Races at Dover International Raceway are typically pretty predictable and cut and dry, and that looks to be the case this weekend with the AAA 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks on Sunday. All of the favorites qualified up front for this weekend’s race, and now it’s going to come down to DraftKings players to determine which ones have the best chance at dominating the race. Will Kyle Larson get the monkey off his back and win from the pole? Will Chase Elliott finally finish better than 2nd and get his first career Cup Series win? Or are we looking at yet another race with Kevin Harvick or Kyle Busch in victory lane? Only time will tell.
Dover is a 1-mile concrete track, and from a Fantasy NASCAR perspective, drivers either run really well here or they’re not good at all. It’s not uncommon to see the same faces up front every time we come here. In fact, in the two Dover races last season, four drivers (Johnson, Truex, Larson, and Elliott) swept the top 5. We’re set to run 400 laps in Sunday afternoon’s AAA 400, which gives us 100 FPTS up for grabs in DraftKings as far as laps led, and probably around 170 FPTS for fastest laps, depending on the number of cautions. With the way this season has been going, though, I’m expecting a lot of green flag runs.
GPP Drivers I Love For The AAA 400
Kyle Larson ($10,200) – The clear favorite heading into Sunday among many in the Fantasy NASCAR world is Kevin Harvick ($11,000), and that includes me, as you can see I have him projected as the highest-scoring driver for the AAA 400–and by a wide margin. One guy that we can’t forget about, though, is pole sitter Kyle Larson. Yes, the #42 Chevrolet didn’t look good on the long runs in either practice session on Saturday, and, yes, when Larson was interviewed, he sounded like he might as well have a 20th-place car. But this is the same guy that led 137 laps here in the last fall race while also posting 48 fastest laps. And the same guy that led for 241 laps last spring while putting up 78 fastest laps. It’s not like Kyle Larson has forgetting how to get around Dover, and don’t forget that the #42 Chevrolet was probably the best car at Bristol last month–a totally different track but still somewhat similar. A lot of DraftKings players will be building their lineups around Kevin Harvick and his huge price tag on Sunday, and that should cause Larson to go somewhat under the radar and under-owned. If this #42 team can do some adjustments before the race on Sunday, I think Larson could do much better than I have him projected in the chart below.
Clint Bowyer ($8,800) – My strategy for Clint Bowyer for DraftKings is the same as it is in FanDuel: I’m hoping that his ownership percentage stays relatively low due to his above-average salary. However, the fact of the matter is that Bowyer seems to love his car this weekend, and he has finished inside the top 10 in more than half of this 24 career starts here. The #14 Ford is going to roll off the grid from 12th when the AAA 400 goes green, but Bower should be able to get closer to the top 5 before it’s all said and done. Momentum-wise, Clint has finished 9th or better in four of the last five races overall, and the only exception during that span was Talladega last week. Bowyer had the best ten-lap average during Happy Hour on Saturday and ranked 5th on that chart in Practice #2. We all know how good the Stewart-Haas Fords have been this season, and this should be another race where they all flex their muscle.
Alex Bowman ($6,900) – Let’s take a quick look at the short track races this season: at Martinsville, Alex Bowman started 16th and ended up finishing 7th before it was all said and done, and then he went into Bristol and qualified 8th before posting a 5th-place finish. At Richmond–if you consider that a short track–the #88 Chevrolet looked to be a top 10 car, but Alex ended up 18th. Still, two of three isn’t bad. My point here is that it looks as though Bowman and the #88 team have something figured out at the short tracks right now, and we all know about Hendrick Motorsports’ history here at Dover International Speedway. The #88 Chevrolet is going to roll off the grid from 15th when the AAA 400 gets going, and while that is a little bit of a risk for negative place differential, it’s hard to beat a potential top 10 threat at a $6,900 price point in DraftKings. Bowman didn’t look as fast as his teammate, William Byron ($6,600), in practice on Saturday, but we all know there’s a difference between race speed and practice speed. For what it’s worth, I do like Byron this weekend as well, as outlined in my FanDuel article.
Salary Cap Relief at Dover
Your best bet to save some cap space this weekend is David Ragan ($5,300). He qualified back in 32nd for Sunday’s race but should be able to finish in the mid-20s. Remember, Ragan was able to post a 12th-place finish at Bristol last month, and this #38 team is coming off of a great 6th-place run at Talladega one week ago. Overall, David Ragan has finished 25th or better in eight of the ten races this season, and it doesn’t hurt that he showed some speed in practice on Saturday here at Dover. In the morning session, Ragan ended up 16th-fastest on the speed chart, and then in Happy Hour he was 22nd-fastest. Finally, for what it’s worth, Ragan finished 30th and 21st in the two Dover races last year while driving this #38 Ford.
If you’re looking to pivot off of Ragan on Sunday–he’s probably going to be pretty high-owned–Landon Cassill ($5,100) isn’t a terrible option. The #00 team ran 66 total laps between the two practice sessions on Saturday, so it’s hard to see Cassill hanging it up early for a “mechanical issue” on Sunday. Landon does have finishes of 21st (Texas) and 20th (Bristol) when driving this car this season. Another option is Corey LaJoie ($5,000), who has already blown one engine this weekend and has the tendency to wreck and/or blow engines in the race too. He starts dead last, though, so it’s impossible to get negative points from LaJoie, and he did finish 25th at Bristol last month.
Driver Point Projections for the Dover AAA 400
The following chart takes into account the very basics: the starting position and the projected finish of each driver. The projected finishes are averaged from five different ranking systems, using both mathematical equations as well as personal rankings. This chart also includes the average projected base + laps led + fastest laps DraftKings FPTS as well as the dollar per FPT. You can click the headers below to sort the chart by that attribute. By default it is sorted by average projected FPTS.
|Driver||DraftKings Salary||Avg Proj FPTS||Starting Position||Avg. Projected Finish||Proj Laps Led||Proj Fastest Laps||Dollar Per FPT|
|Martin Truex Jr||$10,800||60.1||3||04.6||31||29||$180|
|Darrell Wallace Jr||$5,800||28.4||26||20.8||0||0||$204|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr||$7,600||13.1||5||18.2||2||0||$580|