WATCH: NASCAR Xfinity Price Check – Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma


MLB-Tiers-Analysis

Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway. The ordering is not based on the highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by value of each driver.

(fppk = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.)

1. Kyle Busch ($10,400) – What is the point in looking up Kyle Busch’s stats each week? In the last four years at Sonoma, Busch has finished 5th, 5th, 7th, and 1st. The 5th place finish in 2017 is impressive. Busch flat-spotted his tires and had to pit on lap 4. He then drove from last to 5th at a track where passing is very difficult. (6.3 fppk)

2. Clint Bowyer ($9,300) – He has SHR speed, but more importantly, he has Clint Bowyer speed. In 77% of Bowyer’s 13 Sonoma races, he’s earned a top-10 finish and in 62% of the races, he’s earned a top-5 finish. No other driver is close to those outstanding numbers. (3.6 fppk)

3. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,800) – He won the 2018 Sonoma race via radio trickery. Harvick hit the pits too early, and Truex was able to pass Harvick late with fresher tires. This does not mean his win was a fluke. Before a mechanical failure, Truex had the best car in the 2017 Sonoma race. (5.6 fppk)

4. Kevin Harvick ($11,200) – The first half of 2018 belonged to Kevin Harvick. He won at every style of track imaginable. Sonoma should have been another feather in his cap, but unfortunately, his team was tricked into hitting pit road too early, and he surrendered the lead late in the caution free race. (4.2 fppk)

5. Chase Elliott ($9,900) – Watkins Glen and Sonoma are not the same. However, they’re still road courses, and Elliott’s win at Watkins Glen last season sparked his ascent into the ranks of the elite. (5.6 fppk)

6. Kurt Busch ($9,700) – Was his 6th place finish in the 2018 Sonoma race a result of SHR speed or his road racing talent? We will find out Sunday when Kurt wheels a Chip Ganassi Chevy around wine country. (4.9 fppk)

7. Denny Hamlin ($9,100) – If Sonoma is a technical track and closest in comparison to short, flat tracks, then Hamlin’s statistics should be the best in NASCAR. They’re not, but Hamlin has earned a top 5 finish in each of the last two Sonoma races. (4.3 fppk)

8. Joey Logano ($9,500) – His Sonoma statistics do not jump off the page. This is not a particularly strong or weak track for Logano. His preferred road course is Watkins Glen. (5.2 fppk)

9. Jimmie Johnson ($8,300) – As mentioned above, the stages have ruined road racing. Johnson had a 5th place car last year, and he may have competed for the win. Unfortunately, the stages inverted the field, and Johnson was buried in traffic in stage three. (3.8 fppk)

10. Brad Keselowski ($10,100) – Sonoma has always been a tough track for Brad Keselowski. DFS players will notice that BK scored the most fantasy points in the 2017 Sonoma race, but this was not due to skill. His team was the first to figure out how to take advantage of stages in road course racing. (5.3 fppk)

11. Aric Almirola ($8,000) – The SHR Fords were fast in 2018 and Sonoma was not an exception. Excluding Harvick, the rest of the SHR crew started 19th or worse, but each car ended the day with a top-10 finish. (3.8 fppk)

12. Ryan Newman ($7,300) – Road course ringers are extinct. Maybe, science will someday find a way to bring back this long forgotten breed, but until then, we’ll have to settle for Ryan Newman. In his 17 races at Sonoma, he averages the 4th-best finish. (4.7 fppk)

13. Kyle Larson ($8,500) – Once upon a time, Chad Johnston built a winning race car at Sonoma for Martin Truex when he drove for Michael Waltrip Racing. Over the last two seasons, the #42 car has lacked long-run speed, and Larson has faded under long green flag runs. (3.5 fppk)

14. Erik Jones ($8,100) – Get ready for stage games. The 2017 Sonoma race was a disaster. The introduction of stages created a scenario where the broadcasters did not know who was actually running well, so the viewers had no idea. Worse yet, the drivers did not know. Sonoma is a guessing game of when to pit, and last year Jones guessed at the right time and earned an undeserved 7th place finish. (3.7 fppk)

15. Alex Bowman ($7,500) – The 2018 season was not a good season for Bowman, but he did make the playoffs. However, 75% of the top team drivers make the playoffs. Sonoma is a similar conundrum. Bowman did not race well, but he pit at exactly the right time and secured a 9th place finish. (4.7 fppk)

16. Ryan Blaney ($8,900) – The learning curve is over. This is Blaney’s fourth trip to Sonoma. He even participated in a K&N race at Sonoma in 2017. That double duty weekend resulted in his best Sonoma finish (9th). His other two finishes were 34th and 23rd. (4.0 fppk)

17. Paul Menard ($7,200) – Last season, Menard finished 26th at Sonoma, but his average running position was 19th. In the five Sonoma races prior to 2018, Menard finished 11th, 16th, 13th, 5th and 14th. He’s clearly not a 26th place driver at Sonoma. (3.8 fppk)

18. Daniel Suarez ($8,700) – The two road courses on the Cup circuit are not the same. Sonoma is a technical track and is compared to short tracks. Watkins Glen is compared to superspeedways. Suarez’s numbers bear this out. He has two top-5 finishes at The Glen, but his best finish at Sonoma is 15th. (5.0 fppk)

19. Chris Buescher ($7,800) – As expected, Buescher’s first race at Sonoma did not go well; he finished 30th. The next season he improved to 19th, and in 2018, he finished 12th. The results are better than his average running position, but the results are the results. (4.3 fppk)

20. Austin Dillon ($6,800) – As always, it’s slim pickings at the bottom of the fantasy NASCAR rankings. Sonoma requires experience and at least Dillon has that. His finishes of 16th, 18th, 22nd, 17th and 17th are not inspiring, but they’re not terrible either. (2.7 fppk)


Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.