DraftKings NASCAR: I Love New York 355 at the Glen
DraftKings NASCAR: I Love New York 355 at the Glen

This article is part of our DraftKings NASCAR series.

I Love New York 355 at the Glen

Location: Watkins Glen, N.Y.
Course: Watkins Glen International
Format: 2.45-mile road course
Laps: 90

Race Preview

Kyle Busch finally made his breakthrough at Pocono Raceway. His win last week was his first at the track and of 2017, and ends a long run of having tremendously competitive cars only to come up short of winning. This week, the series heads to Watkins Glen International for the second road course race of the season. Kyle Larson started the last road course race from pole position, but it was Kevin Harvick who triumphed at Sonoma Raceway. Denny Hamlin won last time at Watkins Glen, and both of those most recent road course winners have the wins that firm up their entry to the season-ending playoffs. Drivers on the outside looking and seeing this week's race as an opportunity to grab a victory are Clint Bowyer, A.J. Allmendinger and Joey Logano. All of those drivers are currently below the cut line, but have solid road racing resumes that indicate they could pull into Victory Lane on Sunday. This race is often favored by the road course specialists, but the usual Monster Energy Cup series contingent of front runners have been steadily taking over at the helm. Gone are the days that a specialist can come in for a single-race opportunity and score the win. The field is much more competitive now than even just a few years prior.

Key Stats at Watkins Glen International

Number of previous races: 34
Winners from pole: 9
Winners from top-5 starters: 21
Winners from top-10 starters: 25
Winners from 21st or lower starters: 0
Fastest race: 103.030 mph

Last 10 Watkins Glen Winners

2016 - Denny Hamlin
2015 - Joey Logano
2014 - A.J. Allmendinger
2013 - Kyle Busch
2012 - Marcos Ambrose
2011 - Marcos Ambrose
2010 - Juan Pablo Montoya
2009 - Tony Stewart
2008 - Kyle Busch
2007 - Tony Stewart

Like Sonoma Raceway, Watkins Glen International is a natural-terrain road course. Success on one circuit does not necessarily mean success on the other, though. Fantasy players should consider Sonoma results, but wouldn't be wrong to weight recent performances in New York more heavily when making their selections. The loan and flowing course allows drivers to make green-flag pit stops without losing a lap, which could become critical in capturing the victory. Track position and restarts will be key as well. There are bound to be caution periods, and having a spot at the front of the field will be important since passing can be a challenge. Restarts are often the best opportunity for drivers to make up positions on track, but close-quarters racing means contact can also easily ruin someone's afternoon. Teams will work to set up a car that can carry speed through the middle of turns but that is balanced enough to allow the driver to carry as much speed out of turn exit as possible. Most passes on track are accomplished through out-braking opponents, but bumping will also be a common occurrence as drivers with faster cars work their way forward.

DRAFTKINGS VALUE PICKS
(Based on Standard $50K Salary Cap)

DraftKings Tier 1 Values

Martin Truex Jr. - $10,500
Kyle Busch - $10,300
Kevin Harvick - $10,000

DraftKings Tier 2 Values

Brad Keselowski - $9,800
Clint Bowyer - $9,500
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300

DraftKings Tier 3 Values

A.J. Allmendinger - $8,800
Joey Logano - $8,600
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $8,000
Matt Kenseth - $7,900

DraftKings Long-Shot Values

Daniel Suarez - $7,300
Trevor Bayne - $6,100
Matt DiBenedetto - $5,400
Cole Whitt - $5,000

MY PICKS THIS WEEK

Lower-Risk Lineup ($50K Salary Cap)

Kyle Busch - $10,300
Brad Keselowski - $9,800
Jimmie Johnson - $9,300
A.J. Allmendinger - $8,800
Trevor Bayne - $6,100
Matt DiBenedetto - $5,400

It isn't a big surprise to see Kyle Busch's name at the top of fantasy selections this week. He has been extremely quick all season and is a respectable competitor on road courses as well. He has two Watkins Glen wins and just two finishes outside of the top 10 at the circuit in his 12 career starts. Brad Keselowski has never won at the Glen, but he led more than 20 laps in the last two races there and has five top-fives from seven tries. Like Keselowski, Watkins Glen has eluded Johnson so far. Johnson crashed out of last year's race but did score three top-10s from the last five races at the track. The name on most fantasy players' minds this week will no doubt be Allmendinger. He's almost always a threat for the win at this circuit and pulled off the feat in 2014. He didn't lead any laps here last season, but still finished fourth. Allmendinger should be a good play again this week. Finally, Bayne and DiBenedetto make the safer lineup due to their potential value and cheap price. DiBenedetto placed 23rd in Sonoma earlier this season while Bayne grabbed a top-10 last time out at the Glen. Both should be confident top-20 cars this weekend.

Higher-Risk Lineup
($50K Salary Cap)

Kurt Busch - $9,600
Joey Logano - $8,600
Jamie McMurray - $8,400
Dale Earnhardt Jr. - $8,000
Kasey Kahne - $7,700
Ryan Newman - $7,500

The higher-risk lineup for Watkins Glen is stacked with drivers who could spring a big surprise on Sunday. Kurt Busch just lost his ride at Stewart Haas Racing for next season and could add at least a top-10 finish to this season's resume this week. He led three laps in last year's race and has seven top-10s from 16 career starts. Joey Logano is another good road course racer looking for redemption. He won here in 2015 and finished second last year. A win on Sunday would salvage his sinking season. Another driver fully capable of winning in 2017 has been McMurray. He has been fast all season and finished eighth in this race last year. Fantasy owners should anticipate another top-10 from him this time around, too. Teammates Earnhardt and Kahne also add value to this roster, but both have had their share of 2017 issues. Earnhardt has been improving his road courses, while Kahne has his 2017 win in pocket he still needs to prove himself. Watkins Glen hasn't clicked with him, but his Sonoma results would suggest he's capable of better. Lastly, Newman is another 2017 winner and a consistent top-15 finisher at this track. He's reliable and experienced, which means a top-15 should be fantasy owners' minimum expectation on Sunday.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. C.J. Radune plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: DraftKings: cjradune, RaceDayScore: cjradune.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association in 2012 and 2015.
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