The Checkered Flag- DPA’s Premium coverage of the Toyota/Save-Mart 350 at Sonoma Speedway

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Welcome back Playmakers! This week the series heads west. Wine country. Sonoma. It’s a road course that runs similar to a short track, this race was one of the more unpredictable on the schedule but now with the increase in road courses, and much harder tracks at that, Sonoma isn’t considered that tough anymore. This should be a fun race, I like the setup, there’s several drivers in a really good spot. Let’s take a look at who to build around and who else to consider this week when making lines. 

Dominators 

Kyle Larson|1st|9700DK|12,500FD|

Larson is basically the top driver in the series right now. It changes a few times a year, but right now he’s as good as anyone week to week. Because of this he’s definitely worth a play, but he may not be the best play for dominators. It’s tough to really predict the start here but Chase Elliot is right next to him. It’s very possible he gets the lead early. 

Chase Elliot|2nd|10,500DK|14,500FD|

It’s really tough to pick one or the other between him and Larson. These are the two top options for dominator though. I wish I could tell you I like one more than the other, but this is truly a toss up. Chase is a phenomenal road course racer. He should challenge Larson for the lead for the beginning part of this race. I would be very surprised if he’s not. 

William Byron|3rd|9500DK|11,500FD|

Byron has taken a major step this year. He’s one of the most reliable drivers week to week. He started 2nd here in 2019, the last time they raced here. He led 21 laps that day. Ultimately he didn’t finish as well as the car was that day. 19th. But given that he led 21 laps, I like the idea of using Byron for dominator in gpp lineups. I think he won’t have the ownership the other two do and with some luck he should have a decent shot at paying off his price tag, or coming close anyway. 

Denny Hamlin|4th|9900DK|12,000FD|

Hamlin has some of the best recent stats here coming into this one. He’s finished top10 his last 4 races here. However, Denny doesn’t lead a lot of laps here. So I’m not a big fan of him for cash games in this spot. But I don’t mind taking a gpp shot on him here. Truex, Chase, Byron, and maybe even Kyle Busch all may be better options for this race from a dominator perspective. So clearly he’s not going to be as high owned as other guys around his price range. Because of that, he’s a decent gpp play for those of you who enter multiple lineups in gpp contests. Again, not a priority to me, but most likely a top10 car with some dominator upside.

Also Consider 

Kyle Busch|5th|10,300DK|13,000FD|

Place Differential

Martin Truex Jr|19th|10,900DK|14,000FD|

Top play on the board. Truex should be a top5 car here. Very possible he wins this one. He’s won the last two races here and this is his best road course on the schedule. He should be a factor in the race and in winning lineups for this one. I would make him a core piece to build around for both cash and gpp. 

Joey Logano|13th|10,100DK|11,000FD|

I think Logano gets some ownership today, he isn’t known for his road course racing though. His best finish ever here is 3rd place. I think he’s a good gpp play, but that’s it, I wouldn’t use him for cash games. It’s very possible he doesn’t have a good week this week, that worries me. So play with caution. But worth a look for multi-entry player pools based on his starting spot. 

Kurt Busch|30th|9100DK|8500FD|

Highest ceiling based on place diff. Kurt is actually sitting outside the playoffs right now so I expect a big push coming from the veteran very soon here. I think a +15 place diff is possible here. You should use Kurt as a core piece or near core piece in your builds. The ceiling is just too high to fade him. He should be one of the highest owned drivers. Especially in cash games. 8500 is too cheap on FD. In his last 9 trips to Sonoma he’s finished no worse than 13th place. Great spot. 

Chris Bell|20th|8400DK|9000FD| 

Bell tends to do well on road courses. He should finish higher than this 20th starting spot. He may go overlooked by most today which is another reason why I like him. This could be a way to be just slightly different than the crowd with the safety net knowing that Bell and his team usually bring a solid performance every week. I think he’s a top15 car, strategy and some luck could jump him higher than that. Worthy of your consideration for both formats, but I lean gpp a bit. He is just fine for cash games though. 

Matt DiBennedetto|17th|8200DK|7500FD|

I like Matty in this spot. He has had 3 pretty solid runs here at Sonoma. 2 of which he was in a pretty low end car and over performed. In 2019, the last year the series ran here DiBennedetto finished 4th here. Solid spot here. With some luck there’s an outside shot that he can crack the top10 here. If you are entering several different builds you should have some exposure. Either format is fine too. Matt is better than 17th in this spot. I think he could be one of the best Fords on track today. 

Aric Almirola|26th|7900DK|5200FD|

He’s pretty tough to predict right now. But his history here is very solid. He has to be an option based on that. In his 2 races here with SHR racing he cracked the top10. 2018 and 2019. The team is down a bit this year, and they’ve had nothing but bad luck, going to a road course doesn’t boost the confidence level there at all. But I think Aric has shown he likes this place. This is a top20 car if any bit of luck actually going for them. Not a huge fan for cash games. But he should still have some ownership in that format today. I said “wow” to myself when I saw 5200 on FD. That’s almost disrespectfully low.

Ross Chastain|29th|7700DK|7000FD|

Starting this far back he should be able to pay off his price. That’s all you really look for in a 4th/5th driver on your line. Little bit of risk here but he’s a very good option in either format and a bit underpriced on FD. 

Chase Briscoe|25th|6900DK|7200FD|

Briscoe was really good at road courses in xfin. He’s got a decent car and the track suits his style. This is purely a gpp play, He has not raced here before. I don’t think anyone plays him though, if he can have a great day he could be a huge play, worth being in a player pool and having a little exposure to for anyone multi-entering 

Ryan Newman|24th|6400DK|5000FD|

Newman and Briscoe are basically the same potential. Newman has been here many times though, and he’s done pretty well in some races here. I like this play. He should go overlooked because he doesn’t have a very high ceiling and he wrecked last week, hurting owners. He’s a gpp play. I think he has top20 potential and he’s cheap. I like him to round out your line as your last guy. Gpp but not crazy to give him a shot for cash. I would not use him across the board though. Don’t overexpose yourself. 

Erik Jones|18th|7000DK|6000FD| 

He’s done really well here his last two trips. Not being in the same level car hurts, but the track fits his style and Erik tends to do well at the same tracks 

Anthony Alfredo|28th|5800DK|3500FD|

The rookie has never been here obviously, but he’s been really good for a low level team the last 4-5 weeks. This is a risky play. Gpp only, but his price makes him worth a shot in a line or two for multi entry 

James Davison|32nd|5600DK|2500FD|

He’s a Indy car guy so he has a lot of road course experience. The car is not good. But he has a skill set that he could manage a top25 or so. A few other drivers ahead of him having issues could increase his value. He’s a gpp only option. And I wouldn’t have much exposure, but it’s a much more feasible play this week then most others. He finished 23rd at a road course earlier this year.

Ben Rhodes|31st|5400DK|2000FD|

He’s running for Haley this week. He’s a better road racer than Haley. Not expecting a lot here. The car is somewhat limited. But Rhodes can drive. So I’ll use him in a line. Just gpp. If there’s a big wreck that takes out several guys, Rhodes, Davison, Alfredo would be beneficiaries. This is a tough track, it’s possible that happens. Furthest from priority on the whole write up.

The Others 

There’s 4 drivers who start 8-12th that I think are solid cash game plays with a little gpp appeal. 

Kevin Harvick|8th|

Tyler Reddick|10th|

Ryan Blaney|11th| 

Chris Buescher|12th| 

Of these 4 I like Blaney and Buescher. All 4 are solid options though. They just don’t have high place diff upside or a chance to really be dominator. This is the tough area to call but often times some really solid lines have plays like this in them. If any of the 4 fit your build it’s a solid play. 

Remember, NASCAR is a CRAZY DFS sport. Scores and your place in the money can change in a heartbeat. There are so many variables that no one can really predict. Cars can be finicky, and some will crash which can ruin your day. You need your full team to be on its game if you want to cash, and you may need a little luck. This is not a one man sport when you pick a player like other styles of DFS. There’s 30-50 guys behind the scenes who all have a hand in building the car, or developing a game plan. Sometimes it only takes one mistake by one of those guys for a driver to have a bad race. That narrative does not apply to other forms of DFS, so be cautious when building your lines, but most of all, have fun!

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