The Checkered Flag – South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

9

Welcome back Playmakers! The series and playoffs marches on. Back to Vegas for a second time this year. But with much more at stake this time. Vegas is a great track, high speeds, with multiple grooves to race on. The racing surface is hot, slick, and usually picks up a slight dusting of sand, it is in the desert after all and tends to be pretty windy because of its location. The sun can play a role this week too. Because of the start time of the race the sun will be in the western sky, beginning to set. This is going to effect vision coming to the start/finish line and turn 1. It could lead to a few wrecks or accidental contact that effects a tire, etc. With a spot into the round of 8 on the line I expect this race to have its fair share of incidents. The excitement mounts as we head into the last two months of the season. Here’s a look at my favorite plays for this week’s battle: 

Dominators 

Kyle Larson | 1st | 11,100DK | 14,500FD |

Any article you read at this point of the season should start with Larson. He’s the championship favorite. Has 6 wins on the year and has a level of consistency that he’s never had before because of his move to team Hendricks. The track type fits his style almost perfectly. With the ability to drive anywhere on the track Larson will search for the fastest line in each of the turns but most likely will ride the high line, which is the fastest if done right, and be a major factor in this race. With a new round starting here and the unpredictability of Dega and Charlotte Roval ahead on the schedule this is the more predictable of the 3. I believe if anyone is winning today besides Larson they will have to get through him first. He’s the top play across the board. 

Ryan Blaney | 2nd | 9100DK | 10,200FD | 

I like the pricing here. Blaney has been running well lately and has good results here in the past. There’s a chance he leads laps, I am leaning no, but he is worth a shot. He is a top10 car and has a chance to get a few fast lap bonus points too. I like this play for cash games even if he doesn’t lead laps. He may have a few negative place diff points, finishing lower than his 2nd starting spot, but still very possible to put up a good score for 9100. His FD price of 10,200 makes him viable there as well. 

Kevin Harvick | 5th | 9300DK | 11,500FD | 

He’s been coming on strong as of late and I think he will go overlooked. Probably had his best race of the year last week. Him and Chase really got into it so it’ll be interesting to see how they treat each other. They will inevitably be along side each other at some point. Never fails. I think he should pay off his 9300 tag on DK today. FD as well. But a little less point per dollar. 

Place Differential 

Chase Elliot | 11th | 10,200DK | 12,500FD | 

He could be added to the dominator section as well, but I don’t think it’s likely. He should be one of the best plays today. And there’s a decent upside because he’s shown to be a top5 car or so. I don’t think he’s a priority or anything. But if he fits your line, he’s a very solid play. 

Kyle Busch | 10th | 10,800DK | 13,500FD |

Kyle is in a good spot here. He is from Vegas. But that doesn’t matter much, he has done really well here in the past. That does matter. Starting 10th he also is borderline a dominator play. But the likelihood that he leads a ton of laps isn’t great. He still could though. I think you should have exposure in lines if you play more than 1. This is a spot where he may be passed over by most because of the price. 

Kurt Busch | 20th | 9500DK | 9000FD | 

Great price on FD. He won this race earlier this season. Another hometown guy, Kurt should be a top10 car here. Maybe better. He’s priced up a bit but still a solid play on DK as well. I think you should have exposure. Great for cash games on either site. Especially FD. 

Matt DiBennedetto | 14th | 8200DK | 8000FD | 

I have a hunch that Matty can stick right around here or move up slightly. He’s not a must play. But this is a good cash game style play. 

Ross Chastain | 18th | 7900DK | 7700FD | 

Ross has been pretty solid of late. This is a good spot for him. He is driving the car that Larson used to drive and had some pretty good success with. Chastain is not afraid to search for the right groove to get the most speed he can out of his car. Often times that’s the high line here. Ross usually does well at that style of track. It’s a skill he’s learned through 150+ Nascar races he’s been in amongst the 3 series. 

Cole Custer | 28th | 7100DK | 5700FD | 

Custer has had a pretty awful season. At no point was he really good. Unlike last year where he was a great value play week to week. Well, the track type fits his style really well here. He runs best on the high line. Maybe there’s a chance they can  find some speed and put up a top20 today. Last year this would be a lock play. This year, I have some hesitations, but I know the potential is there. Starting 28th he isn’t going to really drop any further down. So this play relies heavily on him cracking the top20. I think he can and will have exposure. 

Daniel Suarez | 26th | 7600DK | 6500FD |

This is a good spot for Suarez. I think he should move up from here. I’m not sure what exactly to expect. But he usually is around top20 at this track type. So he’s worth a shot. 

Chris Buescher | 25th | 7300DK | 7000FD |

After a string of strong performances Buescher has really fallen off. Nothing too special here. I’d rather use Custer. But Buescher is worth a spot in a player pool just in case he were to actually perform to his capabilities. 

Ricky Stenhouse | 22nd | 6800DK | 6700FD |

I don’t think anyone uses him so he would be a really nice gpp play. I could see Ricky running well today. I’ll have a little exposure 

Also consider 

Ryan Newman | 29th | 7500DK | 5500FD |

Aric Almirola | 17th | 7000DK | 7500FD | 

Corey Lajoie | 27th | 6200DK | 4500FD |