This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.
Quaker State 400
Location: Sparta, Ky.
Course: Kentucky Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Daytona International Speedway continued its history of throwing out surprise results. While Justin Haley won the rain-delayed and shortened race fantasy owners should not expect lightning to strike twice. Sorry Kurt Busch. The Coke Zero Sugar 400 was affected heavily by weather and combining that unpredictability with "the big one" gave NASCAR a surprise first-time victor. This week's return to a 1.5-mile oval should reset the craziness that occurred last week and return the expected finishing order to what we've come accustomed to so far this season. Kyle Busch, Martin Truex Jr., and Brad Keselowski have all previously won at Kentucky and are already considered championship contenders with their wins this season. Matt Kenseth is the only other Monster Energy Cup series driver to have won at the track, and he isn't racing this week. Ryan Newman, Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, and Erik Jones are all sitting around the final playoff position in the standings and races are running out before the knock-out competition begins. With seven different winners so far this season only nine playoff positions remain to be claimed.
Key Stats at Kentucky Speedway
• Number of previous races: 8
• Winners from pole: 3
• Winners from top-5 starters: 5
• Winners from top-10 starters: 7
• Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
• Fastest race: 150.454 mph
Last 8 Kentucky Winners
Martin Truex Jr. has won the past two Kentucky races. Prior to those victories it seemed like Kentucky was just a seesaw battle between Busch and Keselowski. Though the track has been on the calendar for eight seasons, Chevrolet has yet to score a victory here. Arguably the best tracks to compare against Kentucky would be Las Vegas, Kansas and Chicago. Joey Logano and Keselowski took two of those with Alex Bowman claiming the third. Those races have been some of the most entertaining and competitive so far this season, too. Fantasy owners will want to focus on practice pace and qualifying position. Five of Kentucky's eight winners have started on the front row, and only Kenseth won from starting outside of the top 10. While Joe Gibbs Racing and Penske are expected to be strong, do not count out the Chevrolets from the Hendrick Motorsports stable. The entire team has been gaining confidence and delivering top results.
DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS (Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)
DraftKings Tier 1 Values
DraftKings Tier 2 Values
DraftKings Tier 3 Values
DraftKings Long-Shot Values
MY PICKS THIS WEEK
Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
After winning the last two Kentucky races it would be hard to imagine Martin Truex Jr. not being an asset to fantasy rosters this week. Backing him up with teammate Erik Jones gives this lineup another driver in the Joe Gibbs Racing garage that is fighting for a playoff spot and has two top-10s from two Kentucky visits. Alex Bowman brings some Hendrick Motorsports strength to the table, and after his victory at Chicago he should be expected to be in contention on this week's similar circuit. Another driver on the cusp of the playoff positions is Ryan Newman. He has three top-10 finishes from the last five races and has three Kentucky top-fives. The price for William Byron is a bit surprising considering how quick the Hendrick team has been recently. He was 20th here last season but finished eighth in Chicago and has three top-10s from the last five races. Rounding off the lower-risk lineup is Ryan Preece. He has had his expected rookie ups and downs this season but had a decent showing in Friday's practice and should be a confident top-25 option for fantasy rosters.
Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)
Penske Racing has been very strong on 1.5-mile tri-ovals like Kentucky this season and Brad Keselowski is poised to be in contention for the win Saturday night as well. He won at Kansas, was fifth in Chicago, and second in Las Vegas. Kyle Larson has also been strong at these types of tracks with a runner-up finish in Chicago and a top-10 in Kansas. He was second and ninth in the last two Kentucky races, too. Ryan Blaney is still looking for a 2019 win but had three top-10 finishes in a row before last week's rain fiasco. He finished second in this race last season and his teammates have won two races on these types of tracks already this year. Things have been on a big upswing for Jimmie Johnson and this weekend he could extend his streak of winning for his fist time at a circuit in his ninth start there. Chris Buescher had one of the 10 fastest total average lap speeds in final practice on Friday, which could indicate a good race for him Saturday. He has been a consistent top-20 performer this season and grabbed a 10th-place finish in Kansas. Bringing up the rear with a very attractive price is Matt DiBenedetto. Remember, this team has a technical alliance with Gibbs and has been grabbing top-20 finishes with some regularity. With three DNFs from four Kentucky starts this might be the first time we see what DiBenedetto can truly deliver at Kentucky.