Road Course Race #1 is this weekend at Sonoma Raceway. These venues always bring an extra headache for Fantasy NASCAR players because of the strategy aspect that the teams take: as soon as the green flag waves on Sunday, teams will be employing their tactics in the first two Stages to try and set themselves up to be in the best position for the win in the end. This will definitely involve fuel gambles, which are never very fun for fantasy players. But that’s just how these road course races go. All things considered, the drivers with the most talent are the ones that end up in victory lane at Sonoma. It’s very difficult to steal a win here (sorry Austin Dillon).

Here are some helpful links to the qualifying results and practice speeds from this weekend:

DraftKings Strategy Tactics for Sonoma

Kevin Harvick Martin Truex Jr Sonoma 2019
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

It’s time to shift the focus a bit when building your DraftKings lineups this weekend because road course races are totally different animals. First off, we’re only scheduled to run 90 laps here on Sunday, so that not only puts more of a significance on finishing position and place differential, but it also basically ensures that we’re only going to have one, maybe two dominators. Now the key is determining who your main dominator is going to be, possibly adding a second dominator to the lineup, and then filling out the rest of the team with the best options to not only finish high, but move up. Typically the optimal lineup at Sonoma has two or three drivers starting inside the top 10 and then three or four “place differential” picks.

As far as practice goes at Sonoma, try not to look into it a whole lot. Yes, ten- and 15-lap averages are good indicators of who has a solid long-run car, but not every team stays out on track for that long. In fact, only 19 cars made a ten-lap run in Happy Hour. So while someone like Joey Logano could rank 5th in ten-lap average, that doesn’t mean he has the 5th-best long-run car by any means.

Pit road strategy is another thing that comes into play here at Sonoma, kind of similar to what we have seen at Pocono in the past. Guys like Brad Keselowski and Denny Hamlin, who are known gamblers on the race track, end up being a little riskier this week because of their aggressive tactics on pit calls. With that being said, obviously not all gambles end up backfiring.

GPP Drivers I Love for the Toyota/Save Mart 350

Chase Elliott Ryan Blaney 2019 Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Chase Elliott ($9,900) – Chase Elliott did not look good in practice, I’ll give you that. But honestly that’s been the case for Chase for much of the season. And honestly, that makes the fact that he was able to go out and qualify 4th on Saturday even more impressive. But one thing you have to remember is that Hendrick Motorsports is generally pretty close as a whole on speed, and Elliott’s teammates showed a ton of speed. Looking at overall average speed on Friday, William Byron was 2nd-fastest with Jimmie Johnson 3rd, and then Alex Bowman ended up 9th-best. So what I’m trying to say here is don’t focus so much on practice speeds. Chase Elliott has finished 4th and 8th in his last two Sonoma attempts and don’t forget that it was this #9 Chevrolet that went to victory lane at Watkins Glen earlier this year as well. This team has five top 5s in the last six races overall, and if Chase can get to the lead early here on Sunday, he could definitely end up being one of the dominators of the Toyota/Save Mart 350.

Paul Menard ($7,200) – I honestly like Paul Menard quite a bit this weekend. He’s starting back in 24th, but ended up 8th on the overall speed chart for both practice sessions here on Friday after posting the 11th- and 18th-fastest laps. Obviously those aren’t crazy good numbers, but they’re better than where he qualified, and we’re looking for place differential points out of a guy like Menard. Additionally, Paul’s track record at Sonoma is actually quite impressive; over the last six races at this track, Menard has five finishes of 16th or better along with a career-best 5th-place finish back in 2014. Ryan Blaney piloted this #21 Ford to a 9th-place finish here back in 2017, too.

GPP Fade Options for Sonoma

Kyle Larson Sonoma 2019 Pole Fantasy NASCAR
Photo Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Kyle Larson ($8,500) – Kyle Larson is on the pole for the third straight year at Sonoma, and from a practice and pre-race perspective, it’s looking like much of the same for the #42 team. That’s not a good thing, by the way. Larson has finished 14th and 26th in his last two starts here at Sonoma all while leading just 11 total laps. This weekend, the #42 Chevrolet has looked stout since the team unloaded it, ending up with the best ten-lap average in Practice #1 before posting the fastest overall lap in Happy Hour along with the 3rd-best ten-lap average. That all looks great, but just keep in mind that racing here at Sonoma is a beast, and I’m not convinced that Larson has his demons straightened out here. He does now have Kurt Busch as a teammate–who is an excellent road course racer–but the #1 Chevrolet didn’t show nearly as much speed as I expected this weekend, which makes me think Ganassi just sucks as a whole with long-run speed at road courses. And even though Larson had a great car at the ROVAL last fall, it’s not enough for me to gain much confidence in him for DraftKings this weekend at Sonoma.

Sonoma Toyota/Save Mart 350 DraftKings Projections

You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.

DriverStarting PositionDraftKings SalaryAvg Proj FPTSAvg. Projected FinishProj Laps LedDollar Per FPT
Martin Truex Jr8$10,80056.402.228$191
Kyle Busch7$10,40052.101.814$200
Clint Bowyer14$9,30052.104.49$179
Kevin Harvick23$11,20051.407.80$218
Erik Jones32$8,10047.214.40$172
Kurt Busch16$9,70046.007.00$211
Brad Keselowski22$10,10044.810.60$225
Chase Elliott4$9,90040.106.213$247
Paul Menard24$7,20040.014.00$180
Jimmie Johnson11$8,30039.807.60$209
Alex Bowman12$7,50034.810.60$216
Denny Hamlin6$9,10034.708.46$262
Ryan Blaney9$8,90031.011.00$287
Kyle Larson1$8,50030.108.69$283
Aric Almirola15$8,00029.015.00$276
Daniel Suarez5$8,70027.410.80$318
Austin Dillon26$6,80026.821.60$254
Ryan Newman21$7,30026.619.20$274
Joey Logano3$9,50025.911.25$368
William Byron2$7,00025.111.26$279
Daniel Hemric25$7,60024.222.40$314
Matt DiBenedetto19$6,50023.819.60$273
Chris Buescher10$7,80023.215.40$336
Michael McDowell13$6,90021.018.00$329
Ty Dillon31$5,90020.627.20$286
Ricky Stenhouse Jr17$6,60018.621.20$355
Ross Chastain37$5,60017.831.60$315
Matt Tifft28$6,40017.227.40$372
Bubba Wallace30$6,30016.029.00$394
Parker Kligerman29$5,50015.828.60$348
David Ragan18$5,80014.423.80$403
Ryan Preece20$6,10013.225.40$462
Landon Cassill35$4,90012.633.20$389
Corey Lajoie27$5,00012.229.40$410
JJ Yeley36$5,30012.034.00$442
Reed Sorenson38$5,40011.235.40$482
Justin Haley33$5,20011.033.00$473
Cody Ware34$4,80010.034.00$480
As someone who has always been obsessed with numbers, Fantasy NASCAR has been the perfect fit with me. I pride myself on the quality of my analysis for each race, and am glad that I have been able to help others along the way. I've been a serious Fantasy NASCAR player for over 10 years now, and I'm just getting started.