NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Gateway Cup debut

Distance: 1.25 miles
Backstretch Length: 1,976 feet
Frontstretch Length: 1,922-feet
Turns 1 & 2 Banking: 11 degrees
Turns 3 & 4 Banking: 9 degrees
Well, this should be interesting. The Cup Series has never run here at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, and then there's the New Gen car factor. Don't panic just yet about making your picks this week, though. We can do a bit of extrapolating from driver past experience on this track with both the Xfinity and Truck Series.

In addition, there's the theory that this egg-shaped track is a little bit like Phoenix Raceway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway with a dash of Martinsville Speedway and a side of Darlington Raceway. Yikes!

This Week's Pick Strategy: I'm sticking with flat-track statistics, weighing Phoenix, New Hampshire and Richmond heavily. I'm also going to focus on drivers with past experience here, especially those with wins, as well as drivers who just seem to have a knack for adapting to new tracks. And then there's those drivers who love to shift. Don't forget those Team Penske drivers who led practice charts this afternoon.

Drivers with Xfinity or Truck Series Wins at Gateway: Nine different drivers have won in those series at World Wide Technology Raceway.
Kevin Harvick: 3 wins - Xfinity Series 2000, 2001 and Truck Series 2010
Christopher Bell: 1 win -Truck Series 2016
Kyle Busch:1 win - Xfinity Series 2009
Ross Chastain: 1 win - Truck Series 2019
Cole Custer: 1 win - Truck Series 2015
Justin Haley: 1 win - Truck Series 2018
Brad Keselowski: 1 win - Xfinity Series 2010
Martin Truex Jr.: 1 win - Xfinity Series 2004
Bubba Wallace: 1 win -Truck Series 2014

Other Drivers with Gateway Experience: Tyler Reddick, Aric Almirola, and Ryan Blaney have made Truck Series starts at World Wide Technology Raceway. Aric earned three Top 10s in three Truck starts and Tyler posted one Top 10 in three Truck starts. Ryan only had one start, but earned a seventh-place finish.

Drivers with Most Top 10s at New Hampshire, Phoenix and Richmond*
Kevin Harvick - 6
Both with 5 - Denny Hamlin and Ryan Blaney
All with 4- Joey Logano, Martin Truex Jr., Kyle Larson, Christopher Bell, and Kyle Busch.
* Six total races; last two at all three tracks

What the Drivers Are Saying:
Cole Custer: “One end is extremely tight… and then you have the other end that’s really similar to maybe New Hampshire or Phoenix (Turns) 1 and 2, where it’s really wide and sweeping, so just kind of have to get used to the repave. I think I have an idea of the race track from using the Ford simulator, but the repave is definitely going to be different than what I was used to.”

Aric Almirola: “It’s been a long time since I’ve been there in a truck. Since then the track has been repaved and has had a lot of upgrades, so it’s going to be new to me, but also new to everyone. Getting 50 minutes of practice will be helpful. I’m looking forward to it. We went to Nashville in the Cup cars last year for the first time and we qualified on the pole and ran in the top-five all day. I hope to do something very similar for our first time at Gateway. We’ve had to adapt to new scenarios all year and I know this 10 team can do it.”

Kyle Busch: “Gateway is very tight, very narrow. It can be slick, too, from what I understand talking with my KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) Truck Series guys. The long back straightaway getting into turns three and four, which is a huge, wide, sweeping turn, and a completely different way of driving both of those corners."

The Likely Suspects: I think these drivers will be running upfront on Sunday: Joey Logano, Ryan Blaney, Aric Almirola, Kyle Larson, The Busch Brothers, Ross Chastain, Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick, and Chase Briscoe.

My 2 Cents: My no-brainer pick this week is Joey Logano. My next picks are Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Kurt Busch, Christopher Bell, and Ross Chastain. I will complete my team with Daniel Suarez and Cole Custer.

My Final Four: Ryan Blaney, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, and Daniel Suarez.

Remember, if you're playing Driver Group Game, make your initial picks by 8 a.m. ET on Saturday, June 4th and your final picks by 3:30 p.m. ET on race day, Sunday, June 5th.

Enjoy the race!
Carol D'Agostino has been playing Fantasy NASCAR for 16 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: Gateway Cup debut NASCAR Fantasy Fusion: Gateway Cup debut Reviewed by Carol D'Agostino on Friday, June 03, 2022 Rating: 5