If you remember back to the Pocono race last month, you’ll remember that it was better to focus a bit more on finish points in the FOX Fantasy Auto game than strictly place differential points. In that race, all drivers that qualified 7th or better ended up finishing inside the top 10, and that could easily happen this weekend at Indianapolis as well. This is a big, flat track with four distinct corners, but unless you get around a bunch of cars on the restart, it’s pretty hard to pass once the field gets sprawled out. We saw a lot of passing in the Xfinity race on Saturday, but don’t forget that they ran restrictor plates in that race. Of course, the introduction of the Stages will add in a new strategy aspect to the Indy race this weekend–just like we saw at Pocono–so teams that had poor qualifying efforts on Saturday could still wind up with a good finish on Sunday.
My team points last week (Loudon): 186
Overall team standings: 294th
Total team points for the season: 3,295
FOX Fantasy Auto Picks for the 2017 Brickyard Race
Kyle Larson ($13,000) – Well, here we go again. Kyle Larson’s car was super loose in qualifying on Saturday, and because of that, Larson just missed the cutoff line for Round 2, which means he’ll roll off the grid from 25th when we go green on Sunday. And while Kyle mentioned that the #42 Chevrolet was off all day on Saturday–he was 5th-fastest in Practice #1 and 15th-fastest in Happy Hour–he should still be able to notch at least a top 10 finish here on Sunday. The good news (for anyone that may be concerned) is that Larson’s teammate, Jamie McMurray, was incredibly fast all day on Saturday, so you know Larson’s car has the potential to be up there as well. Kyle hasn’t finished worse than 9th at Indianapolis in a Cup Series car and that shouldn’t change this weekend. He’s once again the top option in FOX Fantasy Auto.
Matt Kenseth ($10,600) – Here’s to hoping that Matt Kenseth’s finish at Loudon wasn’t a fluke. Despite having a rough season overall, the #20 team is still finishing well at tracks that they should, and that means Kenseth is primed for a good run here at Indianapolis on Sunday. While Matt has never gone to victory lane here at The Brickyard, he does have three 2nd-place finishes to his credit here–including in this race one year ago. Additionally, Kenseth has finished 7th or better in each of the last four Indianapolis races, while also qualifying 13th or worse in all of them. He’ll start from 14th when we go green here on Sunday. Three of the four JGR teams (including the #20) used Happy Hour to exclusively work on race trim, but it’s noteworthy that Kenseth was 3rd-fastest in the opening practice session this weekend. He’ll be fine on Sunday, and is a great value at this low mid-level price.
Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,300) – I honestly don’t know what the hell FOX Fantasy Auto is doing with the salary of Martin Truex, Jr. every week. On one hand, the #78 team rarely has a bad qualifying effort, so Truex doesn’t have the most value in place differential Fantasy NASCAR games, but at the same time, he’s averaging the 2nd-most fantasy points in the FOX game this season, yet he’s 10th-highest in salary. Doesn’t make sense. Anyway, the #78 team is knocking on the door of their fourth win of the season, and it could very well come here in Sunday’s Brickyard 400. Truex has just one top 5 finish in twelve career starts here, but he has finished 11th or better in four the last five races here and came home 6th at Pocono last month. The #78 Toyota was 2nd-fastest in the opening practice session on Saturday and ranked 10th in Happy Hour.
A.J. Allmendinger ($7,400) – Once Kyle Larson completed his qualifying run on Saturday, I could hear the collective sigh of FOX Fantasy Auto players, as we yet again have to try to fit his exorbitant salary under the $50,000 cap. And then A.J. Allmendinger went out on track and got so loose through the first couple of corners that he didn’t even finish his lap. Therefore, the #47 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from dead last (40th) once this year’s Brickyard 400 goes green. Allmendinger has been a consistent low-20s finisher this year, and even though his car was awful on Saturday, he should be able to move up at least 15 or spots on Sunday. He has finished 23rd or better in all but one of his eight career Cup starts here.
Other viable options: Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Joey Logano
FOX Fantasy Auto Fade Option
Chase Elliott ($10,600) – By qualifying back in 16th for Sunday’s Brickyard 400, that gives Chase Elliott plenty of upside in this FOX Fantasy Auto game. However, it’s not a guarantee that he cracks the top 10 on Sunday, so proceed with caution. Chase has yet to finish well here at Indianapolis in either the Xfinity Series or the Cup Series, and while he only has a combined four starts between the two leagues, it’s still noteworthy that his best finish has been 10th, and that was in the Xfinity race last year. In the Cup Series, Chase has posted finishes of 18th and 15th thus far. In practice this weekend, the #24 Chevrolet ranked 17th- and 16th-fastest during the two sessions, so it’s probably going to take some strategy for this #24 team to crack the top 10 on Sunday. Your cap space in FOX is probably best spent elsewhere.