventh-place effort in qualifying, his ceiling could be even higher.
Fantasy Racing Online Slingshot Fantasy Auto
Kyle Busch ($13,000)
Busch has shown the safest floor and the highest ceiling at New Hampshire for a while now, and after qualifying on the front row, I fully expect him to have the car to beat this weekend. Yes, I am giving up place differential points, but I have plenty built into the remainder of my lineup. Plus, differential points won’t be a big deal if Busch runs up front all day and wins the race.
Denny Hamlin ($11,100)
Flat tracks have always been among his best, and New Hampshire has been no exception. Hamlin is a three-time winner the track, and he has cracked the Top 15 in 22 of his 25 starts while compiling a 10.2 average finish. He was off a bit in qualifying, likely because he had to use a backup car, and will have to start 23rd. Still, Hamlin has Top 5 upside at this track and now has a ton of place differential points to gain.
Alex Bowman ($10,600)
A mechanical issue in qualifying prevented him from making a lap, and as a result, Bowman will roll off dead last Sunday. He then crashed his backup car in final practice and will be racing in one of Jimmie Johnson’s backups he is. Even after all that, he is going to be a chalk play, but we are talking about the driver who has scored the most points in the series over the last 10 races having the maximum amount of differential points available. You have to play him.
Ryan Newman ($9,100)
Newman is no stranger to grinding out solid finishes at New Hampshire, and in addition to his 13.7 average finish here overall, he has five finishes of 13th or better in his last seven starts, including a sixth-place run a year ago. Newman has started 18th or worse in four of those starts, and I’m expecting him to move forward from his 26th-place starting spot, likely gaining double-digit spots. Like Denny Hamlin, the poor qualifying effort can be blamed on being in a backup car after a practice crash. Newman should be just fine come Sunday.
Ryan Preece ($6,200)
It hasn’t been the best rookie campaign for Preece, but New Hampshire is essentially his home track, and he has turned plenty of laps here in a variety of other series. He has also shown a little bit of promise at flatter tracks, finishing 16th at Martinsville and 20th at Richmond. Preece starts back in 28th, and I am hoping he can at least challenge for a Top 20 Sunday to gain some differential points.
Starting Lineup for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301
No. 1 Brad Keselowski
No. 2 Kyle Busch
No. 3 Kurt Busch
No. 4 Erik Jones
No. 5 Ryan Blaney
No. 6 Martin Truex Jr.
No. 7 Matt DiBenedetto
No. 8 Joey Logano
No. 9 Aric Almirola
No. 10 Jimmie Johnson
No. 11 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
No. 12 Chase Elliott
No. 13 Daniel Suarez
No. 14 Kevin Harvick
No. 15 Kyle Larson
No. 16 Clint Bowyer
No. 17 Paul Menard
No. 18 Ty Dillon
No. 19 Daniel Hemric
No. 20 David Ragan
No. 21 Austin Dillon
No. 22 William Byron
No. 23 Denny Hamlin
No. 24 Michael McDowell
No. 25 Chris Buescher
No. 26 Ryan Newman
No. 27 Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr.
No. 28 Ryan Preece
No. 29 Corey Lajoie
No. 30 Matt Tifft
No. 31 Landon Cassill
No. 32 Ross Chastain
No. 33 Reed Sorenson
No. 34 Quin Houff
No. 35 Andy Seuss
No. 36 Austin Theriault
No. 37 Alex Bowman