We’re back to short track racing this weekend, as the Overton’s 301 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. As with any other short track, things can change quickly here at Loudon, and the best Fantasy NASCAR options are still going to be the guys that start up front. With that being said, improving positions isn’t impossible at this 1-mile race track, and there are some pretty good cars that should move up from where they start by the time the checkered flag waves on Sunday.
My team points last week (Kentucky): 203
Overall team standings: 272nd
Total team points for the season: 3,109
Top FOX Fantasy Auto Drivers for the 2017 Loudon Race
Brad Keselowski ($9,400) – Brad Keselowski is very under-priced in FOX Fantasy Auto this weekend, so dollar-for-dollar he’s one of the best options you can go with on Sunday. He’s a previous winner here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (in this race back in 2014) and has an overall average finish of 10.3 here, which is the best in the series. Kez ended up 10th in qualifying this weekend but should be able to improve upon that starting spot once we go green here on Sunday. Looking at the most comparable race tracks to Loudon that we have ran at this season (Martinsville and Richmond), Keselowski came home with results of 1st and 2nd in those races earlier this year. The Blue Deuce has been really hit or miss here over the last two months but you should expect a strong run out of Keselowski here at Loudon on Sunday.
Kyle Larson ($13,000) – We’re in pretty much the exact same situation as last weekend with Kyle Larson. While his salary is extremely high for this FOX Fantasy Auto game, his potential score on Sunday is massive as well, so he’s a must start. Larson came away with 77 fantasy points in FOX last weekend at Kentucky and it wouldn’t be surprising if he finished with a similar amount here at Loudon this weekend. The #42 Chevrolet was the fastest car on the track by a wide margin here on Friday, and even laid down the fastest time in qualifying, but the car failed post-qualifying inspection so Larson’s time was disallowed. He will now be scored from the 39th-place starting spot. Still, the #42 is fast enough to win this race on Sunday, and Larson has 301 laps to get up to the front. He shouldn’t have a problem doing so.
Kurt Busch ($9,600) – Most people will look at Kurt Busch’s recent finishes here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and eventually go and try to find a better option, but you really should dig deeper into those races. For example, in this event one year ago, Kurt was running around the top 5 with about 20 laps to go but had contact with Brad Keselowski and got a flat tire. He ended up finishing 22nd. Additionally, taking into account the last four races here, Busch has an average running position of 8.3 but an average finish of 14th. Eventually, those finishes will come. The #41 Ford will roll off the grid from 9th here on Sunday, and Kurt should be able to pick up some place differential fantasy points while coming home with a solid top 10 finish when it’s all said and done.
Ryan Blaney ($7,700) – One thing you should get into the habit of doing right after qualifying is over is comparing those results to the speeds of Practice #1. If, for example, a driver was top 5 fast in Practice #1 and wound up back in 15th during qualifying, then you should probably look into why that happened. Such is the case with Ryan Blaney this weekend. The #21 team put out a mailing explaining what happened in qualifying, and from their Twitter account it sounds like they just missed it. That ‘miss’ for them is a gain for us, though, as Blaney should be able to get some positive place differential here at Loudon on Sunday. He finished 11th and 12th in the two races here last season and was 8th-fastest in practice here on Saturday afternoon.
Other viable options: Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Chase Elliott, Martin Truex, Jr., Kevin Harvick, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
Stay away from…
Clint Bowyer ($10,200) – Clint Bowyer may seem like a great option in FOX Fantasy Auto this weekend–as flat tracks have been a strength for him in the past–but the fact of the matter is that this #14 team isn’t quite hitting on all cylinders right now, and Bowyer hasn’t finished better than 14th here since the 2014 season. Now obviously part of that has to do with the less-than-stellar equipment he was in last season, but, still, it’s not like Clint blew anyone away during practice this weekend; in the first session on Saturday, Bowyer was 10th-fastest on the overall speed chart, but by Happy Hour he was back in 17th while ranking 19th in ten-lap average (among 32 total cars). There’s some potential place differential points with Bowyer this weekend since he qualified 19th, but the odds of him finishing inside the top 10 aren’t extremely high. You can get Chase Elliott for the same price in FOX Fantasy Auto and probably score significantly more points.
Jimmie Johnson ($12,200) – Jimmie Johnson is a three-time winner here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, and while he should have a strong showing here on Sunday in the Overton’s 301, that doesn’t make him a good pick in FOX Fantasy Auto. Remember, place differential fantasy points are the biggest part of this FOX game, and when a driver qualifies 2nd, his viability goes down by quite a bit. And when that drivers costs $12,200, there’s really no reason to use that much cap space unless he is the odds-on favorite to win heading into race day–which Jimmie Johnson is not. The #48 Chevrolet should be able to contend for a top 5 finish this weekend, but even a 5th-place result is only 36 fantasy points in FOX Fantasy Auto. There are better options available this weekend, and at a lower price, too.