DFS NASCAR: Pennzoil 400

DFS NASCAR: Pennzoil 400

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Pennzoil 400

Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Course: Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

William Byron became the third different winner in as many races last week at Homestead Miami Speedway. The Hendrick Motorsports driver scored a convincing win on the first visit to a 1.5-mile circuit this season, and this week features another 1.5-mile oval in Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Joey Logano and Kurt Busch won the two races at the track last season, and Busch's win put him through to the final eight championship contenders in what was his first victory of the season. Sunday's race will be the 27th series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. The track has produced 14 different winners in that time, and six of those winners will be in Sunday's field. The unique schedule, surprise results and lack of practice and qualifying have made 2021 unpredictable thus far, which makes this weekend's selections a tough choice for fantasy players.

Key Stats at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

  • Number of races: 26
  • Winners from pole: 1
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 9
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 14
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
  • Fastest race: 154.849 mph

Previous 10 Las Vegas Winners

2020 fall - Kurt Busch
2020 spring - Joey Logano
2019 fall - Martin Truex Jr.
2019 spring - Joey Logano
2018 fall - Brad Keselowski
2018 spring - Kevin Harvick
2017 - Martin Truex Jr.
2016 - Brad Keselowski
2015 - Kevin Harvick
2014 - Brad Keselowski

The 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway is the first race of the season on one of the more standard tracks that comprise the schedule. Track position has traditionally been a good predictor of success, which puts drivers who haven't had the best start to their seasons on the at a disadvantage with on-track qualifying eliminated. Maximizing grip through the track's long corners will be the aim of setups this week. Teams that get the setup right at the start will have an advantage as track position comes into play deeper in the race distance. Last week's race showed teams need to stay on top of the changing track, too. Teams that started off with speed faded as the track wore in and cooled. This track tends to produce long runs, and drivers will need to be able to navigate slower traffic and restarts in order to be in position to battle for the win in the final laps.

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Kyle Busch - $11,400
Ryan Blaney - $10,800
Chase Elliott - $10,600
Joey Logano - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Kevin Harvick - $9,700
Kyle Larson - $9,400
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Alex Bowman - $8,800

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

William Byron - $8,300
Kurt Busch - $8,100
Christopher Bell - $7,700
Chase Briscoe - $7,400

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Bubba Wallace - $7,000
Ryan Newman - $6,700
Chris Buescher - $6,400
Ryan Preece - $5,800

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Chase Elliott - $10,600
Joey Logano - $10,000
Alex Bowman - $8,800
Chase Briscoe - $7,400
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. - $6,800
Chris Buescher - $6,400

Chase Elliott (DK $10,600, FD $12,500) comes at a comparative bargain this week. His finishes last season at Las Vegas were not representative of his speed. He swept the stage victories in the fall, won the first stage in the spring, but was kept out of Victory Lane by bad luck and unfortunate circumstances. Elliott's eighth-place starting spot gives him nice track position early. Logano (DK $10,000, FD $13,000) is this week's defending race winner. Penske Racing usually fields extremely quick cars at Las Vegas, and Logano has been fast early with two near misses on visiting Victory Lane. He was fast early last week at Homestead, too. Alex Bowman (DK $8,800, FD $9,500) has turned his career Las Vegas stats around the last two seasons with four finishes of 13th or better. He was fifth last fall and led five laps. Chase Briscoe (DK $7,400, FD $7,000) will make his first Cup Series start at Las Vegas this week, but he swept the Xfinity Series races there last season. Briscoe starts 24th this week. Las Vegas is a venues at which Ricky Stenhouse Jr. (DK $6,800, FD $6,000) surprised last season. He punched out a third-place finish with 30 laps led, which was his second top-10 at the track in the four most recent visits. Last week showed a glimpse of what Roush Fenway Racing might have in store for the rest of the season. Chris Buescher (DK $6,400, FD $5,000) ran at the front of the race most of the day and impressively led 57 laps. If that speed continues this weekend, his inexpensive price will pay big dividends for fantasy players.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kevin Harvick - $9,700
Kyle Larson - $9,400
Denny Hamlin - $9,200
Christopher Bell - $7,700
Ross Chastain - $7,300
Ryan Newman - $6,700

Kevin Harvick (DK $9,700, FD $14,000) was awarded the pole for this weekend's race. He is one of four multiple Las Vegas race winners in the field this week. He has started on the Las Vegas pole twice in the last four races and led 92 laps in this race last season before finishing eighth. Kyle Larson (DK $9,400, FD $11,700) also has a good history at this track and will be in the best equipment he has ever had there this week. He earned the third starting position for Sunday and has six top-10s from nine career starts. Denny Hamlin (DK $9,200, FD $12,000) had a breakthrough at the track last fall. He has never won here, but he led 121 of 267 laps in the fall and finished third. Teammate Christopher Bell (DK $7,700, FD $8,500) will have his first start inside the top 20 at Las Vegas this week. His best finish in two series starts at the track is 24th, and he should be capable of significantly more this week in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota. Chip Ganassi Racing's Ross Chastain (DK $7,300, FD $5,500) is in the same machinery Larson used to score his six Last Vegas top-10s, which should be an indication of what to expect from him this week. Chastain has five prior starts at the track, and the latest was last spring when he filled in for Ryan Newman. He won here in the Xfinity Series in 2018. Like Buescher, Ryan Newman (DK $6,700, FD $5,700) was very fast last week in Miami and could repeat that speed this week. Newman has 10 top-10s from 22 Las Vegas starts and was 15th last fall.

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 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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