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NASCAR

Big Machine Vodka 400 Cheat Sheet and Projections

Phillip Bennetzen

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If you’d like a preview of this race, feel free to check out my recap (in the NASCAR section) of this event going back the past few seasons and especially last year’s wreck-fest that took six hours to complete. In that article, I highlighted what are the two preferred ways to build lineups this weekend and thanks to a rained out qualifying session the 1 Hog + 1 semi-Hog method seems to fit nicer than going straight for place differential. However, the conditions that made last year’s event a wreck-filled event are just as ripe today with everything being on the line for a shot to make the playoffs. Add in a green track and possible stoppages for further rain on Sunday afternoon into evening and you have what may be fun for the average NASCAR fan to watch but tough for us as DFS players to tilt through. After just eighty laps, rain may cause NASCAR to pull the plug (remember Indy does not have lights so they can’t just extend this event into the evening) and with the Xfinity race already moved to Monday there’s no doubt NASCAR would like to see the series and it’s race teams headed to Las Vegas as soon as possible.

Name$StFnAnalysis
Kyle Busch1170011The last time Kyle sat on the pole at Indy he led 149 laps en route to victory. Things will be a bit tougher with Harvick startiing beside him but being on the pole gives Kyle a decided advantage and we know his flat long course form is good this year with a win at Pocono earlier in the Summer.
Kevin Harvick1220022While rostering both Kyle and Kevin might make things a little tight, it's the easiest path to figuring out which two drivers lead the most combined laps on Sunday. At the corollary track Pocono, Harvick led 119 laps combined this season with two top-five finishes.
Kyle Larson1130073
Kurt Busch880044
Martin Truex Jr1010035
Joey Logano860056With attention turned to just one or two Hogs this week it means our third driver can be a finishing position and Joey makes a great pick there with his field best average finish of 4.3 at Indy since 2015.
Ryan Blaney950097
Denny Hamlin10600108
Erik Jones8400139If you like consistency, Jones has been riding it the past few weeks with eight top ten finishes in his past nine races.
Chase Elliott92001110
Ryan Newman72001711On the outside looking in of the playoffs and he needs a win to steal that final spot away from Alex Bowman. This is probably more a gut call than anything else but I foresee the 31 team making a late call to get Ryan up front but it falls short.
Daniel Suarez75002012Somehow in last year's wreckfest, Suarez managed to keep his nose clean and finish 7th. Undoubtedly he benefited from several cautions with an average running position of 16th, however, even if he doesn't bring the #19 home into the top-ten he should be a good bet to gain place differential.
Jimmie Johnson82001413
Brad Keselowski9800614
Matt Kenseth70002915It may take some pit road strategy to see Kenseth finish this high but even if he doesn't pull some hijinx he has the skill here to nagivate the little car that couldn't from 29th into the teens. In both Pocono races this year, Kenseth drove the #6 into the teens and should be able to replicate that here at a track he had an average finish of 4.7 since 2015.
William Byron68002216
Austin Dillon71001817
Jamie McMurray79002118
Clint Bowyer9000819
Aric Almirola80001220
Paul Menard67001921
Chris Buescher65002322If Sunday's race is the wreck fest that it could very well be, Buescher is a name to keep an eye on. Although his finishing projection isn't that great, he does own an average of 11.5 in two races (this in spite of an average running position of 23rd) which speaks to his ability to maneuver around these late race wrecks. If we stay green, he's probably a bad pick but if we have several late race cautions then Buescher is probably a great pick.
Alex Bowman77001523
Ricky Stenhouse Jr
73001624
David Ragan55002525If you're into cheap drivers with momentum, then you're focus should be on David Ragan who has top-20 finishes of 5 of his last 7 races. He has DNF's here in 2 of his last 3 Indy races, but in both Pocono races this season his average finish was 17.5.
Ty Dillon63003026Ty saw a significant price bump this weekend thanks to his 19th place finish last season but his 30th starting spot makes up for the jump. His average finish in both Pocono races this season was 23.5.
Michael McDowell
57002627
AJ Allmendinger61002428
Ross Chastain53003229
Bubba Wallace59002830
Landon Cassill52003431
Matt DiBenedetto
54003132
Jeffrey Earnhardt
49003733
Reed Sorenson50003834
JJ Yeley48003535
Timmy Hill46003937
Corey LaJoie51003338
David Starr44003639
BJ McLeod47004040

Phill Bennetzen is a father, husband, and Catholic as well as a self-professed annoying fitness guy. Phill heads up NASCAR content at Awesemo.com. You can contact Phill by emailing [email protected].

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