In a repeat performance like last August’s Michigan race, Kyle Larson beats Chase Elliott for the checkered flag in last week’s FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway.
This week, the Monster Energy Cup Series heads West to Napa Valley to race in the first of two road courses. The Toyota-Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway will run 110 laps on this 2.52-mile road course that contains 12 turns. For this race in DraftKings, I will avoid all rookies and younger drivers as experience, past performance, and road course specialty skills will rule the day.
My Top 5 Drivers for the Toyota-Save Mart 350
AJ Allmendinger($9,500): Allmendinger is a road course specialist and does fairly well at this track. While he has not finished well the past couple of years, he started 2nd and led 20 laps in last year’s race. In 2015, he won the pole position. In 2014, he led 35 laps and started 2nd. Overall, he runs the track very well, and he just needs to put together a good race for a decent finish. He will be highly owned and you can confidently put him in your lineups.
Kurt Busch($9,800): Kurt Busch has had very average practice sessions this week at Sonoma. However, I like veteran drivers for this race. He has the #1 Drivers Rating for this race and has won this race before. Kurt Busch also has seven Top 5’s, and eight Top 10 finishes at this track.
Kyle Busch($10,200): Kyle Busch is very strong at Sonoma Raceway with two career wins at this track. His past 2 races he finished in the Top 10. Kyle Busch has been a top performer this year, but bad luck has snake-bitten him all year-long. He could end the 2017 Checkered Flag drought at this race for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Kyle Larson($9,300): Larson won the pole position for this race and could earn some decent Laps Led points. He is a driver to use every week at every track with confidence. He also practiced well this week and looks poised to win back to back races. While finishing outside the Top 10 in his only three races at Sonoma, he still has qualified in the Top 5 in those races. He has the skills to perform well at this track and has had the fast cars and momentum this year to get his first win at Sonoma.
Jimmie Johnson($9,600): This is another veteran pick for this race. Johnson has seven Top 10’s in the last eight races at Sonoma Raceway. He won this race in 2010, where he dominated by leading 55 out of the 110 laps.
Denny Hamlin($8,900): While Hamlin does not historically perform well at Sonoma, he finished 2nd last year while leading 33 laps of the 110. His teammate Carl Edwards won the pole, lead 24 laps, and finished 4th. His other teammate Kyle Busch finished 7th while leading two laps. So, I think Joe Gibbs Racing has finally figured out the Sonoma Raceway puzzle, and Hamlin is a veteran driver to build on this 2nd place finish from last year.
Jamie McMurray($8,500): McMurray races very well at Sonoma and had an excellent week in practice and qualifying. He will start 2nd in this race, right behind teammate Kyle Larson. McMurray has won the pole position three times in his career, so he knows the track well, and just needs to put together a decent finish. This year, Chip Ganassi Racing has provided McMurray and Larson with some high performing cars. This could be the race where McMurray gets a win or at least a Top 3 finish.
Danica Patrick($5,800): With Patrick’s Indycar background, this track bodes well for her performance. While she has not had decent finishes here (18th was her highest), she does run well at this track starting in the 11th position twice in her career. During practice this week, she is running in the Top 15. Could she pull off a Top 5 performance? At this track, it is very possible. With her very affordable price at $5,800, she is worth a shot in your lineups.