Qualifying is over. All of the practice laps have been run. This is it. Let’s make some picks.
Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day.
High Price Salary
Kurt Busch ($12,400) – Kurt Busch is an excellent road course driver. He has also been an excellent driver, from an excellent team in 2015. Coming off of a win at Michigan he comes in on fire. His practice speeds were fast (9th and 3rd) and he qualified in 2nd. It wouldn’t surprise anyone if he made a move early in the race and led a lot of laps. The 2011 winner at Sonoma is driving with a chip on his shoulder.
Jeff Gordon ($11,300) – The Rainbow Warrior has the most wins at Sonoma (4). Gordon considers Sonoma his hometrack and a lot of people think this is his best place to win on the retirement tour. His practice times weren’t great, but we have seen how Hendrick drivers like to deceive us in practice. He qualifies in 5th and has a great shot at his 5th win at this track.
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,200) – Martin Truex snapped his 218 winless streak at Sonoma in 2013. Now in 2015 he is the hottest driver on the NASCAR circuit. Truex looked lethargic in the first practice, but he has done that to us all year. In the 2nd practice he posted a top 5 speed. Then in qualifying he ended up in 12th. Truex has been a huge DK scorer over the past couple of races and his price hasn’t gone up. Is there anyway I can put him in all 5 driver slots?
Mid Price Salary
Carl Edwards ($10,500) – Edwards has slipped since his Coca Cola 600 win, but this is a different track style. Edwards is a great road course driver and has had success in the past. He stayed in the top 10 during both practices and qualified in the 14th spot. Edwards has a great shot at finishing in the top 5 tomorrow.
Clint Bowyer ($8,900) – Bowyer comes into Sonoma off of a couple of top 10s. He looked primed for a great weekend during first practice when he posted the top speed. He maintained his speed in the second with a 4th place performance. His qualifying effort was about the same as he ended up starting in the 6th place. At his price he basically becomes a must play.
Kyle Busch ($10,700) – Kyle Busch has to win if he wants to get in the Chase. He also needs to do this within the next couple of races. In the 2nd practice he posted the fastest time. While qualifying he spun out and brought out a red flag. However, he qualified in 11th and sets himself up for a great run on Sunday.
Low Price Salary
A.J. Allmendinger ($8,300) – A.J. is arguably the best active road course driver in NASCAR. He has had a lot of success at Watkin’s Glen, with a victory last year. A.J. posted the 2nd fastest time in the first practice and had a decent performance in the Happy Hour practice (23rd). During qualifying A.J. won the pole. This takes away the potential for place differential points, but it doesn’t hurt his value as it seems like A.J. will stay up front for a while.
Danica Patrick ($8,200) – Danica has experience at Sonoma during her time in an Indy car. She has had a couple of decent performances in a Sprint Cup car, but didn’t really impress in practice. Her qualifying time has her moving in the right direction as she ended up in 21st. If you want experience and a good team, Danica is your play.
Casey Mears ($7,600) – Mears is one of the better value road course drivers. He had a mishap in the first practice when he ran out of fuel and brought out the caution. In the 2nd practice he posted the 11th fastest time. He did impress in qualifying and ended up in 8th place. Mears has reached value over the past couple of races and if he can maintain a top 10 he will definitely be worth the price.
Long Shot Value Drivers:
David Gilliland ($7,400) – Gilliland has ran well at Sonoma in the past. He has a couple victories here in the K&N West Series. In both practices he posted top 20 times. His qualifying effort was less than stellar (28th), but a top 20 finish would be huge based on value.