The Cup Series heads to New Hampshire Motor Speedway this weekend for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, and if you have been getting tired of using the same driver combinations during the recent run of races at 1.5-mile tracks, then Sunday's race offers the potential for a change of pace.
New Hampshire is a flat, one-mile oval, and while passing is tough at any track with the current rules package, completing passes at New Hampshire is even tougher. Even with NASCAR applying traction compound, drivers have a hard time finding enough grip to drive underneath another driver and complete a pass. The problem is amplified on restarts where drivers in the outside groove tend to have a significant advantage.
When it comes to setting your NASCAR DFS lineups at DraftKings, the style of racing at New Hampshire makes it important to nail the dominators. With clean air being so important, it is common for a couple of drivers to lead the majority of the laps. Last year, Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin both led more than 100 laps.
Although I do tend to load up on a small core of dominators, I actually like spreading my net a little wider when filling out the remainder of my lineups. Remember that restart disparity I mentioned? Well, the running order can really get jumbled up if the race ends with a string of cautions. I suggest using several different combinations of drivers starting a little deeper in the field to try to take advantage if restart chaos rules the closing laps.
Kevin Harvick ($11,600)
Harvick has won the last two races at New Hampshire, leading double-digit laps and topping 30 fastest laps in both. He has three wins and five Top 5s in the last six races here, and considering how strong he has been throughout 2020, I expect him to pile up points in the dominator points again this weekend. I'll have plenty of exposure to Harvick in all contests.
Denny Hamlin ($10,400)
He is one of the best in the business at flat tracks, and Hamlin has picked up three wins at New Hampshire in his career. He was the runner-up in last year's race, leading 113 laps and logging 55 fastest laps. With a series-best five wins under his belt already in 2020, Hamlin should be a DFS force Sunday when he starts from the front row at one of his best tracks. He's my top dominator option.
Martin Truex Jr. ($10,700)
Truex is no stranger to success at New Hampshire, reeling off five straight finishes of seventh or better and leading more than 80 laps in five of his last six starts here. Throw in the fact that he is starting outside the Top 10, and he should be a popular pick among the high-priced options. When you start hunting for dominator points, Truex is one of the safer options to build around.
Christopher Bell ($10,100)
Bell will be making his first Cup start at New Hampshire this weekend, but he is back to starting deep in the field, and he has been stellar at this track in the lower series. He finished first and second in two Truck starts here, and won both of his XFINITY starts, leading 279 of the 400 laps. He's expensive, but rolling off 35th, he is nothing but upside to offer for cash lineups.
Erik Jones ($8,900)
It hasn't been a banner year for Jones, but he's been gaining steam in recent weeks, and he has had success at New Hampshire in the past. He has an 8.3 average finish over the last three races here, and he logged a third-place finish in last year's race. Jones will start 17th Sunday, giving him a solid chunk of differential points to pair with his Top 5 upside.
John Hunter Nemechek ($7,000)
He got a terrible qualifying draw, but from a DFS standpoint, Nemechek can now lean on the place differential category in a big way. He will start 36th, but he owns a 20.1 average finish for the year and has cracked the Top 25 in 17 of the 19 races. The rookie should be a safe way to free up cap space for your cash lineups.
Ryan Newman ($6,600)
It has been a lackluster stretch for Newman, but he has always enjoyed success at New Hampshire. He has a 13.5 average finish at the track for his career, finishing sixth here in 2018 and seventh last season. Set to start 22nd, Newman should be able to some place differential points to his final point total. He offers a decent floor for a cheap price, perfect for cash lineups.
Kyle Busch ($9,300)
We continue to wait for the defending champ to assert his dominance, and while he has clearly been lacking some speed in 2020, his record at New Hampshire is impossible to ignore. He led a race-high 118 laps here last year while recording 69 fastest laps, and he has led more than 90 laps in three of the last four races at the track. Busch has recorded at least 28 fastest laps in six straight New Hampshire starts, logging at least 39 five times.
Aric Almirola ($8,500)
He's been on one heck of a run the last couple of months, and Almirola's 5.4 average finish over the last eight races is the best in the series. Drawing the pole puts him in a dangerous position as far as differential points are concerned, but it also gives him the inside track to some dominator points. Almirola has managed to lead double-digit laps and log double-digit fastest laps in each of the last two New Hampshire races, and the combination of some dominator points and a Top 10 finish could still yield a great score.
Matt DiBenedetto ($8,300)
DiBenedetto had a career run at New Hampshire when he delivered a fifth-place finish in the No. 95 machine. He has been even better overall in 2020 after moving to the Wood Brothers No. 21, so there is definite potential for a Top 5 finish. Starting 19th, I love him as a pivot to Erik Jones.
Tyler Reddick ($7,500)
Reddick has been making his presence felt all year, becoming a Top 10 threat on a routine basis. While we don't have a perfect comp for New Hampshire, Phoenix is one track with some similar characteristics, and Reddick had a Top 5 run going at Phoenix before cutting a tire late. He doesn't have a ton of differential points available, but Reddick could challenge for a Top 5 and provide some fastest laps point.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,800)
Trusting Stenhouse is a recipe for disaster, but for all the wrecks and bad finishes, he will occasionally deliver a solid run. Starting way back in 31st, he has the differential points available to post a sizeable score. I'd throw a dart at Stenhouse in a couple of lineups in bigger GPPs as a pivot to John Hunter Nemechek.