Road racing returns to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series this weekend. Watkins Glen International will host Sunday’s Go Bowling at The Glen, and a trip to a road course could be just what the doctor ordered for anyone playing in season-long Fantasy NASCAR leagues.
Although road courses don’t level the playing field like restrictor-plate tracks, they do shift up the pecking order a bit, especially among the middle-tier drivers. In NASCAR Fantasy Live and the Driver Group Game, Sunday’s race will be a golden opportunity to save some starts from the top options while still posting a solid score.
For Fantasy Live, keep in mind that the season only runs through the first 26 races. If you have enough starts left from the Big 3 and the other top drivers, you can still use them this weekend. If you are down to just a couple of starts, this is probably your best remaining track to use some alternatives before the end of the contest.
There is a little more urgency to save starts in the Driver Group Game because it lasts all 36 races. You can only use the Big 3 in 27 of those races, and even after the four plate races, you still have five races to use alternative options. If you haven’t already done so, you can take care of one of those five this weekend and still have a great shot at a Top 5.
The theory holds true for your Group B and Group C picks, as well. There are several drivers who enjoy a nice boost in value at road courses, going from Top 10 threats to Top 5 threats and from Top 25 options to Top 15 contenders. You need to take advantage of these drivers Sunday. It will help you in the long run.
FANTASY NASCAR RANKINGS
Martin Truex, Jr., #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing
Truex led the most laps and went to victory lane at Watkins Glen last year, and he absolutely dominated the field on his way to a win at Sonoma back in June. Look for him to continue his run of road course dominance this weekend as he goes for back-to-back wins at The Glen.
2. Kyle Busch, #18 M&M’s, Joe Gibbs Racing
He has been one of the best ever at Watkins Glen, finishing in the Top 10 in 11 of his 13 starts and picking up a pair of wins. Busch led 21 laps in last year’s race, and he has led double-digit laps in seven of the last 10 races here. Busch should once again be an excellent option in all season-long and DFS contests.
Kevin Harvick, #4 Jimmy Johns/Busch Beer, Stewart-Haas Racing
Although Watkins Glen hasn’t been his best track, Harvick was the only driver who could hang with Martin Truex Jr. at Sonoma, and he has been one of the best drivers all season long. He’s not my first choice for a Group A option in the Driver Group Game, but Harvick should have another strong run this weekend.
Clint Bowyer, #14 Mobil 1, Stewart-Haas Racing
Bowyer is an excellent road course racer, and he has finished sixth or better in four of his last six starts at The Glen, finishing fifth last year in his first start at the track with Stewart-Haas Racing. Bowyer finished third at Sonoma in June, and he’ll have Top 5 upside again Sunday. This is a great week to use him in Fantasy Live and the DGG.
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing
His last two starts at The Glen have produced a win in 2016 and a fourth-place run a year ago. Hamlin notched a Top 10 at Sonoma earlier this year, continuing a recent hot streak at the road courses. He could be a great Group A alternative to the Big 3 in the Driver Group Game.