NASCAR Cup Series teams are ready to gamble for the win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend. Let’s see which daily fantasy NASCAR DraftKings drivers you’ll roll the dice on for Sunday’s (March 6) Pennzoil 400, airing at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
Drivers are gearing up for their third race and first 1.5-mile oval track of the season. Although Las Vegas hasn’t been repaved for awhile, the wear isn’t as bad as Auto Club Speedway, meaning tires should hold up better over the course of a long green-flag run. It still should be interesting to see how these Next Gen cars react to the track after several endured spins and crashes last weekend.
Practice and qualifying (at 1:30 and 2:15 p.m. ET on Saturday) should help highlight some drivers that you should roster in daily fantasy. Look at lap averages (especially if more cars are on track for 10 or more laps) to see who has speed, and check out who struggles in qualifying. As we saw with Aric Almirola, Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch last week, if they start in the back, they could score a lot of DraftKings points.
Though current Next Gen speed is key to helping you cash your contests, you can still look at previous Las Vegas races. In the past couple of years at LVMS, one driver led 92 laps or more in each race. Who could this year’s dominator end up being? Historically, Denny Hamlin’s been one of the strongest in Sin City during the past three races, leading over 100 circuits in both fall 2020 and 2021 events.
Before I share which drivers I’m keeping an eye on this week, let’s look at the DraftKings results from last week’s race at Auto Club Speedway:
Note: These scores and salaries are from the original contests DraftKings made before qualifying.
Three of these drivers struggled at the 2-mile track, most notably Kyle Busch. His car had multiple issues early on, including overheating problems, but was able to rally back to 14th after a late caution got him back on the lead lap.
Tyler Reddick appeared to have the car to beat at ACS until a tire went down, then William Byron got loose and crashed into him about 150 laps into the race. However, Reddick led a lot of laps before that, which helped to pad his DraftKings score.
In the $1 double up contest, you needed 242.7 fantasy points to win $2. Also, in the $1 Giant Happy Hour tournament, 274.95 fantasy points earned $1.93.
As far as DraftKings scoring, the rules are the same as last season: 0.45 points for each fastest lap and 0.25 for each lap led. Additionally, drivers can earn a point for each position they gain on the track (relative to where they start). They can also lose a point for each spot lost, so keep this fact in mind if you decide to play the pole sitter.
Here are their rules for the road this season.
Now, on to my picks!
Note: The following drivers are part of a sample NASCAR DraftKings lineup; you can use this info to make your own. DraftKings may decide to make another set of contests after qualifying for Sunday; these are from the first set opened during the week.
DraftKings Picks for 2022 Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas
Kyle Larson ($11,300)
Career at Las Vegas: 11 starts, 1 win, 4 top fives, 8 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 9.8
New car, same Kyle Larson. The California native claimed the win at Auto Club last weekend after leading just 28 laps. His Hendrick Motorsports team was able to make the right adjustments to help his No. 5 car’s handling; as a result, he enters Nevada the heavy favorite to win again.
The 2021 Cup champion did well in Sin City last year; he’s the defending spring race winner and finished 10th last fall. Larson also led 198 total laps in those races. In fact, he has just one Vegas finish outside the top 20 in his Cup career. Even if the HMS veteran doesn’t win, he could take the helm out front and score bonus fantasy points for fastest laps.
Joey Logano ($10,800)
Career at Las Vegas: 17 starts, 2 wins, 6 top fives, 11 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 8.6
Joey Logano has also taken the right gambles at LVMS over the years. He has the best average finish among active drivers and won back-to-back spring events in 2019 and 2020. Logano also led 486 total laps from 2014 through spring 2020, racking up valuable bonus points. Last year, he wasn’t as strong, but still finished a respectable ninth, then 11th in the spring and fall races.
Last week, the No. 22 Team Penske pilot brought home a fifth-place finish, notching five fastest laps and leading 14 circuits. It was enough for 46.8 fantasy points on DraftKings. And don’t forget, Logano won the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum last month, giving him early momentum he’s carried throughout 2022.
Logano would love to be the second Penske victor of the season and definitely has a good chance to cash in this Sunday.
Austin Dillon ($8,000)
Career at Las Vegas: 13 starts, 0 wins, 2 top fives, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 15.7
Maybe we should call Austin Dillon Mr. Where Did He Come From after he snuck into the top five the last 20 laps or so at Fontana. A late-race restart and fresh tires helped him battle at the front and earn a second-place finish behind Larson.
The No. 3 Richard Childress Racing driver has had some solid results at Las Vegas, coming home 16th or better in eight of 13 events. His best finish of fourth came in the second race of 2020, 17 positions further up from where he started.
Dillon was 12th and 13th in the spring and fall 2021 races, respectively, and he led seven circuits in the latter. Expect him to stick around that range this week, which would be just fine for your DraftKings lineups.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,200)
Career at Las Vegas: 13 starts, 0 wins, 1 top five, 2 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 19.2
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. had an up-and-down day at Auto Club Speedway; he began inside the top 10 and held there for several laps. The No. 47 Chevrolet driver then dropped backwards twice before ultimately clawing back to snag 10th place after starting 17th.
Now, Stenhouse heads to another racetrack where he’s had a couple of top 10s, earning sixth in spring 2019 and third the following year in his second race with JTG Daugherty Racing. Last year, Stenhouse finished 11th in the spring and 17th in the fall, producing a combined position differential of +11.
If he displays similar speed this week in practice, look for the Mississippi native to finish well and record a good score on DraftKings.
Dark Horse Performers
Chase Briscoe ($6,900)
Career at Las Vegas: 2 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 17.5
Speaking of up-and-down days, Chase Briscoe endured that as well last week in California. His 16th-place result doesn’t show what he accomplished early on, as his No. 14 Ford edged out front around lap 75. Unfortunately, he had to pit an extra time under caution for loose rear wheels and dropped back pretty far. Even a late-race gamble of staying out on old tires didn’t kickstart the team back into the top 10.
Still, the Stewart-Haas Racing wheelman could bounce back at LVMS. Briscoe had a few places he ran in the teens at the intermediate courses as a rookie last year. Briscoe gained five positions to earn a 14th place last fall at Las Vegas. Also, he grabbed an 11th at Michigan International Speedway and a 15th in the fall Texas Motor Speedway race.
Briscoe’s inexpensive salary should help you fit some other dominators in your lineup.
Daniel Hemric ($5,800)
Career at Las Vegas: 2 starts, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 0 top 10s
Average finish at Las Vegas: 20.0
After Daniel Hemric earned a ninth last week at Auto Club, I didn’t expect to see him with such a low salary on DraftKings. I mean, he did qualify fifth, so that would have affected his score if he finished further back, but still.
Perhaps it was Hemric’s history at Las Vegas that had DraftKings worried a bit, as he started up front for both 2019 races but finished 23rd and 17th in the spring and fall, respectively. A position differential of -29 combined is not what the doctor ordered for your roster.
However, I think Hemric will take what he’s learned from the NASCAR Xfinity Series (after placing second and fifth there last spring and fall) and try to apply it to Sunday’s race. Keep an eye on the reigning NXS champion in practice and qualifying.
About the author
Joy joined Frontstretch in 2019 as a NASCAR DraftKings writer, expanding to news and iRacing coverage in 2020. She's currently an assistant editor while continuing to write daily fantasy and news articles. A California native, Joy was raised as a motorsports fan and started watching NASCAR extensively in 2001. She earned her B.A. degree in Liberal Studies at California State University Bakersfield in 2010.
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