Thursday, June 21, 2018

NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: At Sonoma

By Carol D'Agostino

Drivers with Most Top 10s (Last 5 Years):
By Race and Track
All with 4 - Kurt Busch, Kevin Harvick, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer
Jimmie Johnson - 3  

Top 5 Driver Ratings (Based on Last 13 races at Sonoma Raceway) SOURCE: NASCAR Media
Kurt Busch
17
1
1
7
9
0
14.1
107.5
Jimmie Johnson
16
0
1
4
9
1
12.5
99.6
Kevin Harvick
17
0
1
5
8
0
13.8
91.3
Kyle Busch
13
0
2
3
5
0
17.1
90.7
Clint Bowyer
12
0
1
7
9
1
10.7
90.1
Recent Pole Winners:
2017 Kyle Larson
2016 Carl Edwards

2016 Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

The Likely Suspects: In some ways road-racing fantasy picks are easy. Go with Cup drivers with open wheel experience and don't over-think it. These are my focus drivers: Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Busch.

My 2 Cents: Remember Carol's big road-racing no-no: don't put road-racing ringers on your fantasy team. Sorry Tomy Drissi. Just because you have experience making lefts and rights doesn't mean you can beat a Cup driver. My no-brainer pick this week is Kevin Harvick. My next picks are Kyle Busch, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Kasey Kahne and Jamie McMurray. I'm rounding out my team with Alex Bowman and Michael McDowell.

My Final Four: Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer and Michael McDowell.

Second-Look Driver: Okay, so if you are itching to pick a road-racing ringer this week despite my warnings take a second-look at A.J. Allmendinger. He has extensive experience in IndyCar and sports car racing prior to his full-time move to stock cars. The Dinger has a win at Watkins Glen, but hasn't won yet at Sonoma. Maybe this week? Our last second-look driver two weeks ago at Michigan was Aric Almirola. Aric had a so-so race, finishing in 11th place after starting in sixth.

Points to Ponder:
  • The Busch Pole position is the most proficient starting position in the field, producing more wins (five) than any other starting position at Sonoma Raceway.   
  • Jamie McMurray leads all active drivers in Busch poles at Sonoma with three.
  • Seven active Monster Energy Series drivers have wins at Sonoma; led by Kyle Busch with two victories (2008 and 2015).
  • Busch is the only active driver with multiple wins; Kasey Kahne (2009), Jimmie Johnson (2010), Kurt Busch (2011) Clint Bowyer (2012), Martin Truex Jr. (2013) and Kevin Harvick (2017) each have one win.    
  • Five active drivers are tied for the most runner-up finishes at Sonoma: Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Ryan Newman each have one MENCS runner-up finish on the famous road course.
  • Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer lead all active drivers in top-five finishes at Sonoma with seven each.  
  • Clint Bowyer and Jimmie Johnson lead all active drivers in top 10s at Sonoma with nine each.
    Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your picks by 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, June 23rd and your final picks by 3 p.m. EDT on race day Sunday, June 24th.

    Enjoy the race! Post your comments here or follow me on Twitter @purplecatpr.

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