The NASCAR world returns to the famed Brickyard this weekend for the Verizon 200. After 16 years of taking place on the 2.5-mile oval course, the event was moved to a road course last season. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway features a 14-turn, 2.534-mile road course built inside the historic oval. It’s a unique track in comparison to any other NASCAR road course. Formula 1 once competed on this course and IndyCar has raced here since 2014. Just a year following Roger Penske’s purchase of the Brickyard, he would make the necessary changes to the layout. For years the track had been plagued by struggling crowd numbers.
Aj Allmendinger, a fan favorite, won the inaugural event. He would take full advantage of the wreck-filled chaos. Only two of the 95 laps were led by him, as he beat Ryan Blaney by just 0.929 seconds. There are 82 laps scheduled for Sunday (which works out to 40 DraftKings points for laps led).
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Practice & Qualifying
The Cup Series will hold a group practice session on Saturday morning. The practice session will last approximately an hour before qualifying begins. Both groups will compete in single-car qualifying, consisting of a timed lap for each driver. In the second round of qualifying, the five fastest drivers from each group will attempt their best lap time. The driver with the quickest time will earn the Busch Pole.
This week, the Money Train delves into the DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Indianapolis, Indiana. The selections are broken down between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK). Best of luck to everyone with lineups this weekend
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Chase Elliott (14,000 FD | 10,600 DK)
These past five races have seen Elliott on a tear, and he hasn’t shown any signs that he is slowing down. His car might not always be the fastest, but he has managed to keep his car in contention. And there are times when divine intervention works in his favor, like last week. Despite not winning the first Verizon 200, he put in a strong performance. In addition to finishing fourth, he led 14 laps during the event.
Over the last five races, Elliott has been a can’t miss fantasy selection regardless of whether it’s a road course or oval. Remember that he won three of those races and finished second in two others. A combination of Elliott and Blaney could prove to be very profitable. The chalk is heavy for him, but that shouldn’t stop you from putting the No. 9 driver in those lineups.
Ryan Blaney (10,500 FD | 9,200 DK)
Pocono was going decently well for Blaney before he had difficulties on the final stage. It began when Blaney’s tire was cut on lap 94, sending him into the pits. He would survive the mishap, but the hits would keep coming. After losing control of his car with just 26 laps remaining, Blaney hit the pit road wall hard. Following the collision, he would be unable to continue racing. He would finish out the race 33rd. Having already had his opportunity at a Brickyard win dashed last season on the final overtime lap, Blaney gets another bite at the apple. Due to his large points cushion, he is still safe. A victory, however, would guarantee his spot in the playoffs. He should bounce back from last weekend’s disappointment and crush it on Sunday.
Kevin Harvick (7,500 FD | 8,400 DK)
Last week, Harvick was in fine form until an unthinkable thing happened: a squabble between two other drivers crushed his hopes of a big day. It is possible that Harvick, if not for that unfortunate crash, would have finished the race on the podium. Instead, he would go home 27th. There’s nothing he can do but grind on, and perhaps some divine intervention will come his way. As you can imagine, Harvick was not pleased with the track changes at the Brickyard. He had won back-to-back races at the Brickyard before switching to the road course. He was serviceable in his debut finishing 14th after starting from 25th. Harvick is going to be a fantastic place differential play if he can qualify in that top 20. Which he’s been able to do in two of the last four events.
Erik Jones (6,500 FD | 7,100 DK)
The momentum swung back in Jones’ favor on Sunday after an average performance at New Hampshire. Despite starting in 34th place, he quickly worked his way up the field, finishing seventh after stage one. He would finish the race 11th, but due to the disqualification of both Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch, he would end up finishing ninth. On DraftKings, Jones ranked second among drivers with 58.2 fantasy points for his performance at Pocono. Last year’s retooled Brickyard event saw him outduel 20 other cars to finish seventh. With only five races remaining in the regular season, he is still in contention to make the playoffs. Nothing short of a victory will do. He’s always been a solid commodity on the road courses, so consider him for those lineups.
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