NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Circuit of the America debut

Going into this season all eyes were on 2020 NASCAR Cup champion Chase Elliott to sweep all the road courses. Christopher Bell had something to say about that at Daytona's Road Course earlier this year. Could Chase get his first win of the season on Sunday?

This Week's Pick Strategy:
The EchoPark Texas Grand Prix should be dubbed 20 turns into the unknown. I'm going to make my picks based on seasoned drivers that have proven acumen in road-course racing, then sprinkle in drivers who love to mix it up on different types of tracks and in different types of vehicles. Keep an eye on Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Kyle Busch, Cole Custer, and Tyler Reddick who will be getting extra seat time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

Active Cup Drivers with Road Course Wins:
Chase Elliott, 5, Charlotte RC (2019, 2020), Daytona RC (2020), Watkins Glen (2018, 2019)
Martin Truex Jr., 4, Sonoma (2013, 2018, 2019), Watkins Glen (2017)
Kyle Busch, 4, Sonoma (2008, 2015), Watkins Glen (2008, 2013)
Kevin Harvick, 2, Sonoma (2017), Watkins Glen (2006)
Christopher Bell, 1, Daytona RC (2021)
Ryan Blaney, 1, Charlotte RC (2018)
Denny Hamlin, 1, Watkins Glen (2016)
Joey Logano, 1, Watkins Glen (2015)
AJ Allmendinger, 1, Watkins Glen (2014)
Kurt Busch, 1, Sonoma (2011)

The Likely Suspects:  These drivers have a knack for shifting and going left and right: Martin Truex Jr., Chase Elliott, Kyle and Kurt Busch, Christopher Bell, Kyle Larson, Tyler Reddick, Erik Jones, Joey Logano, Alex Bowman, Michael McDowell and Ryan Blaney.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick is Martin Truex Jr. My next choices are Chase Elliott, the Busch Brothers, Tyler Reddick, and Cole Custer. I will complete my team with Michael McDowell and Daniel Suarez.
My Final Four: Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Busch, Cole Custer, and Michael McDowell

Second-look driver: This week's second-look driver is William Byron. William was fastest in practice on Saturday and he comes into this race with momentum and consistency on his side. Since the third race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway where he won, William has posted 11 consecutive Top 10s. It also doesn't hurt that William and his teammate Chase Elliott had a chance to test at COTA and William has finished in the Top 10 in three of the last four road course races.

Last week's second-look driver, Alex Bowman, got his second win of the season at Dover International Speedway, taking the lead off pit road after his final pit stop with 97 of 400 race laps remaining. He started in 16th place and led 97 laps. The win is Alex's fourth career victory in the Cup Series. He led the way for a 1-2-3-4 finish for Hendrick Motorsports, the first team since 2005 (Roush Racing, Homestead) to sweep the top four spots in a Cup Series race. Kyle Larson placed second, Chase Elliott finished third, and William Byron was fourth. “Every time you enter a race you’d love to see them go 1-2-3-4,” said team owner Rick Hendrick. “It was probably the longest last 100 laps that I’ve seen in a race. So proud of all the guys and it was a great day for the organization."
Bowman credits running the "Johnson line" for his performance at Dover. “I was terrible when I came here for other teams,” Bowman said. “I texted Jimmie and asked how he approaches this place. I just stuck to that and ran the Jimmie Johnson line, tight against the black, super disciplined, super patient.
“We’ve been good here ever since. To win here with the 48 car is special but to win with tips that Jimmie gave me is pretty cool.”

Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, you have the potential to earn qualifying points. Make your initial picks by 8 a.m. ET on race day Sunday, May 23 and your final picks by 2:30 p.m.
Enjoy the race!

Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 15 years. She launched  NASCAR Fantasy Fusion for Skirts & Scuffs in October 2011. Each week, Carol pores through statistics and combs through her personal notebooks to arm fans with analysis and picking strategies that will leave their friends wondering how they got so smart. Carol also does race coverage for Skirts & Scuffs at Richmond Raceway and occasionally at her home track, Dover International Speedway. She is also part of the distinguished NASCAR Expert Picks panel at formerly called Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet.
When she isn’t wielding her fantasy-racing superpowers, you’ll find Carol hammering out a news release or creating a marketing strategy at a small niche public relations firm she founded called Purple Cat, or executing downtown revitalization projects for a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.
NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Circuit of the America debut NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Circuit of the America debut Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Saturday, May 22, 2021 Rating: 5