We are back to chaos this week as we head to the restrictor plate castle of Talladega. It’s really hard to predict plate tracks. All we can do is talk strategy, and how different drivers fit into that. As always, the research is just getting started, so think about getting signed up and get exclusive access to our projection model, the domination station lineup optimizer, and most importantly, direct chat room access to some of the sharpest NASCAR minds in the industry. I will be on there all weekend updating everyone on my research.
A couple of notes that I always like to note on restrictior plate tracks:
Most importantly, the restrictor plates. On track, the cars have about the same horsepower – meaning they will be nose to tail all day. This means drivers who usually aren’t relevant get made relevant, and if there is a crash – it’s going to end the day of 3-15 drivers in an instant.
It’s very seldom that the optimal lineup maxes that salary cap. Whacky lineups galore.
I think the most important thing this week will be playing at least five differential plays. The sweet spot is 26th starting spot or worse, and only 5 times has someone in the top five ended up in the optimal. Drivers in the back also have the benefit of more fast laps, since the cars infront of them are cutting the air for them.
Now regardless of what strategy you play this week – plate tracks have a DNF rate of around 20%. Meaning every driver in the field this Sunday will have a one in five chance of not completing all the laps. This makes just about any strategy volatile. With that in mind, understanding the correct optimal place differential strategy certainly gives us an edge.
Rather than give you top plays, fades, and values, I am going to give you my thoughts on each driver starting 25th or worse, and allow you to create a strategy with that in mind. Bolded drivers are drivers I consider top plays. Keep in mind that other drivers starting better than 20th are not unplayable, but they are just volatile.
Regan Smith – I don’t love Regan Smith here. He has never really been an elite plate racer, and though his performance as Kasey Kahnes replacement has been admirable, I am not sure the odds are in his favor this week, given he is starting 25th. Kahne, however, was able to put on some decent performances in the plate races earlier this year, so Smith isn’t out of the question.
Chris Buescher – I am always high on Buescher, so it should come as no suprise that I will be a little overweight on him this week. He has been super solid on plate races over the years, and has finished no lower than 22nd at Dega over the last four races. That might not sound like much, but for a race that has a 25% DNF rate – it stands out.
Matt DiBenedetto – I don’t love this play, either. Matty D has shown flashed of greatness on plate races over the years, but his ceiling proves to be around 20th time and time again.
Brendan Gaughan – Much like Dibenedetto, Gaughan has a real tendency to perform well at these races, but never seems to get the finish he deserves. That said, he showed some prowess at Daytona this year, and certainly isn’t a complete fade by any means.
Ty Dillon – One of my favorite plays in this range, Ty Dillon. Ty has finished top 15 in all his tries at Dega, and has shown a magnificent ability to survive these races. I will be overweight on Ty.
Paul Menard – I like Paul Menard here, as his stats at Dega are actually quite impressive, save for a bit of a bad try in May. Alas, I think he will be over owned this weekend. Make your own assessment here.
Jamie McMurray – Mr. Boom or Bust rolls of 31st. JMac has a reputation for driving SUPER aggressive and wrecking…but SOMETIMES he finishes top five. I think you will get a pretty good deal, ownership wise, because of his volatility. I LOVE JMac this week.
JJ Yeley – Yeley is a good driver, and this car has finished 20th, 24th and 18th in restriction plate races so far this year. A decent play, and worth having some exposure to.
DJ Kennington – I actually like this play. DJ look stable in practice, and since he starts a little higher than others in his range, and think you will get a good deal on him.
Kyle Larson – Larson will obviously be very highly owned, but I don’t like him any more or less than anyone else starting in this range. Sure, his equipment is better, but he has often struggled on plate races, and will cost you about 2500 more than most of the others in the area. Alas, having some exposure to him is necessary – but I don’t think you have to go overboard.
Jeffrey Earnhardt – Jeffrey had often struggled on plate races, but showed some improvement in July, when he brought a Premium Motorsports car to a top 11 finish. This 96 car has shown real prowess in the other plate races this year. Not my favorite play, but I will have significant exposure to J. Earnhardt.
Ross Chastain – Speaking of the Premium Motorsports car that finished top 11 at Daytona – this week Ross Chastain will pilot it. I like this play a lot, but Chastains aggressive driving style makes it a volatile one.
Joey Gase – One of my favorite plays here. Gase finished 27th in this car back in May, but the car looked strong and is solid enough to complete every lap. I think Gase will get overlooked in favor of Landon Cassill and Corey Lajoie – some real value here.
Landon Cassill – I reckon Cassill will be the apple of everyone’s eye this, and for good reason. He is a very consistent plate racer and has great survival instincts. I don’t trust the 99 car that much, but it was able to bring home a 24th at Daytona in July. Of course give some exposure to Landon Cassill, but I don’t think we have to go overboard.
Cody Ware – This is damn near a full fade. Ware never finishes the race, and playing him would be far too volatile for me.
Corey LaJoie – Lajoie has struggled in this car this year, but he just can’t be ignored this week. The 72 car is much better than people give it credit for, and I truly believe that LaJoie has the ability to survive this race and bang out a top 15. This is my favorite play of the week.
So there it is folks, use that to start your research. We will be talking more strategy on the DFS Army Slack Room right up until lock, and thats what it will be all about this week. Strategy. Get signed up and get exclusive access to our projection model, the domination station lineup optimizer, and most importantly, direct chat room access to some of the sharpest NASCAR minds in the industry. As always, use my research as a launching point for yours. Trust your process, good luck this week, and let’s make some cash.