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Fantasy NASCAR: Toyota Save Mart 350

First Paul Menard pick of the season

NASCAR: Pocono 400 Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The rules I have implemented for myself are:

1.I will not pick a driver more than 10 times this season.

2.Due to #1 these are “Power Rankings” (in quotations) I’m looking for value here.

My general format for my power rankings:

•Top 2 picks will generally be the favorites, the ones who should be top 5 or top 10 finishes.

• #3 and #4 will be your riskier picks, could be top 5 or bottom 15.

• Pick #5 is the dark horse.

Race Information

Race: Toyota/Save Mart 350

Laps: 110

Date: June 24th

Venue: Sonoma Speedway

2017 Winner: Kevin Harvick (2:46:52)

Broadcast: Fox (Darrel Waltrip & Jeff Gordon)

Most Wins: Jeff Gordon (5)

Course: Sonoma Raceway. This 1.99 mile asphalt “amoeba” shaped asphalt course features 10 turns and has been modified over the years to accommodate the NASCAR race here (including bypassing a turn and adding pit stops along turn 11 (Gilligan’s Island)) to accommodate the drivers. It is vastly different from many of the more conventional track shapes and due to that you get to see just how good the concentration can be amongst the drivers.

NASCAR: Toyota - Save Mart 350 Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Power Rankings

Favorites

1) Kyle Busch (3rd selection this year). I’ve been saving Kyle Busch for the playoffs but this is a good track for him. The last three years here he had a win in 2015, seventh place in 2016 and fifth place last year. Obviously he’s having a great year, top four finishes in his last three races.

2) Ryan Blaney (4th selection this year). Back to back top ten finishes bring him to Sonoma where he finished 9th last year. He is sitting nice in the top ten in Monster Energy Cup points currently.

High Risk/High Reward

3) Paul Menard (1st selection this year). Fresh off a fifth place finish at Michigan, number 21 goes to Sonoma where he has finished inside the top 16 each of the last four years. Woods Brothers has helped him move up lately as he has top 15 finishes in each of the last four races this season.

4) Ryan Newman (3rd selection this year). Top ten finishes in two of his last three years here. He hasn’t fared the best over his last five tournaments with no finish inside the top 20, I think that stops this week with a top ten finish.

Dark Horse

5) Kasey Kahne (4th selection this year). Prior to last year where he finished 24th he had three straight top tens here. Clearly he’s on the decline with just nary a top 15 finish this season.

Average Finish:

Favorites: avg finish 11th (28th percentile)

High Risk/High Reward: avg finish 16th (43rd percentile)

Dark Horse: avg finish 20th (52nd percentile)