The drivers travel to beautiful Sonoma for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, the second road course of the season. Let’s take a look.
Last 10 Track Winners:
- 2021: Kyle Larson
- 2019: Martin Truex Jr.
- 2018 Martin Truex Jr.
- 2017 Kevin Harvick
- 2016: Tony Stewart
- 2015: Kyle Busch
- 2014: Carl Edwards
- 2013: Martin Truex Jr.
- 2012: Clint Bowyer
- 2011: Kurt Busch
Last 10 Track Winners by Model
- Toyota: 5
- Ford: 2
- Chevrolet: 1
- Dodge: 1
Toyota/Save Mart 350 Race Day Preview
Before getting too far into our Toyota/Save Mart 350 preview, here are a few thoughts about what we saw in St. Louis last weekend.
At one point, Ross Chastain looked like a teenager who was late for curfew, and Denny Hamlin was the father he was trying to sneak past. Regarding speed, the two cars appeared out for a Sunday drive after church, save for Hamlin threatening to turn the World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway into a deleted scene from Mad Max.
Chastain didn’t stop there. Around 40 laps after creating a new archnemesis for himself, the No. 1 car spun Chase Elliott, costing Bubba Wallace and Harrison Burton their positions. Around the 3:30 mark of this video, you can see how that worked out for him.
To his credit, Chastain did cut himself a nice-sized piece of humble pie in the post-race interview, but all the same, this dominated the Enjoy Illinois 300.
Whether any of this will have any impact on the Toyota/Save Mart 350 remains to be seen. I mean, really. Does Denny Hamlin every hold a grudge?
Sonoma Raceway looms for the first road course since Circuit of the Americas. Unlike that one, though, we have a long history to draw from for this race. Predicting road courses can often be easier because of the unique structures in which they take place. However, if “Blown Tire” were on the DFS list, that would be my top suggestion every week.
The following is an overview of drivers I look to roster in DFS and season-long formats at the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Fantasy Drivers: The Contenders
Martin Truex Jr. (#19 – Joe Gibbs Racing)
Truex has finished in the Top 10 in 11 of his previous 13 road races, and at Sonoma, his rating is 132.9 (out of a possible 150). He remains winless on the season, but his odds this week are the best they’ve been all year. Assuming sites will elevate his salary a bit, he is still worth building a roster around.
Kyle Busch (#18 – Joe Gibbs Racing)
On the final restart last week, Kyle and Joey Logano were in the front while Kurt Busch and Ryan Blaney were behind them. The younger brother didn’t get much of a boost from his family member, while the buddy cop duo ran it home. Yet again, the No. 18 car looked like the best car on the track and, with a rating of 115.8 at Sonoma, he should be highly rostered for the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Ryan Blaney (#12 – Team Penske)
Speaking of Blaney, he has some serious “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride” thing going on this season. He gave teammate Logano a perfect push to help the No. 22 car capture the win in overtime before returning home and staring at his closet filled with the suits he’s worn to others’ weddings while wondering when it would be his turn. Maybe in Sonoma, it will be.
Chase Elliott (#9 – Hendrick Motorsports)
Chase Elliott loves to drive on road courses to the tune of a 119.5 driver rating. In his last 13 road races, he has six wins and ten Top 10 finishes, with one DNF preventing his ratios from being even better. The only pause here is that his previous four races (excluding the All-Star Race) saw finishes of 21-33-23-29. Since none of those were road races, it is worth it to pay up for Chase on Sunday.
Fantasy Drivers: The Accelerators
Erik Jones (#43 – Petty GMS Motorsports)
Erik Jones is quietly having a good season, and road courses are his second-best track. Sonoma has been kind to him over the years, and he also qualifies a smidge low, allowing for great positional value. The announcers talk about Petty GMS Motorsports having a drought on wins, and I think Jones will have an excellent showing at the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
Alex Bowman (#48 – Hendrick Motorsports)
Bowman finished second at the Circuit of the Americas race in March, and he, too, traditionally performs highly on road courses. He finished ninth in Sonoma in 2021 and 2019, his previous two trips there. He’s been quiet lately, but he has finished in the Top 15 at every race except Darlington since his win in Vegas. He should be reasonably priced and a good addition to lineups on Sunday.
Joey Logano (#22 – Team Penske)
Logano joined the two-win club last week and now heads to a road course that, while not his ideal track, should still see him finish in a positive-points position. While his “accelerator” status is dependent on qualifiers, the No. 22 car is running well and could see a Top 10 finish this weekend.
Fantasy Drivers: The Brakes
Tyler Reddick (#8 – Richard Childress Racing)
Reddick remains an enigma this year. It always feels like he is in a great position heading into the race, and then it seems he is always headed to pit row at an inopportune time. While he sits in the middle of the pack of salaries, lately there have been drivers surrounding him who will benefit your DFS lineup more. And yes, a lot of this is also because he keeps qualifying in a very high position, compromising his fantasy value. I’ll be fading him for the Toyota / Save Mart 350.
I’ll be back Sunday morning to see whose value changed following Saturday’s qualifying races and another invite to a free FanDuel DFS contest. Thoughts? Opinions? Wondering how and why you should play NASCAR fantasy? Hit me up on Twitter at @thewonkypenguin.