DFS NASCAR: Toyota/Save Mart 350

DFS NASCAR: Toyota/Save Mart 350

This article is part of our DFS NASCAR series.

Toyota Save/Mart 350

Location: Sonoma, Calif.
Course: Sonoma Raceway
Format: 2.5-mile road course
Laps: 90

Race Preview

The NASCAR Cup Series returns to a road course one week after Kyle Larson dominated the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte. The Hendrick Motorsports driver swept stage victories and joined Martin Truex Jr. and Alex Bowman as multiple-race winners this season. Truex could be the driver most excited for this week's visit to Sonoma Raceway. He has three career victories on the Northern California circuit, including the last two visits. The venue was not featured on the 2020 calendar after the schedule alterations required due to the pandemic. While the series took a break from the course last season, it is a place the drivers and teams know well. Thirty-one prior races give the teams plenty of data to leverage as they choose their setups without on-track practice or qualifying this week. Larson will start on pole this week due to his recent successes, but he'll have road-course star Chase Elliott alongside on row 1. Truex will have to make up ground quickly with the 19th starting position.

Key Stats at Sonoma

  • Number of races: 31
  • Winners from pole: 5
  • Winners from top-5 starters: 16
  • Winners from top-10 starters: 22
  • Winners from 21st or lower starters: 2
  • Fastest race: 83.922 mph

Previous 10 Sonoma Winners

2019 - Martin Truex Jr.
2018 - Martin Truex Jr.
2017 - Kevin Harvick
2016 - Tony Stewart
2015 - Kyle Busch
2014 - Carl Edwards
2013 - Martin Truex Jr.
2012 - Clint Bowyer
2011 - Kurt Busch
2010 - Jimmie Johnson

Sonoma is a tight and winding course with significant elevation changes and many blind apexes. The layout makes it a challenge to pass, and the primary zone for overtaking will be on the entry to turn 11 just before the start-finish straight. Drivers who get a run on the cars ahead will attempt to out-brake their competitors into that turn, and we often see contact there, too. Like most road courses, track position and strategy are two of the most important success factors. Teams can sacrifice stage points in order to set themselves up for challenging for the win. Other teams may plan to score as many stage points as possible knowing they are unlikely to capture the race victory. Those varying strategies can make for a confusing race for spectators. Without practice or qualifying for the drivers, fantasy players will have to make their choices based on past track experience and road course prowess. 

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

DraftKings Tier 1 Values  

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900
Chase Elliott - $10,500
Kyle Busch - $10,300
Joey Logano - $10,100

DraftKings Tier 2 Values  

Denny Hamlin - $9,900
Kyle Larson - $9,700
William Byron - $9,500
Kurt Busch - $9,100

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

Kevin Harvick - $8,900
Alex Bowman - $8,700
Christopher Bell - $8,400
Matt DiBenedetto - $8,200

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Michael McDowell - $7,600
Chris Buescher - $7,200
Erik Jones - $7,000
Daniel Suarez - $6,400

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Chase Elliott - $10,500
Denny Hamlin - $9,900
Kurt Busch - $9,100
Michael McDowell - $7,600
Erik Jones - $7,000
James Davison - $5,600

Elliott (DK $10,500, FD $14,500) has been the man to beat on road courses recently. He won just two weeks ago at COTA for his sixth road course win in the last 10. He has never won at Sonoma but will start on the front row. Denny Hamlin (DK $9,900, FD $12,000) has also never won at Sonoma, but he did finish in the top five in three of the last four trips there and finished 10th in the other. He also starts on the second row. Kurt Busch (DK $9,100, FD $8,500) does not have such a nice starting position. He will roll off 30th on Sunday but is also a former winner at Sonoma. He is likely to climb the order and deliver additional fantasy points for finish differential. One capable road course driver we should also not ignore is Michael McDowell (DK $7,600, FD $8,000). The Daytona 500 champion has never finished in the top 10 at Sonoma but finished in the top 10 in both road course races already run this year. This week's circuit has been a good one for Erik Jones ($7,000, FD $6,000). He finished inside the top 10 in the last two Sonoma races. He also has an average finish of 15th from the two road course races this season. This week's course also gives James Davison (DK $5,600, FD $2,500) a chance to have a better week than normal. This will be his first trip to Sonoma in the series, and two of his three best finishes this season have come on road courses.

Higher-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,900
William Byron - $9,500
Kevin Harvick - $8,900
Chris Buescher - $7,200
Chase Briscoe - $6,900
Daniel Suarez - $6,400

Truex (DK $10,900, FD $14,000) heads to Sonoma as the back-to-back defending winner. That would normally be good news except that he is currently in a slump and will only start 19th. His starting position could be a boost to fantasy rosters, but his risk comes in the form of three consecutive race finishes of 19th or worse. William Byron (DK $9,500, FD $11,500) is in no such slump. In fact, he is one of the most consistent drivers. His current streak is 13 races with finishes of 11th or better, and he led 21 laps last time out at this track. Kevin Harvick (DK $8,900, FD $10,500) has also found some consistency. He will start eighth this week and has finished in the top 10 in five of the last six races. Fantasy players should ignore his early exit in the rain in Texas. Chris Buescher (DK $7,200, FD $7,300) has three top-20 Sonoma finishes from four career tries. He currently occupies the final playoff position in the standings and finished inside the top 15 in both road course races so far this year. Chase Briscoe (DK $6,900, FD $7,200) has two road course wins in the Xfinity Series. This will be his first Cup appearance at Sonoma, however. He will start 25th Sunday and had a sixth-place finish two weeks ago at COTA. Daniel Suarez (DK $6,400, FD $6,500) comes to Sonoma off of his third top-15 finish in the last five races. That is a result he should be able to match at Sonoma. In three starts, his average finish there is 16th.

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.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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