The Home of Fantasy Sports Analysis

NASCAR DFS: Pennzoil 400 Preview

What a week for the NASCAR Cup Series at Atlanta! There have been plenty of complaints about the boring style of racing the last two years at Atlanta. But Sunday night was different. You could pass for the lead frequently. Six different drivers led at least 20 laps. Eight would go on to lead at least 15. Were there still cautions? Yes, even as early as lap two. But overall, it was a more aggressive Atlanta race. I’m always concerned about a long, boring single-file run. That wasn’t the case on Sunday as the field went four-wide at times. It was one of the best races of the NextGen Era as Daniel Suarez got his second career victory in the Cup Series. Now we turn our attention to Las Vegas. Let’s take an early at this week’s driver pool for the Pennzoil 400 preview!

Las Vegas Motor Speedway finally gives us a non-drafting race to preview. It’s a 1.5-mile tri-oval with 20 degrees of banking in the turns and about nine degrees on the front and backstretch. It was re-paved somewhere around 2006-2007 so while that may sound recent, the track surface is a little older. We’ve lost other tire wear tracks like “old” Atlanta and Auto Club in recent years. With each year tire management does play more of a role at Vegas. I wouldn’t say it’s high tire-wear like Darlington or Homestead. However, it’s fairly moderate. We will want to target multiple dominators for this race. With 267 laps there are roughly 175 dominator points available on DraftKings. As part of the Pennzoil 400 preview, here are the drivers I like early in the week!

Never played Fantasy NASCAR? Head on over to Fantrax and give one of our public leagues a go. Leagues are still filling up! There’s no better time than now to give it a try!

Pennzoil 400 Preview: The Top Picks

Kyle Larson (#5 Chevrolet)

I’m going to guess Larson initially saw the 2024 schedule and was none too pleased. Kicking the year off with two drafting races? A style of racing he despises? I can understand his frustration. However, he did lead seven laps at Daytona and finished 11th. Then he led 17 laps at Atlanta before wrecking. However, now we go to Vegas. Larson has loved this track especially in the NextGen car. In four races here since 2022, Larson has a win and two runner-up finishes while leading 223 laps across the last four races here. 133 of those came last October when he dominated and won here in the playoffs. Chevrolet has laid claim to the first two wins of the season and there’s good reason to believe they go three-for-three.

Denny Hamlin (#11 Toyota)

Hamlin, like Larson, is probably relieved to not have a drafting race this weekend. And Hamlin is a three-time winner of the Daytona 500 to his credit. But last year, few were better on intermediates than Denny Hamlin. He may have only finished 10th and 11th in both Vegas races in 2023. However, he was dominant in both Kansas races, winning the spring race while finishing second in the fall playoff race. He does have a win at Vegas on his resume and he is good enough to go out and dominate any given race. Drivers for Chevrolet will be popular this week, but Hamlin is always a threat on a track like this.

William Byron (#24 Chevrolet)

If Denny Hamlin was the best on intermediates last year, Byron was a close second. Truthfully, you can make a very strong argument that Byron was better. Byron crushed it in this race a year ago as he led off last October’s NASCAR Vegas Preview. He started P2, led 176 laps, and won the race. Byron would then go on to win at Darlington (high tire wear intermediate) and then again at Texas in the Fall (another intermediate). He also had strong runs at Dover, Kansas-1, Charlotte, and Homestead. With a driver rating of 115.18 at Vegas over the last two years, it’s no surprise he’ll be a top play for most of the DFS community.

Pennzoil 400 Preview: Wouldn’t Bet Against Them

Kyle Busch (#8 Chevrolet)

You can’t really talk Vegas without mentioning Kyle Busch. This is his home track after all. In six of his last seven races at Vegas, he’s finished sixth or better. More specifically, he has three top-four finishes in the in the NextGen car. 2023 was an odd season for Kyle Busch. It was his first year with Richard Childress Racing. He even won three races. But the team stumbled down the stretch. Across the final 17 races last year, he didn’t have any wins and only had five finishes in the top 10. But Vegas is where he loves to put on a show. He has just one win here in the Cup Series, but he did finish third here last fall. And in the first Vegas race in the NextGen car, he led 49 laps and finished third. I’ll never write him off at his home track.

Tyler Reddick (#45 Toyota)

It’s been a rough start to the 2024 season for Reddick. He wrecked in the Daytona 500 and was involved in the early chaos at Atlanta last week and he was never able to recover. Alas, we come to a track that caters more to his strengths. Reddick has three finishes in the top eight in four races at Vegas in the NextGen car. He even led 32 laps in the fall of 2022. In the NextGen era, Toyota has dominated at a track like Kansas. Kansas is a very close comparison to Vegas in terms of track type. Reddick just so happened to steal a win from Denny Hamlin at Kansas last fall. Moreover, Reddick also performed well at Charlotte and Darlington. Following a pair of bad outings to open the season, this is a tremendous spot for Reddick to bounce back.

Martin Truex Jr. (#19 Toyota)

I gave a lot of consideration to Bubba Wallace for this spot. Bubba has started the year with a pair of top-five finishes. He’s also won at Kansas in the NextGen car. But I’m going to lean to MTJ to spice things up this week. Truex had some misleading results on intermediates last year. But overall, he had speed on those tracks. He won at Dover, which may only be a one-mile track but races like an intermediate. Two weeks later, he led 145 laps at Darlington but wrecked late. Later in the year, he would finish top three at Charlotte, Pocono, and Michigan. Depending on where he qualifies, I may want to be overweight in terms of exposure. Most will think of him as a short, flat-track specialist. But there was speed in this 19-car on intermediates last year.

The Sleepers and Values

Alex Bowman (#48 Chevrolet)

We can never really write off Bowman in any setting. He’s in great equipment with Hendrick Motorsports. But he’s arguably their worst driver given the current state of things. And he’s suffered injuries each of the last two years that have cost him time in the car. However, he did win this race two years ago in the NextGen car. In this race a year ago, Bowman finished third behind teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson. Despite leading just two laps, Bowman had 28 fastest laps. Despite driving in dirty air, the car had plenty of speed. Bowman also doesn’t want to see his teammates getting all the glory. Conventional wisdom says Larson and Byron will be popular. Bowman is still a threat to “back into the win” as Denny Hamlin would say.

Ty Gibbs (#54 Toyota)

Ty Gibbs’ 2023 results don’t instill much confidence for this race. However, there are some things to consider. For starters, he’s still incredibly young. He possesses a lot of talent and potential. Many people believe he’ll get his first career win this season in the Cup Series. He finished 17th at Daytona but finished 10th at Atlanta last week. He raced here twice in the Xfinity Series, winning once and finishing third in the other. But he led 80 laps between both races and consistently ran in the top five. We want to be early to a breakout, which is why I’m intrigued by Gibbs. He’s in great equipment and we’ve already touched on two of his teammates for this Pennzoil 400 preview.

Noah Gragson (#10 Ford)

This is a complete shot in the dark. You can consider this more of a gut call. The new Ford body did make some changes so they can be more competitive on intermediates. So I’ll admit, I’m light on Fords in this article simply because of how they looked compared to the Chevys and Toyotas on intermediates. Who we like and dislike could change after qualifying anyway. Yet Gragson is interesting to me. First off, he’s a Vegas native. Like Kyle Busch, he loves putting on a show at this track. He never won here in the Xfinity Series, but in eight races at Vegas with Jr. Motorsports, he never finished worse than sixth. He was also better than most at managing his tires at Darlington and Homestead. I’m not saying this is a slam dunk by any means. But he’s certainly one to watch depending on qualifying.

Fantrax is one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites in the fantasy sports industry, and we’re not stopping any time soon. We are the most customizable, easy-to-use, and feature-rich platform in the industry, offering the greatest fantasy experience for your dynasty, keeper, redraft, and best ball leagues. Fantasy sports doesn’t sleep, and neither does Fantrax, with seasons running 365 days a year. Take your fantasy leagues to the next level now at!
Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.