We’re at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend for Race #1 of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. Las Vegas is your typical 1.5-mile “cookie cutter” track that we’ve already been to once this season (back in March, when Joey Logano won). Given that this is a 1.5-mile race track and we have so much relevant data of similar races this season, be sure to check out my early week DraftKings article that is full of great statistics from the other 1.5-mile races this season.
Here are some helpful links to the qualifying results and practice speeds from this weekend.
DraftKings Strategy Breakdown for the South Point 400
The biggest question heading into Sunday night is whether you absolutely need to put a dominator that’s starting up front in your lineup, and more likely than not that dominator is going to be Kevin Harvick ($10,300), who is under-priced by DraftKings this weekend and also starting 3rd. Harvick also put up some major FPTS the last time we were here at Las Vegas, as he started on the pole and finished 4th but led for 88 laps and put up 52 fastest laps as well (for a total of 48 dominator FPTS). There’s a very good chance that we see a very similar performance out of Harvick here on Sunday night–if not better.
Now obviously that doesn’t answer the question. Here’s my take on it: Harvick is priced nicely enough that he’s going to fit into lineups pretty well this weekend. He should have a higher ownership share on Sunday than he did at Indianapolis last week, and with that, I typically like to go underweight on the guy in that scenario. The thing is, the other legitimate race contenders are all starting 15th or worse, and I just don’t see it taking too long for them to get to the front. In other words, while Harvick could certainly go out and dominate once again on Sunday night, I don’t think it’s going to be quite that easy for the #4 team.
I see a ton of value in the place differential drivers this weekend and I don’t mind building lineups completely revolved around that. If pole sitter Clint Bowyer ($8,500) leads for the first 30-40 laps–which is what I’m expecting will happen–then that just gives the guys like Keselowski, Logano, Truex, Kyle Busch more time to get to the front while Kevin Harvick isn’t leading and racking up those dominator points.
GPP Drivers I Love For Las Vegas 2
Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($7,100) – You had to know this one was coming. If not, you probably didn’t read my Bargains and Busts article for Las Vegas 2 (click here if you didn’t). Essentially what the numbers in that post say is that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. is massively under-priced for the race this weekend based on his performance on the 1.5-mile tracks this year. Add in the fact that he qualified 12th for Sunday’s race and he’s going to be very low-owned as well–which is why I love him as a GPP play. Stenhouse is averaging a finish of 10.3 on this track type in 2019, and only three drivers are doing better than that: Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, and Chase Elliott. Ricky also finished 6th the last time we were here at Las Vegas and has three top 15s in the last five races here. I don’t know about you, but I’m a numbers guy, and everything is pointing to Stenhouse being a great GPP play this weekend. You just have to hope he keeps it off the wall.
Paul Menard ($6,900) – I’m interested to see what Paul Menard’s ownership percentage is on Sunday night. I’ve said it once and I’ll continue saying it: I’m not good at predicting ownerships. But if you want my thoughts on it, I think Menard will be around 15-20% owned this weekend, and I like being overweight on that. Here’s the thing about Menard: over the last two Cup Series races overall he has finished inside the top 10, he has an average finish of 17.3 on the 1.5-mile tracks this year, and on the most recent 1.5-miler (Kentucky) he came home 11th. Finally, Menard has finished 15th or better in the last three Las Vegas races (and nine of the last ten!), including two top 10s (five if you expand it to the last ten). Menard is a relatively safe play this weekend with high upside. He starts 21st, which gives him room for place differential as well.
P.S. I really like Corey LaJoie ($5,600) as a pivot off of chalk play Matt Tifft ($5,200) on Sunday night. I’m going to have plenty of Tifft exposure, as will most people but LaJoie starts back in 33rd and is averaging a finish of 24.5 on the 1.5-mile tracks this season. No, that’s not a typo. He finished 27th here at Vegas back in March after starting 30th and this #32 team just seems to be running better right now, especially with their three finishes of 24th or better in the last four Cup Series races overall.
Las Vegas South Point 400 DraftKings Projections
You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||Starting Position||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||24||$10,700||64.9||04.0||17||$165|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||12||$7,100||35.3||10.6||2||$201|