DraftKings NASCAR: Ford EcoBoost 400
DraftKings NASCAR: Ford EcoBoost 400

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

Ford EcoBoost 400

Location: Homestead, Fl.
Course: Homestead-Miami Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

Last week's victory in Phoenix gave Kyle Busch a pass into the championship finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway to join Joey Logano as winner in the final round of elimination races for the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series. Joining those two on points will be Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick. Harvick could have advanced by virtue of his victory in Texas, but was subsequently penalized for violations discovered after the race, and was revoked of the win's championship benefits. He and the team did not take that setback lying down, though. Harvick stormed to the top of the speed charts as soon as the first practice in Phoenix, and dominanted most of the race's first stage before a failed tire put him behind. The battle this week at Homestead now pits the three most dominant drivers in the series in 2018 against one another in a winner-takes-all battle. Each driver has been in this situation in past, but only Logano has yet to walk away with a title. Logano is also the only driver in the finale this season that was not also part of last season's Homestead fight.

Key Stats at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Number of previous races: 19
Winners from pole: 2
Winners from top-5 starters: 11
Winners from top-10 starters: 13
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 2
Fastest race: 142.245 mph

Last 10 Homestead Winners

2017 - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 - Jimmie Johnson
2015 - Kyle Busch
2014 - Kevin Harvick
2013 - Denny Hamlin
2012 - Jeff Gordon
2011 - Tony Stewart
2010 - Carl Edwards
2009 - Denny Hamlin
2008 - Carl Edwards

Homestead-Miami Speedway only appears once on the Cup series calendar per season, but it has become NASCAR's most important venue as its outcome determines the season's champion. The track is a familiar 1.5-miles in length, but is more unique than some of the other tri-ovals that tend to appear more frequently on the schedule. Its progressive banking was introduced in 2003, which was the second time the circuit was reconfigured. The changes in the turns have made for closer racing and more exciting finishes versus the old flat surface that limited passes. Key to a quick lap will be finding the right line through the turns at each end of the track that will maximize speed off of the corner and down the long straights. Passing can happen anywhere on course, but will most likely occur as drivers move up and down the track throughout the fuel stints. Track position, and therefore pit strategy, tends to be an important factor, but it is usually possible to win from any starting position inside the top 15. Three of the last seven victors hve started outside of the top 10, while the other five each started inside the top five. Practice speeds and identifying which chamionship contender has the fastest car in both short and long runs will be key to fantasy success this week.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Kevin Harvick - $12,500
Kyle Busch - $11,800
Martin Truex Jr. - $11,300
Joey Logano - $10,600

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Chase Elliott - $9,700
Brad Keselowski - $9,400
Clint Bowyer - $9,000
Denny Hamlin - $8,800

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Erik jones - $8,200
Austin Dillon - $7,700
Alex Bowman - $7,400
William Byron - $6,900

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Matt Kenseth - $6,700
Ty Dillon - $6,400
Bubba Wallace - $5,900
Ross Chastain - $5,300

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $12,500
Kyle Larson - $10,000
Denny Hamlin - $8,800
Jamie McMurray - $7,100
Matt Kenseth - $6,700
Corey LaJoie - $4,900

Kevin Harvick proved through the last round of playoff eliminations that not much could halt his charge toward another title. He roared back from a nearly devastating post-race penalty to dominate most of the weekend in Phoenix. It appears as though the only thing capable of stopping Harvick from success this week is himself. In five Homestead starts Kyle Larson has proven himself capable at the track. He led more than 100 laps in each of the last two races and has three consecutive top-five finishes heading into this weekend's return. Denny Hamlin has just one more opportunity to get his first 2018 win, and doing so would be his third at the circuit. He has finished inside the top 10 in all of his last five trips here and picked up two pole positions as well. Next season will look very different for Jamie McMurray. His five top-10s and three top-fives from 16 Homestead starts show he could go out on solid footing, too. He finished either fifth or 13th in each of the last four Homestead races. Matt Kenseth will also be contemplating 2019 plans in this final race in his part-time return. He has been extremely productive at the circuit and finished 12th in last year's race. Remaining salary dollars from this lineup guide owners to Cory LaJoie. The part-time Cup participant hasn't been remarkable this season, but has a very good chance of providing positive finish differential points for rosters selecting him.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $11,800
Joey Logano - $10,600
Erik Jones - $8,200
Austin Dillon - $7,700
David Ragan - $6,300
Matt DiBenedetto - $5,400

The higher-risk lineup avoids the championship favorite for two of the four championship contenders in Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. Underdogs have fared well in past high-stakes races, which might give Logano a boost. He is the only championship contender not to have won at Homestead or scored a Cup title. Busch, on the other hand, has been the most dominant driver this season aside from Harvick. Erik Jones did not taste much success at Homestead last season in a frustraing outing, but has more experience this year with four top-10 finishes in his last three races heading to this week's finale. Austin Dillon has tended to delievr against expectations at this track compared to most circuits. He has three Homestead top-15s and will be looking to grab his first top-10 at the track this weekend. David Ragan and Matt DiBenedetto offer fantasy players good fantasy production at Homestead with minimal expense. Ragan has three top-20 finishes in the last five races heading into this week's finale along with a 17th-place finish here last year. DiBenedetto resides further down the preference list, but has started to deliver regular top-25s and is highly likely to deliver positive finish differential points.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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