New Hampshire Motor Speedway–otherwise known as Loudon–is a 1-mile oval with long, flat straightaways and tight corners with minimal banking. And while this is technically considered a short track on the NASCAR circuit, it doesn’t really race like one. It’s not uncommon for a lot of passing to happen here at New Hampshire, and that means cars can make their way through the field if they have a bad qualifying effort. Remember, when we raced here back in July, Kyle Larson started dead last in 39th and almost ended up winning the race. Additionally, only three of the top 7 finishers in that race qualified in the top 10 that weekend.
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My team points last week (Chicagoland): 175
Overall team standings: 84th
Total team points for the season: 4,742
FOX Fantasy Auto Picks for the 2017 ISM Connect 300 Race
Brad Keselowski ($10,000) – Despite not having the unfair advantage that other manufacturers enjoy, Brad Keselowski and his #2 Ford have fared pretty well here at New Hampshire Motor Speedway over the years. Back in 2014, Kez went to victory lane in the summer race, and over the last twelve races at this track he has never finished worse than 15th. Nine of those twelve have been single-digit finishes for Keselowski, too. In other words, BK is good at this track, and he’s consistent. This weekend, he’ll roll off the grid from 13th when the ISM Connect 300 goes green, but should be able to make up some positions during the race. The #2 Ford was 12th-fastest in the first practice session on Saturday and then ended up 12th-quick with the 9th-best ten-lap average in Happy Hour.
Clint Bowyer ($9,700) – There’s a good chance that Clint Bowyer is going to get overlooked by FOX Fantasy Auto players this weekend, considering only 14% of them had him on their roster as of Saturday afternoon. Bowyer is a very good flat track racer and finished 7th here at Loudon the last time we raced here (with a positive place differential of 12). This weekend, the #14 Ford will roll off the grid from 16th, and although it has been a while since Bowyer finished inside the top 10 in Cup Series action–five straight races to be exact–that could easily change this weekend. Bowyer was 14th-fastest in the morning practice session here on Saturday and then wound up 10th-fastest in Happy Hour with the 13th-best ten-lap average. Clint has two career wins here at Loudon and has finished inside the top 10 in over a third of his Cup Series starts here.
Daniel Suarez ($9,900) – Daniel Suarez was visibly frustrated after qualifying on Friday–and for good reason. The #19 Toyota is much better than its 25th-place starting spot, but that little blunder in qualifying is good news for us fantasy owners. New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been dominated by Joe Gibbs Racing over the last few years, and that’s why it really wasn’t that surprising when Suarez ended up finishing 6th when we raced here back in July. He should be good for another top 15 here on Sunday depending on the race plays out, but the good news is that #19 Toyota is faster than that: Suarez ranked 6th- and 4th-fastest in the two practice sessions on Saturday while ending up 8th- and 7th-best in ten-lap average. Flat tracks are where Daniel has found the most success this season, so despite his high price tag in FOX Fantasy Auto, he should be a good pick on Sunday.
Joey Logano ($8,900) – It’s been awhile since Joey Logano has been a viable option in Fantasy NASCAR, hasn’t it? The #22 Ford wasn’t able to make it through pre-qualifying inspection in time on Friday, and because of that, Joey will start dead last on Sunday. That means for each position he improves before the checkered flag, he’s earning 2 fantasy points in FOX Fantasy Auto. Logano is the ultimate chalk pick in place differential fantasy leagues this weekend, and while I usually like to employ a contrarian strategy here in FOX Fantasy Auto, there’s no chance that he doesn’t make my lineup this weekend. Joey had a bad race here at Loudon in July, but in the five races before that, he never finished worse than 11th, and four of those resulted in top 5s. Logano has shown top 15 speed all weekend, and even a 20th-place finish on Sunday would equal 40 fantasy points in FOX Fantasy Auto.
Other viable options: Martin Truex, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Ryan Newman, Danica Patrick
FOX Fantasy Auto Fade Option
Chase Elliott ($10,100) – The #24 team had a great race at Chicagoland last weekend with their 2nd-place finish, and while momentum is a decent-sized factor in the world of Fantasy NASCAR, Chase Elliott is kind of different. We’re in year #2 of Chase in the Monster Energy Cup Series, and if there’s one thing that we’ve learned, it’s that we rarely see improvement out of him at a particular race track; essentially, if Elliott is good at a track, he’s good, and if he’s just mediocre, he’s just mediocre. Thus far, New Hampshire Motor Speedway has been the latter for Chase Elliott. While he has typically qualified well here (average start of 9.3), Chase has yet to finish better than 11th–again, not terrible, but not great. The #24 Chevrolet will roll off the grid from 14th here on Sunday, and while I could see Chase advancing three or four positions during the race, chances are he’s not going to be a top 5 contender. He’s also without his regular crew chief this weekend, and at a track like Loudon, where one mistake can ruin your entire day, that could be a big disadvantage.