NASCAR Fantasy 2015: New Hampshire 301 Top Drivers and Sleeper Picks

Chad Robb@@MrFantasyNASCARCorrespondent IJuly 16, 2015

Kyle Busch (18) leads the field at the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bergstrom)
Paul J. Bergstrom/Associated Press

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series travels to Loudon, New Hampshire, this week for New Hampshire 301.

New Hampshire is a one-mile oval track with only 12 degrees of banking in the corners. The track is referred to as the Magic Mile, maybe because drivers need to be magicians to find the perfect rhythm to get around it.

There have been 11 different winners in the last 11 races at New Hampshire. Some drivers have been able to run well at the track but have not been able to find a way to Victory Lane more than once in the last decade.

Track position will be very important this week. Races at the Magic Mile usually do not provide for much passing. Drivers need to get the spots they can on the restarts, because once the field spreads out, it is hard to make up ground.

The best strategy will be to select drivers who will have a good chance to lead many laps this week. Usually those drivers start the race up front and have the fastest car in Happy Hour practice.

DraftKings awards .25 bonus points for every lap a driver leads. Since there are 301 laps in the race, your team will have a chance to earn 75 bonus points. These points will be the difference between finishing in the money and having to wait until next week to try again.

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Top Drivers

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota ($11,800)

There is no driver in the field on a hotter streak than Busch. He won two of the last three races, and his track record at the Magic Mile is outstanding.

He has the second-best average finish position and the second-best driver rating in the last four races at the track. Busch finished three of those four races in second place and will be a driver to watch Sunday.

As long as Busch keeps winning races his price in DraftKings will continue to go up. His price increased $1,000 from where it was in the race at Kentucky. Busch should have a chance to duplicate his success from last week; if that happens, he will be a bargain at $11,800.

Kyle Busch Stats at New Hampshire (20 Career Races)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
171010.814.0
Racing-Reference.Info

Busch needs points to make the Chase. He proved at Kentucky that he is not out to win the points race. He wants to be in Victory Lane after the checkered flag is waived. Do not be surprised to see Busch make it back-to-back wins this week at New Hampshire.

Matt Kenseth, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota ($11,200)

Nick Wass/Associated Press

Kenseth is one of the best options this week for DraftKings because he is the best driver at making his way through traffic at the Magic Mile. His average starting spot is 13.0, and his average finishing spot is 8.75 in the last four races at the track. Kenseth also has the third-best driver rating and the fourth-best average finish position in the last two years at New Hampshire. He will be a great pick this week.

The good thing about Kenseth not running up front the entire race is that his price never reaches the top of DraftKings' salary list. Kenseth has a good chance to finish in the top five this week, but there are six drivers priced higher than him. He would be a good driver to build your team around for the race at New Hampshire.

Matt Kenseth Stats at New Hampshire (30 Career Races)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
171520.013.3
Racing-Reference.Info

Do not be scared to select Kenseth for your contest if he qualifies poorly for the race Sunday. He usually doesn't start upfront, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a fast car. Kenseth will earn many bonus points for passing cars on his way to the top five.

Brad Keselowski, Team Penske, Ford ($12,800)

David Graham/Associated Press

Last week, Keselowski had the best car in the race and might be the driver to beat this week as well. His stats at the Magic Mile are very good. 

Keselowski has a series-best driver rating and the third-best average finish position in the last four races at New Hampshire. Last year, he led 216 laps in the two races. That is just the type of driver you need for your contest this week.

Keselowski may be too high-priced for some fantasy teams, but he is worth the money. Keselowski is the second-highest-priced driver in the DraftKings contest this week. He will need to have a fast car and run up front to justify his price. Keselowski has dominated races before at New Hampshire and could do it again Sunday.

Brad Keselowski Stats at New Hampshire (11 Career Races)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
14712.511.0
Racing-Reference.Info

Last year, Keselowski started seventh and led 138 laps on his way to Victory Lane in this race. Do not be surprised to see Keselowski win his second race of the season in the New Hampshire 301.

Kevin Harvick, Stewart Haas Racing, Chevy ($14,200)

CHRIS KEANE/Associated Press/Associated Press

Harvick may be overlooked this week. He has run well in the recent races but has not led laps and dominated like he did in the first half of the season.

Last year, Harvick had the car to beat at New Hampshire in the fall race. He qualified third, led 133 laps and finished third. Since the series is going back to the rules package used throughout the season, expect Harvick to be back up front this week.

The problem with Harvick this week is his price: $14,200. He will need to lead the most laps and win the race or simply duplicate the success he had at Phoenix. Since the two tracks are similar, don't count out the No. 4 team from running up front in the race Sunday.

Kevin Harvick Stats at New Hampshire (28 Career Races)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
161413.513.9
Racing-Reference.Info

Fantasy teams need to check the Happy Hour speeds before selecting Harvick. Most drivers do not show what they have until race time; that is not the case with Harvick. If he has a fast car, he will dominate the practice sessions just like he will dominate the race.

Sleepers

Kyle Larson, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevy ($10,000)

Nick Wass/Associated Press

New Hampshire could be considered one of Larson’s best tracks, based on his rookie-year stats. Larson had a series-best average finish position in the two races at the track last season. He started 13th and finished third in the summer race and started 10th and finished second in the fall race. Larson will have a good chance for a top-10 again this week.

Larson is a little overpriced this week at $10,000, because of his lack of success in recent races. He will have an opportunity to prove that he is worth every penny. If Larson is able to run the race Sunday the same way he ran the two races last season at New Hampshire, he will be a bargain at his current price.

Kyle Larson Stats at New Hampshire (2 Career Races)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
02211.52.5
Racing-Reference.Info

Larson has run well in the recent races, but his finishes have not been good. He needs to figure out how to run a complete race and finish up front. A trip to New Hampshire is just what the young driver needs.

Jamie McMurray, Chip Ganassi Racing, Chevy ($9,800)

Nick Wass/Associated Press

McMurray is one of the most underrated drivers in the Sprint Cup Series. He continues to finish near the top 10, yet no one ever talks about him.

This could be the week people talk about McMurray winning a race. He has had some good runs at the track. McMurray started second and finished fourth in the last race at New Hampshire and could have a similar run Sunday.

McMurray is a great selection to balance your team this week. The key to winning DraftKings contests is to find drivers who outperform their prices. McMurray falls into this category this week. There are 14 drivers with a high price then McMurray, and he should be able to outrace many of them.

Jamie McMurray Stats at New Hampshire (24 Career Races)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
04619.720.5
Racing-Reference.Info

McMurray has a chance to make the Chase without a win, but the No. 1 team would love to have a win to make life much easier. It could swing for the fences this week and try to get McMurray to Victory Lane.

Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip Racing, Toyota ($9,400)

Mike McCarn/Associated Press/Associated Press

Name the driver who has finished the last four races in the top 10. Most people would not believe Bowyer is one of the answers to that question, but he is.

Bowyer has not run up front in many races but has been able to find his way to the top 10 at the end. Selecting Bowyer for your contest could pay off this week.

Bowyer has two wins and seven finishes in the top 10 at New Hampshire. Last year, he started eighth and finished sixth while leading 36 laps in the race.

Bowyer has the talent to win; he just needs the car with some speed.

The last couple of weeks, Bowyer has been underpriced in the DraftKings contest. This week his price went up, but he still has great value.

There are 15 drivers with a higher price than Bowyer. He has a good opportunity to finish in the top 10. He will probably qualify poorly and make for a great sleeper pick to earn bonus points for finish differential.

Clint Bowyer Stats at New Hampshire (18 Career Races)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
24713.114.5
Racing-Reference.Info

Bowyer probably needs a win a race to make the Chase. The No. 15 team will be another team who may gamble in the pits in order to steal track position. This team has become the master of getting track position through the pits.

Austin Dillon, Richard Childress Racing, Chevy ($8,100)

CHRIS KEANE/Associated Press/Associated Press

Dillon only has two races in the Sprint Cup Series at New Hampshire, but he ran well in both of them. He started 23rd and finished 14th in the summer race and started 22nd and finished 11th in the fall race. Dillon also finished two of his three races in the Xfinity Series at New Hampshire in the top five. He is a great sleeper pick this week.

If you are going to use the higher-priced drivers for your contest this week, you will need drivers like Dillon to build your team around. He has a good chance to finish in the top 15, but there are 24 drivers with a higher price than Dillon.

Austin Dillon Stats at New Hampshire (2 Career Race)
WinsTop 5'sTop 10'sAvg StartAvg Finish
00022.512.5
Racing-Reference.Info

Dillon only has finished two races in the top 10 this season. He has run well at the tracks at which he has a history of finishing up front. This is one of his best tracks, so expect him to finish near the top 10 this week.

DraftKings Picks for New Hampshire

Driver 1: Brad Keselowski ($12,800)

Driver 2: Kyle Busch ($11,800)

Driver 3: Ryan Newman (($9,200)

Driver 4: Austin Dillon ($8,100)

Driver 5: David Ragan ($7,800)

Advanced stats courtesy Racing-Reference.Info

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