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DraftKings NASCAR: Tales of Turtles 400

C.J. Radune

Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Tales of the Turtles 400

Location: Joliet, Ill.
Course: Chicagoland Speedway
Format: 1.5-mile tri-oval
Laps: 267

Race Preview

The field for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup playoffs is now set, and the elimination rounds commence this week at Chicagoland Speedway. Kyle Larson won the last race of the regular season last week at Richmond to continue his quest to rediscover the form that made him so competitive in the early part of the season. Martin Truex Jr. continue to be the most consistent face among the top five, and Kyle Busch is lurking within striking distance as well. Drivers who have been less dominant this season will need to get a good start in Chicago to keep their hopes of advancing to the next three-race playoff round alive. The pressure on all playoff teams will build as this 10-race stretch rumbles on, but one way to ease the tension is to win. A victory guarantees playoff drivers advancement to the next round. Truex won last time out at Chicagoland, but Brad Keselowski has been successful there in the past, and Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch are also recent winners at the tri-oval.

Key Stats at Chicagoland Speedway

Number of previous races: 16
Winners from pole: 1
Winners from top-5 starters: 1
Winners from top-10 starters: 6
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 5
Fastest race: 145.161 mph

Last 10 Chicagoland Winners

2016 - Martin Truex Jr.
2015 - Denny Hamlin
2014 - Brad Keselowski
2013 - Matt Kenseth
2012 - Brad Keselowski
2011 - Tony Stewart
2010 - David Reutimann
2009 - Mark Martin
2008 - Kyle Busch
2007 - Tony Stewart

Chicagoland Speedway is another one of NASCAR's many 1.5-mile tri-oval circuits, but it has produced more winners from outside of the top 10 starters than most others. The unique track is featured just once each season, but teams were able to test there in August. The track has been rough on tires, but multiple wins have come from gaining advantages through pit strategy and track position. Denny Hamlin stayed out on used tires to win in 2015, and Truex used a quick stop under a late caution to come out of pit road with the top position to win an overtime restart last year. Kyle Busch is the only driver to have won this race from pole, and two of the last three winners have started outside of the top 20. Fantasy owners may be better served focusing on recent trends for picking their lineups this week as a result. There are a handful of options that make sense to consider each week, and those are likely to be the usual suspects again this week. While practice and qualifying will be a good indicator of success, they won’t be the deciding factors. Teams and drivers making the right calls, delivering fast cars during the race, and limiting mistakes on pit road are the ones that should jump to the top of the pile this week.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,700
Kyle Busch - $10,600
Kyle Larson - $10,400

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Chase Elliott - $9,900
Denny Hamlin - $9,700
Brad Keselowski - $9,400
Matt Kenseth - $9,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Ryan Blaney - $8,700
Jamie McMurray - $8,500
Erik Jones - $8,400
Kurt Busch - $8,100

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Daniel Suarez - $7,800
Ryan Newman - $7,500
Chris Buescher - $6,300
Michael McDowell - $5,800

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Chase Elliott - $9,900
Matt Kenseth - $9,300
Jimmie Johnson - $9,100
Kurt Busch - $8,100
Ryan Newman - $7,500
Aric Almirola - $6,000

Lower risk lineups for Chicagoland likely will include as many playoff contenders as possible, and this one does just that. Elliott leads the list with a third-place finish from his first Cup race at the circuit, while teammate Johnson will hope his past success here translates to a turn in fortune and a good start to the first playoff round. Kenseth has been one of the most consistent drivers as the playoffs approached, and he has a streak of four top-10 Chicago finishes in his arsenal heading into this week. He also won the 2013 edition of this event. Busch is picking up momentum with three-straight top-fives in the last three races. He has already been using his best equipment, and that should translate to top-10 potential this week. Newman is also on a run of good form, and he won at this track in 2003. The last selection in this lineup is a driver looking to audition his wares for 2018. Almirola is in the midst of sponsor troubles at Richard Petty Motorsports, which could give him some extra drive this weekend in addition to the top-10 he snagged here in 2015.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,700
Kyle Busch - $10,600
Brad Keselowski - $9,400
Jamie McMurray - $8,500
Landon Cassill - $5,600
David Ragan - $5,200

Chicago’s higher-risk lineup puts more eggs into fewer baskets. Having both Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch in the same roster leaves little room for other top selections, but both started the weekend among the fastest on Friday. The two have been excellent all season and appear destined to battle it out for the championship. Brad Keselowski is an admirable selection third in this option due to his past success at Chicago. He has started to find some traction in recent weeks, and he has always been quick and competitive at this particular track. Jamie McMurray safely made it into the playoffs, and that could be enough to bring him another top-10 finish this week in Chicago. His teammate Kyle Larson was very strong at this track last season, so McMurray should benefit from that experience this weekend. Those first four choices mean we have to dig deeper to find values. Landon Cassill and David Ragan are two respectable choices to satisfy that need. Cassill has seven races of experience at this track and could easily walk away with a top-25, while David Ragan should be positioned for a shot at the top 20. Additional options in these spots would be Matt DiBenedetto and Timmy Hill.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.