We’re in Loudon, New Hampshire this weekend for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301. This is a 1-mile track that has been dominated by Joe Gibbs Racing drivers as of late, although Kevin Harvick has been the one to seal the deal over the last two races and get wins in both. For Sunday’s race, lineup construction is going to be crucial, and one key thing to remember is that this race is only 301 laps. Yes, New Hampshire Motor Speedway could be considered a short track, but we’re racing less laps than we did at Texas a couple of weeks ago.
Still, I think the 3-dominator lineup is the way to go here. You can comfortably roster three drivers that could finish 1-2-3 on Sunday and still have room left for a mid-tier guy and two low-dollar drivers. There are many options in the $7,000 and under range this week and not a ton of upside in that $8,000-$9,000 range. That’s how I’m tackling this slate, anyway. Christopher Bell and his $10,100 salary is about the only driver that kind of makes things interesting in terms of a high-dollar place differential play, but we have the pole sitter at $8,500 and Kyle Busch priced at $9,300 to make that a little easier.
If you throw my Projections for New Hampshire into an optimizer and let it make 100 lineups, these are the core drivers that it uses most of the time:
- Kyle Busch
- Denny Hamlin
From there, these drivers also show up >40% of the time in the optimizer, but nowhere near as much as Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin:
- Martin Truex, Jr.
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
- Daniel Suarez
- Aric Almirola
As always, I would recommend checking out my DraftKings Projections article for New Hampshire in conjunction with this driver-by-driver breakdown. Click here to get to the Projections article.
Driver-by-Driver Breakdown for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 at Loudon
- Aric Almirola ($8,500) – 51.5 projected FPTS
– This is one of the biggest question marks of the weekend, as it has been this entire time with the random draw starting order: should you roster the pole sitter? First let’s start with the good: Almirola has actually been pretty good here at Loudon lately, with 52 fastest laps in the last two races (5th-most), 54 laps led (also 5th-most), as well as finishes of 3rd and 11th. The bad news is, Almirola has Hamlin, Elliott, Keselowski, and Kyle Busch starting right behind him, and each one of those guys could very easily take the lead and not look back. I don’t see Almirola getting the lead back once he loses it, so the question becomes, how long will he hold on to it? My projections have the #10 Ford out front for 46 laps but still only 51.5 projected FPTS… I’ll likely be around 25% exposure on Sunday.
- Denny Hamlin ($10,400) – 75.3 projected FPTS
– It should come down to Almirola and Hamlin on who dominates the early portion of this race on Sunday. Denny is a three-time winner at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and finished 2nd to Kevin Harvick last year. He also led 113 laps despite starting back in 23rd. About the only knock you can have on Denny this week is record on similar tracks this year: 20th at Phoenix (he had an early incident) and 24th at Martinsville (which was just a debacle of bad setups). Since that blunder at Martinsville, Hamlin has finishes of 1st, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 28th, 12th, 20th, and 1st. He’s a contender for the win this weekend and will likely be on over 50% of my lineups.
- Chase Elliott ($9,100) – 47.4 projected FPTS
– Here’s what I said in my Projections article about Chase Elliott: “I am 50/50 when it comes to Chase Elliott ($9,100). He had a great race at Phoenix this year but has a grand total of 19 fastest laps in the last four Loudon events. That #9 Chevrolet has also come back down to earth in terms of Green Flag Speed.” I think Chase has a chance to be a surprise dominator, but I’m not going to go crazy in my ownership. I’ll likely have 10-15%. He’s priced very soft this week, which could bump his ownership.
- Brad Keselowski ($9,500) – 56.0 projected FPTS
– I like Keselowski as a pivot off of Kyle Busch if you can afford it. Kez is a previous winner here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and although he’s only led 19 total laps in his last seven starts here, I like the pairing of him and crew chief Jeremy Bullins here, as Bullins helped Ryan Blaney get some great finishes in the past. Additionally, Keselowski led 82 laps and had 30 fastest laps at Phoenix this year, and then had 24 fastest laps and finished 3rd at Martinsville.
- Kyle Busch ($9,300) – 77.1 projected FPTS
– My projections have Kyle Busch as the #1 driver for this race on Sunday, and my algorithm thinks he’s going to win it. Kyle is a constant threat at this track and does have three wins here, with the most recent coming in 2017. Rowdy has also led 95+ laps in three of the last four New Hampshire races and has finished up 3rd or better in seven of the last twelve. Another thing I like is how strong Busch was at Phoenix this year (he finished 3rd) despite Joe Gibbs Racing really struggling back then. My only word of caution to you, and a reason to consider going underweight: I placed a bet on Kyle Busch to win Sunday’s race, and that has been a jinx for many drivers this year…
- Clint Bowyer ($7,200) – 31.2 projected FPTS
– Bowyer is a driver that you can take a chance on but it’ll probably end up not being worth it in the end. We all know that Clint is capable of running well at flat tracks, but here at New Hampshire he’s finished 20th or worse in six of the last eight races. Additionally, he hasn’t had a top 5 finish here since the 2012 season. Considering he starts in 6th, Bowyer would need to either finish top 5 or get a decent amount of dominator points, and I don’t see that happening. I’ll likely only have 5% or less exposure here.
- Kevin Harvick ($11,600) – 62.0 projected FPTS
– DraftKings has the guy who’s won the last two races here priced correctly, and his ownership percentage isn’t going to be as high as it should because of that. So, I think it’s worth going overweight on Kevin Harvick this Sunday, you just need to nail the other dominators. With Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex, Jr. sitting there in the mid-$10,000 range, I think many DraftKings players will gravitate toward them when building lineups. However, you can still put a good lineup together pairing Harvick and Kyle Busch or Harvick and Almirola (or even all three). It’s also not too hard to make a lineup with Harvick and one of Truex or Hamlin.
- Alex Bowman ($8,100) – 22.9 projected FPTS
– I won’t have any Alex Bowman in my lineups this weekend. His career best finish at New Hampshire is 11th, and over at Phoenix, the only good race he’s ever really had there was back in 2016 when he started on the pole. Bowman did show solid potential at Martinsville this year (he finished 6th) but that’s not worth the $8,100 price tag in my book.
- Joey Logano ($9,800) – 51.1 projected FPTS
– I wrote up Joey Logano in my Projections article. Click here to read why I like being overweight on him this weekend.
- Kurt Busch ($7,700) – 43.0 projected FPTS
– Kurt Busch is a safe Fantasy NASCAR play in most leagues but I won’t have much of him in DraftKings, maybe 10% exposure or so. He’s finished between 5th and 8th in three of the last five races here at Loudon, so I think you have to have some lineups with him on Sunday just in case, but there are several other drivers I like more in this price range.
- Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,700) – 70.8 projected FPTS
– Martin Truex, Jr. should be one of the highest-scoring drivers on the slate Sunday. He kind of had an off race here last season (still finished 6th, though) but in the five races prior, Truex led 83+ laps each race. Overall, he’s finished between 3rd and 7th in each of the last five New Hampshire events, and don’t forget he won at Martinsville this year, which was the last shorter flat track we’ve visited. Truex will be one of my highest-owned drivers on Sunday.
- Ryan Blaney ($11,100) – 52.2 projected FPTS
– Blaney is over-priced this weekend and for that reason I like being overweight on him. He starts 12th for Sunday’s Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 and has legitimate top 5 potential. Over the last three Loudon races, YRB has finished 4th, 7th, and 9th, and now he’s arguably running better than ever. As far as similar tracks this year, Blaney got caught up in that Hamlin/Keselowski incident at Phoenix, and then at Martinsville he started on the pole, led 34 laps, had 51 fastest laps, and finished 2nd.
- Tyler Reddick ($7,500) – 37.3 projected FPTS
– I wrote up Tyler Reddick in my Projections article. Click here to read why I like being overweight on him this weekend.
- Cole Custer ($6,700) – 23.2 projected FPTS
– If you’re going for broke, I think Cole Custer is a decent option for an “off the wall” pick. At this salary and starting position, I’d be surprised if he cracks 10% ownership on Sunday. However, Custer is still in a Stewart-Haas car, and he’s finished 7th or better in three of the last four races this season. Also, don’t forget he came home 9th at Phoenix back in March.
- Bubba Wallace ($6,500) – 13.8 projected FPTS
Full fade for me here.
- William Byron ($7,900) – 35.6 projected FPTS
– Byron is a relatively safe option, as he keeps clicking off finishes between 10th and 12th, but is that going to put him in the optimal lineup this weekend? I doubt it. He’s finished 12th and 14th in his two Cup Series starts at Loudon, and that’s about where I see him ending up this weekend as well. I’ll have minimal Byron.
- Erik Jones ($8,900) – 41.0 projected FPTS
– It’s definitely worth having 25%+ exposure of Erik Jones this weekend. He’s finished 6th or better in four of the last seven races now and here at Loudon he ended up 3rd last year and 6th back in 2017. Also, Joe Gibbs Racing has owned this track recently and they’re finally starting to find good speed week in and week out this season.
- Michael McDowell ($6,300) – 18.8 projected FPTS
– The projections hate McDowell this week but honestly I’ll probably be at about 15-20% exposure. Yes, he starts too high, but this #34 Ford ran 16th at Phoenix and 14th at Martinsville. The leader will start lapping cars early here on Sunday and that gives McDowell an advantage over other drivers in this price range, as he’s more likely to stay on the lead lap. He finished 17th in the Loudon race last year.
- Matt DiBenedetto ($8,300) – 42.2 projected FPTS
– Matty D should definitely be on your radar this weekend. He finished 13th at Phoenix this year and 7th at Martinsville, and when you look back to last season’s Loudon race, you’ll see that DiBenedetto crossed the line in 5th when it was all said and done. He’s now with Wood Brothers Racing, and they have their alliance with Penske–arguably the best organization on short tracks right now.
- Jimmie Johnson ($8,700) – 38.3 projected FPTS
– The bad finishes have to end sometime, right? Johnson wound up 32nd at Kansas last Thursday, making it seven races in a row that he’s finished outside of the top 10. He does have potential here at New Hampshire this weekend, though; Jimmie has three straight top 10 results at this track and has wound up 11th or better in eight of the last nine races. However, at $8,700, I feel like a top 5 finish might be needed for JJ to wind up in the optimal lineup. I’ll likely have about 10% exposure.
- Matt Kenseth ($7,600) – 39.5 projected FPTS
– I wrote up Matt Kenseth in my Projections article. Click here to read why I like being overweight on him this weekend.
- Ryan Newman ($6,600) – 32.4 projected FPTS
– Newman is very good on flat tracks and he’s priced well this weekend at $6,600. He’s also finished 13th or better in each of the last three New Hampshire races, including a 7th-place finish last year after starting back in 26th. Newman didn’t race at Phoenix this year but he has five finishes of 12th or better over there in the desert. He’s a solid pick this week, I’m aiming for 30% exposure.
- Austin Dillon ($7,400) – 32.5 projected FPTS
With as much as I like Matt Kenseth and Tyler Reddick in this price range, it’s unlikely I’ll have much of Austin Dillon on Sunday, although I could see using him in about 5-10% of lineups. The problem is the price point. Honestly, Austin is going to probably need a top 10 finish on Sunday for this $7,400 price tag to be worth it, and that’s something he’s only accomplished once in his ten career starts at Loudon. A mid-30-point day isn’t going to cut it in DraftKings for a $7,400 driver.
- Chris Buescher ($6,100) – 26.8 projected FPTS
– I actually like Chris Buescher quite a bit this weekend. He ran 15th here at New Hampshire last year and has ended up 21st or better in each of his last three starts here. Additionally, Buescher has been solid at Phoenix, too, with finishes between 16th and 18th in the last four races. For what it’s worth, I built 25 lineups by hand while working on this article and Buescher was on 7 of them.
- Ty Dillon ($5,700) – 22.2 projected FPTS
– I definitely like Ty Dillon as a pivot off of Daniel Suarez or Ryan Preece. My projections have Ty just a little below those other two, but don’t forget that the leader starts lapping people very quickly here at New Hampshire. Obviously with Dillon starting up in 25th compared to 30th and 37th for those other two, his chances of staying on the lead lap are greater. Additionally, Ty has a career average finish of 19.3 here at Loudon and he came home 15th at Phoenix earlier this year. Also, in recent races, the #13 Chevrolet has finished between 14th and 16th in three of the last four.
- James Davison ($4,500) – 5.6 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Garrett Smithley ($4,700) – 7.4 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Joey Gase ($4,900) – 6.4 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- JJ Yeley ($5,200) – 12.2 projected FPTS
– Full fade.
- Ryan Preece ($5,600) – 24.4 projected FPTS
– There’s not much trust among DraftKings players when it comes to Ryan Preece right now, and understandably so: the guy has finished 34th or worse in the last four races, and he’s literally scored a total of zero FPTS over that span. However, you need to get that out of your head this week. Ryan Preece sucks at 1.5-mile tracks. Three of those four races were 1.5-mile tracks. Preece runs better at the shorter tracks, and here at Loudon he finished 21st last year. He also ran 18th at Phoenix earlier this season. I honestly don’t mind 30-40% exposure here on Sunday.
- Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($6,800) – 37.5 projected FPTS
– Ryan Preece’s teammate is another that’s struggling right now. Over those same four races I mentioned before, Stenhouse has scored a total of -33 DraftKings FPTS. Yes, negative 33. A trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway could be just what the doctor ordered for Stenhouse, though: Ricky has finished between 10th and 17th in five of the last eight races here, although I will note he’s wound up 36th and 30th in the last two. At Phoenix this year, Stenhouse finished 22nd. I like having more Ryan Newman in this price range personally, but I’ll probably be around 20% Stenhouse on Sunday.
- Quin Houff ($4,600) – 10.0 projected FPTS
– I could see rolling the dice with Houff and hoping for a lot of attrition but I’d limit exposure to 5% or so. He could be a cap save option in case we have a Harvick/Truex/Hamlin split when it comes to dominator.
- Corey LaJoie ($6,200) – 24.2 projected FPTS
– Believe it or not, Corey LaJoie hasn’t been too bad here at Loudon recently, with three finishes between 23rd and 27th in his last three starts. What’s even more impressive is that all of those races were in different race cars. LaJoie has bumped up his performance this season so honestly another mid-20s finish wouldn’t surprise me. He ran 18th at Martinsville this year, for what that’s worth.
- Brennan Poole ($5,000) – 14.4 projected FPTS
– Same mindset as Houff (see above).
- Christopher Bell ($10,100) – 37.2 projected FPTS
– Christopher Bell slipped back into the third qualifying draw group and immediately nabbed one of the worst possible starting spots yet again. It’s just funny at this point. Anyway, I actually like being overweight on Bell this weekend–I haven’t used him much this year, honestly–due to his Joe Gibbs Racing alliance. Also don’t forget that he won the last two Xfinity races here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
- John Hunter Nemechek ($7,000) – 28.5 projected FPTS
– My projections have Nemechek at 28.5 FPTS this week but in all likelihood he’s going to end up around 35-40 FPTS when it’s all said and done. John Hunter has just one finish worse than 25th since Darlington back in May, and at Phoenix and Martinsville this year he wound up 25th in both races.
- Daniel Suarez ($5,900) – 29.4 projected FPTS
– My projections like Suarez quite a bit, but like I mentioned earlier, I like pivoting to Ty Dillon down in this price range. I’ll still have about 20% Suarez exposure, though. Not only is he improving each week now that Joe Gibbs Racing is finding speed again, but the shorter tracks are where it makes sense to use Suarez and his locked-in 37th starting spot. For what it’s worth, Danny finished 21st at Phoenix and 27th at Martinsville this year.
- Timmy Hill ($5,400) – 12.8 projected FPTS
– You could use the same mindset with Hill as I mentioned with Houff and Poole but the reality is that Timmy drives a garbage car, plus he’s priced a good amount higher than both of those guys. I’ll be fading Hill entirely on Sunday.