Following the All-Star break, NASCAR action returns to one of its former tracks — Nashville Superspeedway. Let’s take a look at the current playoff picture and preview this Sunday’s race with the strategy and NASCAR DFS picks you’ll need to win on DraftKings and FanDuel for the Ally 400.
Ally 400 NASCAR DFS Preview, Picks & Strategy
NASCAR Cup Playoff Picture
There are 10 races remaining in the Cup Series regular season. Several drivers have all but cemented their spots into the playoffs, including Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman. Eight drivers appear to be solid in their standings towards the playoffs via victories, like Chase Elliott, Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, William Byron and Joey Logano. Five drivers hold the remaining playoff spots via points, including Denny Hamlin, who would need two months’ worth of catastrophe to be in danger of missing the playoffs.
The final four spots are currently held by Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Tyler Reddick, and Chris Buescher. Escher’s lead over 17th-place Matt DiBenedetto is 60 points, or a full race worth of points. In other words, DiBenedetto and the No. 21 team are up against the wall, but the distance isn’t insurmountable. Following a crew-chief change after five straight finishes of 18th or worse, perhaps Woods Brothers can claw their way back and make this a race for the final spot. However, whatever work that DiBenedetto or Buescher do to take the final spot could all be for naught should another winless driver who is top 30 in points win a race by August.
This win-and-in scenario is a little hard to fathom for the next few months with three road courses, a double-header at Pocono and two tracks utilizing the 750-horsepower package where money dictates performance. That said, the final race in the regular season is Daytona where anyone can win and steal a playoff seat.
Racing Returns to Nashville Superspeedway
This Father’s Day weekend finds NASCAR in Nashville. This is a bit of a coming home story for NASCAR, as Nashville was a former track for both the Xfinity and Trucks Series. However, both Xfinity and Trucks stopped racing at Nashville in 2011. Meanwhile, the NASCAR Cup Series has no prior races here. In fact, the track has sat vacant since 2012 with literally no activity.
Considering the decade-long span between events from the last races to this weekend, this three-race weekend may as well be considered a learning event for all racers, yet not near on the scale of Circuit of the Americas. Besides the obvious time gap, this concrete track has aged considerably. In fact, Goodyear and NASCAR brought in drivers from each manufacturer to test the track to make sure Goodyear’s tires were up to par at this 1.3-mile speedway. Following investments from Dover International Speedway, revitalizations were made to the Speedway, and Dover gave up its second race in order for Nashville to have this event.
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What You Need to Know for DFS
As this is considered a new track by NASCAR, there will be a practice session and qualifying for each race.
NASCAR Nashville Superspeedway schedule, 6/18-20
practice: 11:05 AM
qualifying: 5:05 PM
🟢: 8:00 PM
practice: 6:05 PM Fri
qualifying: 12:35 PM Sat
🟢: 3:30 PM Sat
practice: 2:05 PM Sat
qualifying: 11:05 AM Sun
🟢: 3:30 PM Sun
— Phill Bennetzen has a NASCAR spreadsheet 🏎🏁 (@RaceSheetsDFS) June 16, 2021
Be sure to check back with the Race Sheets post practice to see how these drivers are attacking this abrasive, concrete Speedway. Consequently, the pavement of this venue is the first thing to consider for research purposes. As previously mentioned, this is a concrete track — an old concrete track that has been left to sit and weather for nearly a decade.
Expect tire management to be one of the keys to driver performance this Sunday. Gauging how drivers have done at Dover, Darlington, Atlanta and Homestead could be a key indicator in what to expect this Sunday. Furthermore, seeing how drivers handle tire fall off from the single-lap into the five, 10, 15, etc., lap intervals in practice will give DFS players expectations of potential speed going into Sunday.
Speaking of Dover, NASCAR and Goodyear are using a tire combination that uses the right-side tires used at Dover. The left-side tires will be what was utilized at Kansas and Charlotte. Therefore, adding in driver performance from Kansas, Charlotte and Dover should be helpful as well.
Combining those three factors — practice, performance at high-tire-wear tracks, the triplets of Dover, Kansas and Charlotte and performance in the high-horsepower package — should give everyone a good base on expectations for dominators, place differential and high-upside tournament options for this 300-lap race.
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