I think I share the same opinion as everyone when I say I have no clue what to expect when we officially start this race on dirt. We currently do not even know when we’re going to be able to race as rain is threatening the entire weekend.
No matter when this race goes down, Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell will be the main ones to watch the entire weekend. These two are the most prolific dirt racers in the series, but they are not the only ones. We also have no idea how much actual dirt experience will matter in this race.
We have so many drivers in the field that are not experienced on dirt but could adapt as the race goes on. We have the series with possibly the greatest drivers in the world on the track at once, and some of these guys will adjust in this abnormally long dirt race.
With this race being such a wildcard, it’s difficult to pick favorites. This week we have the added bonus of having the practice sessions to look at who is adapting better to this style of race.
Favorite: Alex Bowman
As I said, practice makes this so much easier, because without it I probably would’ve just gone with Larson. I’m going with a guy who has a lot of dirt experience and has his car tuned up great to start this weekend off in Bowman.
Bowman’s career on dirt is not as highlighted as Larson or Bell, but Bowman actually owns his own sprint car team and competes regularly. With his team coming off their best finish of the season last week I think this has the potential to be his first win of the season. If so, the #48 will continue to make history as being the first car to win on dirt in modern history.
Dark Horse: Chase Briscoe
Briscoe got his start in sprint cars as well and had a very successful early career in them. He beat Jeff Gordon’s record of being the youngest driver to ever win a 410 sprint car event while racing an engine which at the time was 14-years old. He was able to be successful in sprint cars with little financial backing.
While he has struggled this season, I do not think it has anything to do with talent. In fact, I think he has a great chance to win this race because of how talented he is on dirt. He finished 10th and 5th in both practices respectively and while watching him he seemed to have a very good feel for his car.
- Kyle Larson: $12,000
- Christopher Bell: $11,000
- Chase Briscoe: $9,900
- Ryan Blaney: $9,300
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: $10,200
- Alex Bowman: $7,700
- Kurt Busch: $7,800
- Kyle Busch: $8,900
- Chase Elliott: $8,700
- William Byron: $7,100
- Ryan Newman: $6,900
- Chris Buescher: $6,200
- Michael McDowell: $5,200
- Matt DiBenedetto: $6,700
- J.J. Yeley: $6,400
When choosing your lineup this week I think it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of great drivers are going to have their prices drop significantly and some mediocre guys are going to be raised due to us being on dirt. For example, you can grab Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch for really cheap because of their lack of dirt experience.
I think most lineups will be heavily dominated by Larson and Bell, and because of this, you can get away with avoiding them in a lot of your lineups. If one or both get caught up in a wreck, then almost half the lineups go out the window.
My plan this week is to base most of my lineups around guys with dirt experience but also take advantage of some of the guys like Elliott, Busch, and Logano who I have a feeling will salvage top 10’s despite their lack of dirt experience.
I think Alex Bowman is being heavily overlooked by the oddsmakers and should be in a majority of your lineups. I expect him to be running upfront and possibly contending for the win this week.
Once you get towards the bottom of your price pool, you have a lot of guys who are top 15 caliber guys sitting down there. This is a great week to stack your lineup with high-end picks and round it out with some of these guys that are being overlooked due to experience.