The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will head to Dover this week for a fast-paced race at the Monster Mile.
Dover is a high-banked one-mile racetrack that requires drivers to find a rhythm in order to make speed. For fantasy NASCAR players, that means past performance at Dover will be the determining factor in selecting your team. Drivers either know how to get around the Monster Mile or they do not.
The strategy for the Fantasy Live game should be to select drivers who will start up front in the race. The driver who has won the pole has led the most laps in almost every short track race this season. Since there are 400 laps in the race and each team receives one point for every two laps led, a driver who leads many laps will score a lot of points for your team.
Unlike the Fantasy Live game where fantasy players have until the drop of the green flag to select their team, people playing the Yahoo Fantasy Auto Racing game must have their lineups selected early on Friday morning. The first practice and qualifying will begin after your team has been selected, so players will not have any data to use when selecting their team. Have no fear, I can help.
Here are my picks for the Yahoo! Fantasy Auto Racing game…
This is not the week to save starts in Group A. Most fantasy NASCAR teams have been using Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth a lot this season. These two drivers have dominated the first 12 races this season and they should continue to dominate this week at Dover.
If you want to go against what your competitors may pick this week, select Clint Bowyer. Bowyer has a streak of four top-10 finishes at Dover and should easily finish in the top 10 again this week.
My sleeper pick for Group A is Brad Keselowski. He won the last race at Dover and should finish in the top 10 on Sunday. Crew Chief Paul Wolfe will return from suspension this week and should make a huge difference in the way the No. 2 car performs in the race.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group A and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon the driver’s career stats at Dover….
Jimmie Johnson must be on every team this week, even if you have one start left with him. Johnson has dominated the Monster Mile in the past and he will do it again on Sunday.
Johnson has seven wins, 11 top-five finishes, 16 top-10 finishes and three poles in his 22 career races at Dover. He has only finished outside the top 10 once in the last 10 races at the racetrack.
In the last four races at Dover, Johnson has a series-best driver rating of 133.6, led a series-high 696 laps, he has a series-best average starting position of No. 5 and a series-best average finishing position of No. 4. Johnson is a lock for a top-five finish this week.
If any driver is going to challenge Johnson for the win this week it will be Matt Kenseth. His numbers are not as good as Johnson’s, but he has shown speed at every racetrack this season and his stats at Dover are impressive.
Kenseth has two wins, 13 top-five finishes, 18 top-10 finishes and one pole in his 28 career races at Dover. Kenseth has finished three of the last four races at the racetrack in the top five. He will make it four out of five after Sunday’s race.
Other good choices: Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer and Kevin Harvick
Like in Group A, fantasy NASCAR teams will not want to save starts in Group B this week. The top drivers in the group are the drivers who dominate at Dover.
If you want a sleeper this week, Marcos Ambrose is your driver. Ambrose has finished three of the last four races at Dover in the top 10. He only has one top-10 finish this season, but another is a possibility on Sunday.
Here are the four drivers I selected for Group B and stats from the NASCAR Media Center based upon their career statistics at Dover….
I know it seems as though I select Kyle Busch every week, but he is the best driver in Group B. Even if you do not start him on your team, he has a great chance to score your team qualifying points.
Busch has two wins, seven top-five finishes and 10 top-10 finishes in his 16 career races at Dover. In the last four races at Dover Busch has the third-best driver rating of 107.7, he has the second-most laps led with 303 and the third-best average starting position of No. 6.
Kyle Busch will challenge Jimmie Johnson for the win on Sunday.
Carl Edwards is another driver who has been used many times this year in fantasy NASCAR, but he must be on your team this week.
Edwards has one win, eight top-five finishes and 12 top-10 finishes in his 17 career races at Dover. In the last four races at Dover, Edwards has the second-best driver rating of 108.7, he has the third-most laps led with 233 and the seventh-best average finishing position of No. 10.
Edwards will be the top Ford in the field this week at Dover.
Kurt Busch is my selection based upon the speed his team brings to the racetrack each week. The No. 78 Furniture Row Racing team seems to have their groove. Busch has not only been qualifying well, he has been able to keep his car up front. His pit crew worries me, but he is hot right now so get what you can out of the No. 78 team.
Martin Truex Jr.
My last selection for Group B came down to a decision between two Michael Waltrip Racing Toyotas. Mark Martin has excellent career statistics at Dover, but he has a streak of three races finishing outside of the top 25. I decided to go with the safer pick, Martin Truex Jr.
Truex has one win, one top-five finish, six top-10 finishes and two poles in his 14 career races at Dover. In the last four races at Dover Truex has the fourth-best average starting position of No. 7 and he has a average finishing position of No. 12. Truex would be a good backup plan this week in Group B.
Other good choices: Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin, Ryan Newman and Marcos Ambrose
It will be slim pickings once again in Group C. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is by far the best pick and finding another driver to go with him will be tough. Hopefully your team has enough starts left with Stenhouse to make him the easy choice this week.
Here are the two drivers I selected for Group C…
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. started this race No. 17 and finished No. 12 last year. He drove a part-time car to a top-15 finish. I look for him to finish inside the top 15 on Sunday.
Stenhouse has two top-five finishes and three top-10 finishes in his six career starts in the Nationwide Series at Dover.
Austin Dillon will drive the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevy this week. Dillon has competed in three races this season and his best finish was No. 21 at Las Vegas. The other two races Dillon finished outside the top 30. Dillon may be worth a gamble this week, but do not expect much more than a top-25 finish from him.
Other good choices: Casey Mears and David Reutimann
2012 Dover June Pole Sitter: Mark Martin 158.297 MPH
2012 Dover September Pole Sitter: Denny Hamlin 159.299 MPH
2012 Dover June Winner: Jimmie Johnson, Started No. 2
2012 Dover September Winner: Brad Keselowski, Started No. 14
Most Wins at Dover, Active Drivers: Jimmie Johnson (7)
Most Poles at Dover, Active Drivers: Mark Martin (5)
Most Top-Five Finishes, Active Drive: Mark Martin (23)
Most Top-10 Finishes, Active Driver: Mark Martin (31)
Most Wins by Manufacturer: Chevy (32)
Worst Starting Spot to Win: Kyle Petty, 1995, started No. 37
Races Won from the Pole: 13 of 86
Races Won from Top Five: 52 of 86
Races Won from Top 10: 67 of 86
If you need any further advice with your team, look for me on Twitter @MrFantasyNASCAR
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