The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will travel to Sonoma, California, this week for the Toyota-Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. Once again, our mission is to select the best combination of top drivers and sleeper picks that will give your DraftKings fantasy team the best chance to come home with the cash this week.
With the top 16 settling into a pattern, there is a good chance that a driver outside that grouping might find success at Sonoma. While Carl Edwards' ticket was already punched last year, he picked up his second victory of the year in the Toyota-Save Mart 350.
This NASCAR Sprint Cup event is one of the few on the Sprint Cup schedule measured in kilometers. This event is 110 laps and 352.21 kilometers. The Sonoma Raceway is 1.99 miles long and the race is 218.9 miles long.
Each week, the strategy for constructing the perfect five-driver lineup for DraftKings is different. Since the race consists of just 110 laps, the best strategy may be finding the right combination of front-runners or drivers who can at least stay close to the front of the pack. This will give your team the best chance to earn bonus points for laps led, fastest laps and place differential.
|DraftKings Sonoma Fantasy Team|
Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, $13,100
Johnson is the top choice in the DraftKings contest this week. You almost certainly want to go with Johnson or Kevin Harvick nearly every week, and this is the week that Johnson responds with a top race.
Yes, he is expensive, but he has a chance to earn significant points at Sonoma, and that could be the difference between winning and losing this week.
Johnson already has four wins in 15 races this season, and he also has nine top-five finishes. That tells you that he is going to be among the leaders throughout this race. He also won this race at Sonoma in 2010, so he is comfortable racing on this track.
If you decide to swallow hard and select Harvick at $13,100, you will need to pair him a couple of lower-priced drivers who will make your team viable under the $50,000 salary cap.
Joey Logano, Ford, $11,300
Logano is not one of those lower-priced drivers we were talking about, but he is a high-quality competitor who is starting to get his form back.
After his crash at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Logano has come back with back-to-back top-10 finishes. That should make him quite viable at Sonoma. He had a fourth-place finish at Pocono, and he came back with a fifth at Michigan, restoring his confidence and momentum.
Logano has been in the top 10 in 12 of his 16 races this year, and he has one victory to his credit. He had the lead for seven laps at Michigan, and that should put him in a good position and make him worth his $11,300 tag.
Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, $10,000
Larson is outside Chase contention at this point, but a great race at Sonoma could turn things around for him.
Larson finished 17th at Michigan, but he registered nine of the fastest laps in the race, and he also held the lead for seven laps. Larson has five top-10 finishes this year, and if he can avoid trouble on the tight turns at Sonoma, he can be a major factor in this race.
Larson remembers what happened last year when he qualified third in his first Sprint Car race and was inside the top-10 through the first half. However, his steering gave out, and he finished 28th in the race.
A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, $8,300
Allmendinger is now on everybody's fantasy list after he won last week at the Glen. He has momentum, and his team is full of confidence because it won on a road course and gets another chance to do the same here on NASCAR's first road course.
A win at Sonoma will earn him a spot in the Chase championship field. Allmendinger won at Watkins Glen last year, and that allowed him to qualify for his first Chase berth. It was a notable achievement for one of NASCAR's smaller teams.
Allmendinger's average finish on road courses is 13.6th place, and that's nearly eight full positions better than on any other type of course. However, he has struggled a bit at Sonoma, as his average finish is 23rd.
Josh Wise, Ford, $7,200
Wise is a true long shot, but that's unavoidable when you have a $50,000 budget and you also have Jimmie Johnson on your team.
We are not looking at Wise to get the victory at Sonoma, because that would take a near-miracle. He has just one top-10 finish, and there's a chance he might be able to get to that position here.
Getting off to a decent start is the key, because Wise has shown he can finish races, even if he doesn't have a championship-caliber car or team. Wise has an average finish at Sonoma of 34th, and his average finish overall this season is 33rd.