Jimmie Johnson has scored top-five points in the Draft Kings game in the last four unrestricted, intermediate speedway events. His victory in Charlotte Motor Speedway gave him the most there, but he was almost as good a value at Michigan International Speedway, Chicagoland Speedway, and Kansas Speedway. He is good enough on this track type, in fact, that it is worth taking two bargain players in order to accommodate the No. 48.
Fortunately, one does not need to dip too deep into the talent well to find a cheap driver who is also capable of scoring a top-10 on this track type. Alex Bowman gave the No. 88 its first top-10 in relief of Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Chicagoland. He sustained damage at Charlotte in the next race on a similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track, but rebounded nicely with a seventh at Kansas. With a price tag of $7,400 he is well below the midline.
While Joe Gibbs Racing has dominated the headlines, Hendrick Motorsports languished for a significant part of the schedule. That kept their salary cap low and it is possible and perhaps even desirable to vote the party ticket this week. Both Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott are capable of scoring top-10s at Texas Motor Speedway, but Kahne is $800 cheaper and will be the better value.
Joey Logano was the first of several drivers with tire problems in last year’s edition of the AAA Texas 500. It is unclear whether he was experimenting with a risky setup because he barely got going before cutting a tire and pounding the wall. Five of his last seven attempts on this similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track have landed in the top five, however, including a victory in 2014.
Taking Logano with his price of $9,400 means players will need to be a little more frugal on the remaining drivers. Jamie McMurray has been uneven for much of the season, but the same is true of most of the racers in his price range. Chip Ganassi Racing is strong enough to score top-10s, but McMurray should be considered a race day decision based on his qualification result and likelihood that he will earn positive place-differential points.
In the RaceDayScore game, starting at the bottom has a distinct advantage this week.
Michael McDowell is not going to be nearly as good a value on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks as he is own flat courses, but this team is still on a generally positive incline and will certainly outperform their $7,700 salary cap. For only $100 more, Bowman can be signed and if these two drivers anchor one’s roster, the average price for the remaining four becomes $11,125. This week, there are only three drivers more expensive than that so a player can set their lineup with practically no reservations.
Johnson remains our pick as one of the most likely winners this week, so there is no reason to leave him off the roster, but now a player can add Kyle Busch as another probable contender for the win even though he is the third-most expensive player in their salary scheme. Busch is not only the defending winner from this spring, six of his last seven attempts on this track have ended in top-fives.
If one is skeptical of Busch, Brad Keselowski can be signed for only $100 more and he has also been solid on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. He has not been perfect in 2016, but seven of nine starts on this course type ended in top-10s including victories at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Kentucky Speedway. One of his two poor results came recently in Kansas when a slide job on Denny Hamlin went horribly wrong.
Martin Truex Jr. has shown a ton of speed on this track type as well with dominant performances at Charlotte and Chicagoland. His salary cap of $10,800 would be prohibitively expensive if one does not take the two bargains suggested, but he fits nicely into this roster.
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