The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Loudon, New Hampshire this week for the New England 300. This will be the second trip for the Sprint Cup Series to the "Live Free or Die" state. Be sure to test your knowledge of NASCAR by competing in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game.
Drivers cannot win the championship in the first round of the Chase but they can lose it if they have a bad performance. Martin Truex Jr. advanced to the second round with his win at Chicago. Joey Logano, Chase Elliott and Brad Keselowski put their teams in a good position with finishes in the top five. Carl Edwards, Kyle Larson and Kevin Harvick will have a lot of ground to make up after their poor finishes at Chicago.
Drivers in a "must win" situation usually perform well in fantasy NASCAR. If the team has a car they know will run up front they will bring it to the track this week. I expect the No. 19, No. 42 and No. 4 teams to be locked and loaded to win at New Hampshire.
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The best strategy for selecting your lineup in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game this week is to focus on the drivers who have run well on the flat tracks in 2016. There are six tracks (Phoenix, Martinsville, Richmond, Pocono, Indianapolis and New Hampshire) on the circuit that are considered flat tracks. There have been eight races on these tracks this season, but I only used seven of them to analyze the data for Sunday. The second race at Pocono was shortened by rain and the finishing order does not reflect which drivers had the best cars in the race. Here are the top drivers on the flat tracks in 2016...
|Average Finishing Position on Flat Tracks in 2016|
|Driver||Races||Wins||Tops 5s||Top 10s||Average Finish|
|Martin Truex Jr.||7||0||1||5||12.4|
Drivers can win the race at New Hampshire from outside the top 10. Matt Kenseth went to Victory Lane in the last two races at Loudon from 18th and 13th starting positions. The scoring system for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game rewards drivers who improve their position in the race more than the drivers who lead the most laps. Selecting the Chase drivers who start outside the top 10 will be the best strategy Sunday.
Fantasy teams must understand the rules for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing when qualifying is canceled. If the series fails to conduct a qualifying session, Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing does not award bonus points for position differential. In this case the best strategy is to select the best cars regardless of where they start the race.
Pick to Win
Matt Kenseth ($10,800) is the driver to beat Sunday. He has won the last two races at the track and finished six of the last seven in the top 10. The No. 20 team has a series-best average finishing position and the third-best driver ranking in the last five races at New Hampshire. I expect Kenseth to add another Toyota to the next round of the Chase with a win at Loudon.
Kevin Harvick ($13,600) is fast at every track. He may have had the car to beat at Chicago but a penalty before the race began made the No. 4 team play catch up the entire race. I expect the team to be on their game this week. Harvick has a series-best 6.7 average finishing position on the flat tracks in 2016. He has finished five of the seven races in the top six, including a fourth-placed finish at New Hampshire in July. Harvick will be one of the drivers to beat in the New England 300.
Brad Keselowski ($12,700) has a lot of momentum heading into New Hampshire. The Blue Deuce has finished four of the last six races in the top five. Keselowski has a series-best driver rankings and the second-best average finishing position in the last five races at Loudon. Another top-five finish will position Keselowski perfectly for the final race in the first round of the playoffs. I expect him to get the job done Sunday.
Kyle Busch ($10,800) had the car to beat in the last race at New Hampshire. He started on the front row and led a series-high 133 laps. The No. 18 car has finished six of the last seven races at the track in the top eight, including four finishes in the top-two. Busch has not looked as dominate as he was last year but I still expect him to be one of the drivers at the front in the end of the race this week.
Joey Logano ($10,700) always performs well at his home track. He has four consecutive top-five finishes, including a win in 2014. Logano has also had one of the fastest cars on the flat tracks this season. He has finished six of the seven races on the flat tracks in the top 11. The No. 22 car qualified sixth and finished third in the July race at the track. I expect similar results from the team Sunday.
Value Picks (Drivers under $9,000)
Tony Stewart ($8,900) had one of his best races of the season at New Hampshire in July. He qualified 12th and finished second. Stewart is a three-time winner at the track, but it is hard to imagine the No. 14 car getting to Victory Lane this week. Smoke has not been running as well as he was over the summer, but if he is going to have another top-five finish before his career is over it should happen Sunday.
Greg Biffle ($8,500) is another driver who had one of his best races of the season at New Hampshire. Biffle qualified 28th and raced his way to a top-five finish. It is the only top-five finish for the No. 16 team this season. Roush-Fenway Racing has had a hard time keeping up with the top teams, but they have proved they can run well on the shorter tracks. I doubt Biffle will finish in the top five again, but it would not surprise me if the 16 car sneaks into the top 10.
Chase Elliott ($8,300) is probably the best value pick in the Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing game this week. Elliott had one of his worst finishes of the season in July at New Hampshire. That does not mean he did not run well in the race. Elliott was in the 10th position when he had a tire go down and got into the wall with only 28 laps left in the race. The No. 24 car ran in the top 10 for most of the race and I expect them to finish up front Sunday.
Alex Bowman ($5,000) will be in the No. 88 car and he will be a good choice, especially if you plan to use many of the higher-priced drivers in your lineup. Bowman drove the car for Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the July race at New Hampshire. He qualified 20th and was running in the eighth position when he was involved in an accident. If Bowman can keep his race incident free Sunday, he should easily finish in the top 15.
Here are my picks for the New England 300 for Fox Sports Fantasy Auto Racing:
Driver 1: Brad Keselowski $12,700
Driver 2: Matt Kenseth $10,800
Driver 3: Kyle Busch $10,800
Driver 4: Joey Logano $10,700
Driver 5: Alex Bowman $5,000
FOX Fantasy Auto Resources
And don't forget - prizes are on the line each race of the fantasy season! First, second and third place each win a prize. Plus, each race builds your point total for larger segment and season prizes.