Speaker 0 00:00:00 Drivers Start your engine.
Speaker 2 00:00:23 What's going on? FA Nation, welcome back. This is the Fantasy Alarm NASCAR DFS podcast. It is Saturday, March 11th. Matt and I are here to preview Sunday's NASCAR Cup series race from Phoenix. Uh, Matt, we just finished up with qualifying practice was yesterday. They were allowed to work on the cards overnight. How you doing? I feel like we do have quite a bit to get to and talk about.
Speaker 3 00:00:46 I'm doing well, uh, as rested as I can be after a 1200 mile drive, uh, back to my parents' house in va. Um, made it in time to watch qualifying and I tried to scour for practice. Uh, Fox apparently does not have that as an on-demand thing on their app or their site. Uh, YouTube couldn't be of service either, so I was able to follow Twitter, uh, for what was happening. They obviously discussed it, some on qualifying coverage. Um, so I'm pretty well versed in, you know, what happened in practice, who was good, who wasn't good, who needed help and whatnot. But the theme of the day is that the cars are tough to drive for a cup series. Like it's impressive how tough those cars are. So that should make the racing on Sunday, all that more, uh, impressive and more entertaining. A little bit more wild than we normally have seen Phoenix B over the last, uh, couple of years.
Speaker 2 00:01:50 Yeah, I remember I was listening to, I forgot what podcast it was. Uh, it may have been Denny Hamlin's, but uh, you know, a couple of the drivers, you know, that did the test, I think it was back in January, I think Christopher Bell was there, maybe Joey Logano, uh, they said that, you know, 30% less down force, it just, it just makes the car, I guess their words were more racy. Um, and so, you know, which is good because this package or this, this next gen car with the old package on short, flat tracks last year was awful. Couldn't pass. Uh, the first Martinsville race was a nightmare. Uh, it was a bit of a snooze fest and I think, you know, coming off a week like last week where a lot of people didn't enjoy that kind of racing just cuz it was dominated by Byron and then to a secondary extent Larson. Um, I I I think it's shaping up to be a very fun weekend for, uh, NASCAR with, with the brand new package and hopefully we see better racing on, on this type of track.
Speaker 3 00:02:43 Yeah, I agree. They had to do something with the shorter, flatter tracks. Um, cuz yeah, like you said, the, the racing was terrible. New Hampshire last year was okay, but that was about the only one, obviously Martin, the second Martinsville race, we all know it was famous for the, uh, the Chastain insane move at the end to make the championship, uh, which is now illegal. But aside from that, there wasn't a whole lot of actual action happening on track. So, um, and then, you know, they got to Phoenix last year for the championship and it, it was basically locked up like whichever of the championship bo out qualified the others we basically knew was gonna have the, uh, advantage throughout the race. So we'll see. It was very impressive to see the tire fall off, uh, during practice in this less down force. It was very fun to see them get loose in qualifying.
Speaker 3 00:03:40 I mean, Kyle Larson still won the pole but got real loose coming around, turn four in that final qualifying lap, uh, took three tenths of a second off of his, um, first run in qualifying between the pole run and the first run. So tire fall off. We all love that. We all love it when these guys are out there really wheeling these things around. So what does that mean for dms though? It means we could see a little bit of chaos. Like I heard multiple drivers during qualifying say that turn one and two were real iffy, like not a lot of grip <laugh>, they were all getting pretty loose. We saw Bubba Wallace, that car, I have no idea how he made it all the way around the track. Like he put it <laugh> into the wall and then it got loose three more times. I don't know.
Speaker 2 00:04:32 He, uh, they interviewed him I think during or after practice, uh, and they were like, you know what, what do you need to do to make the car better? And to his credit, he was very friendly and jovial about it. He's just like, we don't even know <laugh>. Yeah.
Speaker 3 00:04:45 He's like, I have no idea. <laugh>. It's everywhere. <laugh>. Yeah. Um, it looked like it was on roller. It looked like the wheels were on roller skates on his car, like it <laugh> it was not. There was no grip. Um, that being said, I do have faith in Toyotas. They'll figure it out and um, they'll, they'll actually be able to wheel 'em. So, um, I think we've got an actual race here. I think there's fast cars in every camp and I, I think we're gonna see some, some really fun action come Sunday and I think there's a bunch of ways we could build the lineups for dfs.
Speaker 2 00:05:22 Awesome. Uh, before we dive into strategy drivers, um, content selection, just give us the breakdown of Phoenix first way.
Speaker 3 00:05:30 So it's a flat one mile track. Um, the steepest banking on the track is 12 degrees. I believe that's up by the, you know, the, the fans in the start finish line that's banked about 12 degrees. Um, there's also the dog leg for those of you that have been, you know, that that might be new for dfs, um, this year and have been watching, uh, practice and qualifying. The really wide corner after the start finish line is the dog leg. And you'll see on restarts, uh, it gets about seven or eight cars wide. Everybody dives from wall to wall to try to get spots on the track and um, really cut down the corner. Now during the race, you're not gonna see a whole lot of guys doing that on the regular. Um, but in order to pass you're gonna see a bunch of passing happen in that doglike part of the track.
Speaker 3 00:06:23 Um, and it's in the past it has been a track position track, uh, out of the last 10 races here, the farthest back a winner has come from his 13th. Everybody else has started in the top 10. Um, I don't necessarily know that that's gonna be the case. Um, this weekend I think there's a chance for somebody starting further back to take advantage of some chaos, but uh, in general, the guys who are starting in the top 10 have all proven to be fast in practice and qualifying. So we might see some shifting there, but I, I don't know, it's generally a track position track. Oh, and the number for this race is kilometers. So the United Rentals work United 500 is 500 kilometers. Uh, so that equals 312 laps around the one mile track cuz 312 laps of a mile is 312 miles and that equals 500 kilometers.
Speaker 2 00:07:26 Uh, I'm glad you bring up track position because this was something that I tried to hammer home with my, uh, Xfinity playbook. You know, we've said this before, numerous times on on shorter, uh, flat tracks. Mostly just the short tracks. Uh, numerous guys will fall off the lead lap. It will happen quickly if there's a long green flag run. Basically the longer that this race stays clean and if we get long green flag runs, multiple drivers are gonna fall laps down, they're gonna lose multiple laps. Um, basically the key, if you're starting a back marker and just trying to find someone to get you value, um, you're basically hoping for a few cautions just to keep them on the lead lap or at least one lap down. Yeah. Um, but so for me, I don't typically I approach this race the way I would erode course and in in that I will take the PD where if it's given to me, so for example, the Xfinity Race, Kyle Busch is starting at the rear, didn't even post a qualifying lap.
Speaker 2 00:08:21 Brandon Jones qualified, had a bad lap. I think he just missed a turn or it, it just qualified outside the top 20 in, in a really good car. So in those two cases, I, I will take those guys because I know that they can, they have the equipment to move up through the field and stay on the lead lap and, and just pay off their price tag through PD in a good finish. I don't feel as good playing value plays that are basically starting outside the top 25. Uh, I mean Ty Dylan has been bad all year, but this is a situation where it's like he's $5,000, he's starting 35th. That's not exactly the guy that I want to punt to. Uh, because there's, there's just, I'm not expecting much from a $5,000 driver, but I know that the ceiling and the floor are both probably very low.
Speaker 2 00:09:06 If I'm gonna go to a value play, I love looking at a driver like, you know, Chris Buscher, Justin Haard, AJ Almond Digger, uh, respectively, they're starting 21st, 26 and 22nd. Those are guys that can at least move up into the top 20, maybe even the top 15 and stay in the lead lap and just, and have a good finish. And if you stay in the lead lap while others fall off the lead lap, then that kind of just secures their position the rest of the race as long as they don't wreck. So normally on certain weeks, you know, we have no problem saying, you know, go ahead and look at these guys that are, that are value plays. They're cheap and maybe if they move up five to 10 spots they can pay off. This is a week where I'm less inclined to do that. Um, this track Richmond Martinsville and New Hampshire because I really want to make sure I can get, I, I really like these tracks for tournaments. I suck at these tracks for cash games. So I really just want, even with my value plays, I want those guys to be able to finish in the top 20.
Speaker 3 00:10:02 Yep. I, I agree with that. Take a guy that I'm looking at is Eric Amarillo starting 31st, but he has the skill in the car to move up. Yeah. Uh, so I'm not as concerned, uh, with that is say a tie Dylan or even a Gillin starting 29th. Um, you know, or heck even a LA Joy starting 28th. I'm not a hundred percent sold on. Um, so you know, your point is very well taken that it's, it's, we've gotta treat this kind of as a mix of road course and short track, right? Because short tracks, you're targeting guys going to the front for Lapide Road courses. You're not targeting Lapide cuz there's not enough of them. But at Phoenix there's 312 laps. There's gonna be dominator points we need to get at least one guy, uh, if not to in our builds. But then in terms of position, differential road courses and short tracks are basically the same. You have to cap it at some point moving back in the pack knowing the guys aren't gonna be able to move up all that far once things get going in the race like they would in an intermediate or super speedway, um, or whatnot. So in that regard, there are a few that kind of shifts the board a little bit as to who we're looking at. Um, there's probably gonna be, I can't decide if Michael McDowell's gonna be popular or not starting seventh at his home track. Uh, pretty cheap on both sites.
Speaker 2 00:11:43 It's gonna be a no for me.
Speaker 3 00:11:45 Yeah. I'm willing to take a shot in the hope that the adjustments they made between practice and qualifying stick. Because like normally if we were looking at practice times and you're like, oh that guy's super slow and then he qualifies super well, you're like, well maybe you just got one good lap. But here's the thing. Yeah, this weekend practiced on Friday at a completely different temperature than they ran qualifying mm-hmm <affirmative>, which is gonna be closer to race conditions in terms of timing because practice was way later in the day. So it was cooler. Um, and they were able to work on the cars in between practice and qualifying. Normally they're not allowed to do that. Normally it's an impound situation. You practice qualify, you leave the car, you're racing as it was, uh, at the end of qualifying. So that to me gives a little bit of wiggle room to see if McDowell will hold. I'm not saying like load up on him, but I think in GPP he's worth a shot as a guy who costs you basically nothing.
Speaker 2 00:12:55 So on that topic, you know, if you're, and we'll get back on track shortly, but like you look at guys that are priced around him, Harrison Burton's 5,700, starting 27th, Lejo is 56 starting 28th. Pretty much everyone that's priced around him is starting outside the top 25. Right. And as we were just talking about like these are guys that many of them will fall off the lead lap and and they just won't be able to cap their upside. What's interesting about McDowell is that he already has the starting position and shouldn't lose a lap, uh, in the first stage. The problem is, is that I'd feel better about McDowell if he was maybe starting between 12th and 15th because he is starting seventh, which basically means if he finishes 12th, even with 12th and assuming he doesn't get any dominator points, I don't think he's going to, he's not gonna hit value. But again, if he finishes 12th, he'd still be getting you 26 points on DraftKings, which not terrible from a $5,400 driver,
Speaker 3 00:13:57 Um, nearly five. But
Speaker 2 00:13:58 If, yeah, but if it gets worse from there then it's, it's a real issue. So like I understand, you know, possibly playing him, there is an argument to be made because ownership will be very low. It's not gonna take very much to get leverage. He, he's gonna be a sub 10% played driver and all what you need is like 15%, three outta 20 lineups and you have leverage over the field
Speaker 3 00:14:21 And if he finishes where he starts then you get value. But there is risk. I'm not saying it's a, it's a,
Speaker 2 00:14:29 Oh he finishes where he starts. That's insane value.
Speaker 3 00:14:32 Yeah, because he get what, 37 points on DK without any dominator points. Right. And then we're talking what, seven x or so
Speaker 2 00:14:44 Just about.
Speaker 3 00:14:46 So yeah, that's, you know, there's upside but the downside is that he could just go backwards and free fall and cost you. Um, but it's an inter, this is part of that interesting strategy where you go, oh normally I wouldn't play a guy starting there, but I don't, you know, I don't know. Um,
Speaker 2 00:15:07 I mean what I will say is like what's nice about the xFi is that a lot of these super cheap drivers, like the guys in the six Ks and then there were a couple like 5K and 4K drivers, they're all starting. There are a few of them that are starting inside the top 20 and then some of that are starting inside the top 25. So it actually, that's, that's how I like qualifying in the starting order to shape up. You know, I have cheap drivers that I'm playing and I'm just hoping they sanely lab. The problem with, with the cup race right now is like the way we're phrasing this conversation, McDowell is looking like an okay tournament play. Um, Corey Laroy has been a top 20 driver for the first few weeks, but there is still a part of me that worries that he just can't stay on the lead lap in this race and he finishes outside the top 25 and I do expect ownership to be elevated on Laroy. Um, given what he's done so far this year.
Speaker 3 00:15:54 Yeah, I would actually say that a guy that could be lower owned is just above him in Harrison Burton who I actually have Faith could finish top 20.
Speaker 2 00:16:04 Is it because of the Penske affiliation?
Speaker 3 00:16:08 I mean he showed that car got really good over the long run in practice,
Speaker 2 00:16:15 Just not much fall off.
Speaker 3 00:16:17 Not, I mean not really. If you look at, if you look at his 10 lap, his five lap average put him, um, sorry I, oh sorry. The 10 lap average puts him 15th in the field. His five lap average is 13th in the field. His 15 lap average is ninth in the field and his 20 lap average is 13th in the field. So it's not bad he has, in
Speaker 2 00:16:45 Comparison to where he is starting especially
Speaker 3 00:16:46 He has shown some decent speed at, and I know there's no other track that compares, this is also a new package, whatnot. But he has shown some decent speed this year when given the shot and he pulled off a top 20 here last year. Right. So, you know, there is that, I think um, how, how high do you think Larson's gonna be on?
Speaker 2 00:17:12 Oh boy. Uh, <laugh>. See here's the thing with Larson is like, so you heard about the NASCAR confiscate? Confiscating
Speaker 3 00:17:20 Yes.
Speaker 2 00:17:21 Ap I don't know the full story about it because I didn't see qualifying and I just started seeing things about it, uh, on Twitter earlier today. But I love when things like this happen with Hendrick cuz this isn't the first time it's happened. No, uh, but either way, like those drivers will still go out, especially Larson. And he is like, he even says, I don't even know what that thing does. And he still goes down and he puts down the fastest lap in qualifying.
Speaker 3 00:17:44 I mean think about Harv with the windshield or the, or the rear window a few years ago when people caught him with the bending rear windshield. Yeah. And NASCAR took it and find him massively and said you have to use this. And then they went out and won and pointed to the back windshield when he was doing burnouts. Like, yeah, this didn't matter. Like it was me, like
Speaker 2 00:18:05 <laugh>,
Speaker 3 00:18:05 I don't know. They took the part and then he went out and ran a qualifying la that was two tenths faster than anybody else. <laugh> like insane, nine of the top 10 in their first qualifying runs qualified within a 10th of a second. And Larson was two tenths faster than anybody else. Like if he, the, the only way he has an issue is if it gets too loose and he pulls a Kyle Larson thing where he just dirts it under the wall.
Speaker 2 00:18:39 Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I will say, I saw a tweet earlier this week where it said, uh, in terms of win equity, like a majority of the winds come from inside the top eight here and then the number even improved like from inside the top four. But even um, you know, just pure, like from a DFS perspective, like it's so easy to accumulate dominator points from the pole position and I think that everyone can just see that you, all you have to do is just go into racing reference and just look at how the last Yes. Handful of Phoenix races have gone about. Um, it's n it it's really not hard for him to go out and get at least 30 dominator points and if he finishes while he's gonna be in the optimal lineup for that reason, uh, I imagine he probably is, he should probably be about 40% owning cash games, I would say. But I think in tournaments he might be something more like 35.
Speaker 3 00:19:38 You don't think it goes up for tournaments?
Speaker 2 00:19:40 Not necessarily, no. I think people will spread their exposure around.
Speaker 3 00:19:44 Fair enough. I mean, I I can't disagree with that expo. I mean I might put 'em a little higher across the board. You had the fastest everything in practice and then <laugh> had the fastest laps in
Speaker 2 00:19:58 Qualifying. That's what worries me though, is that, and, and I try not to get in my own head about this, but it's like anytime there's a guy that just kills in practice, he kills in qualifying, something goes wrong in the race.
Speaker 3 00:20:10 Yeah. I mean we've seen it, we've seen it specifically with Larson. Yeah, true. Before. Like he was fast here last year in the engine blew, right? Like he's been fast at Texas and he catches fire. He was fast at um, we didn't have an issue, an issue earlier this year. He was fast than something else happened.
Speaker 2 00:20:40 Uh, I think he was fast at auto club and then he had a electrical issue and he basically lost laps but he had a rocket ship the rest the race. So he was running laps
Speaker 3 00:20:48 Down. He was like 15 laps down or something
Speaker 2 00:20:50 And he was still collecting fastest laps. <laugh>.
Speaker 3 00:20:52 Yeah. Ridiculous. Um, so I'm with you there, but there's a bunch of different ways we can, I think there's some surprising picks you'll see in the, in the playbook that will be out not much longer after this podcast comes out.
Speaker 2 00:21:08 Can I ask you a question? Sure. In general, uh, cuz I wanna talk about the Fords cuz every, every bit of research I've done, whether it's through podcasts, just following along through Twitter throughout the week, everybody is high on Fords, uh, especially the Sr Fords. So my question is kind of like for each team, one, are you buying into the hype for the SR cars? And two, do you think that this could be a rebound week for Penske?
Speaker 3 00:21:33 I think I feel more confident in SR than I do in Penske. Okay. Couple reasons. One, I've seen the building speed in Sr the last couple of weeks. Granted different package, different track type whatnot, but you wanna see a trend, you wanna see 'em moving in the right direction and then they came out. This is a very good track for Alola. It's a very good track for Kevin Harvick. It's been a good track, um, in the, I mean, chase Briscoe won this race last year. Um, as for Team Penske, the books were high as hell on Team Penske, like band's top 10 odds earlier this week had both Blaney and Logano at minus eight 50 for a top 10 finish minus eight 50, which is like a 90% chance of finishing in the top 10. If you do the implied odds from that. It also means you have to bet an absolute metric crap ton of money to actually win anything, which always turns me off from betting those things. Um, but it just seems like something and I I can't really say Kyle Petty's comments about Ryan Blaney were all that incorrect?
Speaker 2 00:22:51 No, they were pretty accurate.
Speaker 3 00:22:53 I I think it's a pretty good comp to Casey Kane where he was this wonder kid that came up and did well to begin with and then we all spent the rest of his time waiting for him to show up <laugh> with, with the skills. Like, and it's not like Casey Ca was in a bad car in his career. He was in Hendrick cars that everybody else was winning in. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, Ryan Blaney, he's in a pensky car that literally won the Daytona 500 and then his teammate won the championship. Right. Like, um, so I don't know if that's gonna light a fire under Ryan Blaney. I think he's pretty chilled, dude. I'm not sure anything really lights a fire under Ryan Blaney at this point. Um, but I'm a little more sketch about Team Penske cuz Austin Crick and fairness hasn't really shown all that much since the Daytona 500 win. Um, Ryan Blaney's always a dude with speed, but can't seem to really capitalize on it. And Logano for most of last year wasn't all that dominant. He was just kind of running top five every week, which is great, but like he's not out there dominating. So I feel like I have more faith right now in S H R than Team Penske.
Speaker 2 00:24:10 All right. Are there any other drivers that we maybe want to talk about? We can save 'em for the playbook and we can just kind of discuss contest strategy.
Speaker 3 00:24:18 Um, why don't we save 'em for the playbook? I have a few guys that are intriguing in the playbook. Okay. Um, for sure. But yeah, contests like you're playing mostly GPP this week,
Speaker 2 00:24:30 Right? So I only have the chrome horn reserved. Um, even LA last week was weird because I had a very profitable week. I built 10 lineups, I had 'em all set for the chrome horn and in my like three entry and single entry contests. And then with like two hours to go before the race, I was just like, you know, I think this is it. Like I don't want to, like, I I love these 10 lineups, I don't think I need it anymore. So I didn't even max enter the chrome horn last week, but still had profit. Currently I have 20 entries in the chrome horn. Um, yeah, I don't know because I don't feel as confident as I did last week for Vegas. And it's just because it's the new package. Yeah, the new error package for this track. So it's almost like, do I want to just, you know, play 80 bucks in the chrome horn and then maybe, you know, save bankroll not necessarily for next week at Atlanta, but uh, maybe Coda after that. Um, maybe I'll do some like very smaller, like low cost three entry max contest and a couple of cheaper single entries. But I, I think I might be okay if I just do the chrome horn for tomorrow and just see if my research and analysis and reads for this phrase, see if it's, if it's on, um, and then I'd be just content just only playing the chrome horn.
Speaker 3 00:25:47 Yeah, I'm kind of with you. I'm doing more GPP this week rather than, and it is not because I can't read cash here. I ha I think I have a pretty good read, uh, on this race from doing the research throughout the week watching, you know, the notes from practice, uh, watching qualifying, hearing what all the drivers are saying about the new, um, package and what we can expect and stuff like that. But it's more so in line with you that there's, there's this air of unknown ness, if I can say it that way, about this package, right? Like if we're watching practice and qualifying, a bunch of dudes were loose, some dudes were tight and then they swung it just a little bit and then they were really loose. Um, tire fall off is gonna be a thing. I think it's gonna be a completely different strategy race for the pits for this Phoenix race than we typically see here, which is gonna shift some stuff.
Speaker 3 00:26:46 So I'm with you. I'd rather play a little lighter this week in gpp, um, and see if we, what we can't learn from it that we can then take to other tracks that'll have this package like Richmond and New Hampshire and probably Gateway I would assume, and you know, similar tracks to, to Phoenix. Um, that's not to say I'm not playing cash, um, but I think there's a little bit more creativity you can put into your builds and this week without having to sell out for, you know, a Larson and then, you know, several PD plays.
Speaker 2 00:27:32 Uh, do we want to just give a quick note on next week's podcast since it is Atlanta?
Speaker 3 00:27:37 Yes. Yeah, that's a good idea. So, uh, for those that don't know, um, Atlanta is mostly kinda like a mile and a half super speedway now, like
Speaker 2 00:27:48 Drafting.
Speaker 3 00:27:49 Yeah, they run the same package that they do at Daytona and Talladega, um, at Atlanta. So with that being said, look, the, the, the first race there last year was an absolute chaotic mess. Like it was almost an abomination to watch to be honest. Um, and the second race we had lap led dominators and then we also had some chaos. So, uh, with that being said, we're gonna treat it like a Daytona or a Talladega and we're gonna record a midweek podcast. Couple reasons. One, it's running the same package. We can expect chaos yet again. And two, schedule-wise, it just works better for us. Dan is actually going to the trucking Xfinity races next weekend at Atlanta on Saturday. And uh, I am driving back from Virginia back to Nebraska starting Friday evening and I'm not gonna get back until Saturday evening. So there'd be no way for me to do that, drive <laugh> and then hop on a <laugh>, hop on a pod and edit it and get it up in any reasonable time. So we're gonna do it on a Wednesday. What, what was that Dan
Speaker 2 00:28:59 <laugh>? I said you don't want a podcast while driving?
Speaker 3 00:29:02 No, I mean, my lovely kids are in the bag. Uh, we came with our cat this time because we have to give him medicine and didn't want to fork over 500 bucks to the vet to do it. So my cat would be meowing in the background and it'd be pure chaos to record in the, in the car. Um, so yeah, it'll be a Wednesday pod, um, probably out Thursday morning. The only ones that are gonna be like that are the ones that are at places like Talladega and Daytona and the Atlanta races. Uh, everything else will be Saturday races. And then for the content, um, I think Dan and I are gonna split the playbook duties for the cup, uh, playbook next week. So I will have some plays, uh, written up probably before practice and qualifying send them over to Dan. Uh, Dan will add his 2 cents and a bunch of drivers to the playbook once he gets back from seeing on track festivities. And then we'll have it all up for you. So that's the lay of the land for Atlanta.
Speaker 2 00:30:09 All right. Well Matt, thank you so much for your time. Uh, I hope you enjoy your time with your family. Uh, best of luck to you this weekend and best of luck to the FA Nation.
Speaker 3 00:30:17 Best of luck FA Nation.