NASCAR FANTASY LIVE PICKS, 2015 POCONO, WINDOWS 10 400

As we begin the month of August, the summer months are beginning to end and kids are getting ready to go back to school. In the NASCAR series, this means that drivers are running out of opportunities to qualify for the Chase.

We are back at Pocono Raceway this week, and all of the top drivers at the track are likely to make the Chase. There will probably not be any surprises. Since the Pocono race in June was not too long ago, I like to see the results from the June race as the best indicator for results this week. You will not get a ton of points out of laps led or fast laps this week, but I would still recommend front-loading your lineup with your three top choices and rounding out your lineup with budget options.

For those of you who read my article on a weekly basis, you already have a good idea who the first choice for my lineup will be. Kevin Harvick led 39 laps en route to a second place finish earlier this summer at Pocono. He has three top-10 finishes in his last five races at the track and an average finish position of 8.8. His 86 fast laps over the same time span is second among racers. Harvick’s 2015 numbers continue to be strong. He has 12 top-5 finishes and 16 top-10 finishes through 18 races. He has the most laps led and the most fast laps of any driver this season. With 91% of his laps within the top-15, he shows a consistency on a lap-to-lap basis. Harvick will continue to stay in my lineup as long as he continues to run near the top.

While leading 97 laps, Martin Truex Jr. won the June race at Pocono. Since the race dates are, the previous race results have a good chance to be duplicated. The only reason to avoid Truex is that his historical track numbers only show an average finish position of 15.1 and only seven top-10 finishes since 2005. Despite his track numbers, Truex has 14 top-10 finishes and an average finish position of 11.7 in 2015. His 486 Laps Led is third in the Series, and he has run 83% of his laps in the top-15. The #78 Furniture Row team has cooled down a bit as the summer months have progressed, but this appears to be more due to bad luck than a slow car. Expect a strong effort from Martin Truex Jr. this week.

I cannot have a recommended driver list from Pocono without including Dale Earnhardt Jr. Junior finished 11th in the last Pocono race, but won both races in 2014. His numbers at the track over the last five races is impressive. Dale Jr. has four top-5 finishes, an average finish position of 4.2, and 91% of his laps in the top-15. In 2015, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s average finish position is 10.6, good for fifth in the series. He is also top-10 in laps led and fast laps.

With limited salary cap resources available, the bottom two drivers will not be as successful. Justin Allgaier finished in 20th place earlier this season and has a 21st place average finish position at the track. I have been expecting the #51 car to exceed his budget salary cap number for a few weeks. His team is always risky, but he has upside for his low salary cap number. In 2015, Allgaier has two top-20 finishes and an average finish position of 27.1. Michael Annett disappointed me earlier this season with a 34th place finish at Pocono. Over three races, he has a 25th place average finish position. Considering his low salary cap number, Michael Annett is a great budget option for your team. There are other budget options who provide incredible value this week. I am half-tempted to roster Brendan Gaughan at $4.50 to provide more versatility to my other roster spots for the rest of the season.

FANTASY NASCAR LIVE SALARY CAP

Fantasy Live on nascar.com uses a scoring system that combines fast laps, laps led, finish position, and start-to-finish differential. In order to prevent us from simply starting the five best drivers each week, Fantasy Live uses a salary cap format. Our formula calculates the average number of Fantasy Live points earned over the last five Pocono races. Next, we divide that number by the salary cap figure to determine which drivers provide the most salary cap value. Jimmie Johnson finished 3rd earlier in 2015, but narrowly missed my lineup recommendations. To make it up to him, we will use his numbers from the last five Pocono races to further illustrate the formula.

JIMMIE JOHNSON AT POCONO

  • Average finish position last five Pocono races: 12.4 equals 30.6 Fantasy Live points per race
  • Start-to-finish differential: Negative 2.8 equals negative 2.8 points per race
  • Laps Led: 176 laps led equals 17.6 points per race
  • Fast Laps: 52 fast laps equals 5.2 points per race
  • Fantasy Live points per race: 50.6
  • Fantasy Live salary cap figure: $27.50
  • Fantasy Live points per dollar: 50.6 divided by 27.50 equals 1.84 points per dollar

Below you will see the Fantasy Live points per dollar for all the drivers in the series. Highlighted picks are in bold. Because we already ran at Pocono two months ago, all drivers in the race have a track history this week.

GROUP A ($25.00 or higher)

  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2.05
  • Jeff Gordon 1.91
  • Jimmie Johnson 1.84
  • Martin Truex Jr. 1.65
  • Kurt Busch 1.61
  • Brad Keselowski 1.60
  • Kevin Harvick 1.56
  • Jamie McMurray 1.44
  • Joey Logano 1.13
  • Denny Hamlin 0.91
  • Kyle Busch 0.74
  • Matt Kenseth 0.63

GROUP B ($20.00 – $24.99)

  • Kyle Larson 1.71
  • Ryan Newman 1.57
  • Kasey Kahne 1.54
  • Clint Bowyer 1.36
  • Carl Edwards 0.46
  • Aric Almirola 0.30
  • Paul Menard 0.09

GROUP C ($15.00 – $19.99)

  • Greg Biffle 2.30
  • Tony Stewart 2.09
  • Austin Dillon 1.32
  • AJ Allmendinger (-0.01)

GROUP D ($10.00 – $14.99)

  • David Ragan 2.47
  • David Gilliland 2.27
  • Casey Mears 2.14
  • Trevor Bayne 2.11
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 0.82
  • Danica Patrick (-0.14)
  • Sam Hornish Jr. (-1.05)

GROUP E ($9.99 or lower)

  • Michael Annett 4.23
  • Jeb Burton 3.58
  • Matt DiBenedetto 3.08
  • Justin Allgaier 2.91
  • Brett Moffitt 2.53
  • Alex Bowman 2.40
  • Josh Wise 2.27
  • Alex Kennedy 2.16
  • JJ Yeley 2.10
  • Brendan Gaughan 1.33
  • Landon Cassill 1.18

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