FREE NASCAR DFS New Hampshire Cup Series Breakdown, Cheat Sheet and Core Plays

Welcome to Run Pure Sports’ FREE NASCAR DFS breakdown of today’s Cup Series race from the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. New Hampshire is not one of my favorite tracks on the circuit. Over the years, the racing here has had a reputation for being less than spectacular from an entertainment standpoint. However, one thing it indisputably has going for it is the rather unique trophy awarded to the winner: a giant, 20-pound live lobster! This unfortunate crustacean is handed over in victory lane and later taken to a local restaurant, where it’s cooked to perfection for the driver and team to enjoy. Name a butter trophy in sports?

Our lobster friend will feel right at home in victory lane this weekend as there’s a flood watch in the area where the race track is located. As is often the case when NASCAR is in town, rain is forecasted throughout the entire day. This could potentially mean we’re more likely to see racing action tomorrow than today. Draftkings will likely still lock in today, so if you’re not a fan of having your funds tied up for 24 hours or more, you might want to consider passing on playing this weekend.

Interestingly, NASCAR does have rain tires and theoretically could race on a wet track today if conditions lighten enough for them to do so. But be warned: if this happens, the resulting race would likely be chaos. Everything in this article would essentially need to be scrapped, you’d want to fade all the chalk, and cross your fingers that your chosen drivers make it to the finish. It might not be smooth sailing, but it’ll certainly be an adventure. So strap in, hope that NASCAR uses some sense, and let’s see what NHMS has in store for us this weekend!

Breakdown

When seeking tracks comparable to New Hampshire Motor Speedway, we would typically gravitate towards the other short flat tracks such as Phoenix, Richmond, and Gateway. However, it’s crucial to remember that Gateway is slightly bigger and utilized a completely different package this year, so we must exercise caution when extrapolating too much from that race. NASCAR is also bringing a new tire to today’s race that is supposed to provide more fall-off, so we don’t the luxury of keying in on other races on this tire code today.

One valuable data set we can leverage today is practice data. When considering this data, we need to be aware of the discrepancies between the two different groups. Group A was significantly faster than Group B, which can lead to some times appearing better than others and vice versa. It’s essential to take this into account when interpreting practice data today.

As a short, flat track, today’s race is expected to have many parallels with other short flat track races in this package. One of which is passing here will likely be very challenging, amplifying the importance of track position. This factor will be instrumental and potentially the key difference in drivers scoring well on DraftKings on race day. Anticipate a track where strategy, precision, and maintaining a favorable track position will be paramount for success.

A deep dive into DraftKings scoring in the last four races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway reveals quite the opposite of what we observed last week at Atlanta where the “stack the back” strategy was prevalent. Remarkably, 78% of the Top 8 scorers in those races originated from drivers starting within the front half of the field.

The inherent nature of this race—marked by long green flag runs, minimal cautions, and notable difficulties in passing—makes scoring position differential points quite uncommon. In fact, in those four races, only three drivers managed to score more than 20 position differential points. In general, the bulk of PD scored here is in the 10 – 20 positions gained range as we have seen drivers accomplish that feat 17 times in those 4 races. 13 of those 17 performances landed in the Top 10 of DK scoring.

The focus for this 300-lap race should primarily be on dominator points. Over the past four races at NHMS, ten drivers have scored more than 20 dominator points, with each of them securing a spot within the top four in DraftKings scoring. Further examination shows that drivers starting 14th or better accounted for nine of those ten dominator performances, while the top five starters were responsible for half. In addition, the top five starters accounted for eight of the top thirteen dominator performances in those races, amassing almost 50% of the total dominator points.

When constructing your line-ups this week, start by selecting 2-3 potential dominators who are starting towards the front of the field. Then, aim to target drivers in the 10-20 start range for position differential and value. Be cautious with value plays starting at the back, as a lengthy green flag run could see them a lap down early. However, this risk could be minimized if the race takes place on Monday, where we’re likely to see a competition caution in stage 1.

Cheat Sheet

Below, you’ll find my cheat sheet for today’s Cup Series race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The cheat sheet presents two distinctive sets of data. As you scan from left to right, the first dataset you encounter covers this year’s races at Phoenix, Gateway and Richmond. The second dataset is an average from the previous four races held at NHMS. Choosing drivers based on track history at NHMS is key to success, and I lean towards more recent track performance for a better prediction.

The cheat sheet also incorporates data from yesterday’s practice session. Remember, Group A was notably faster than Group B, which is something to consider when reviewing the practice data. For easy identification, I’ve highlighted the Salary and Start Position columns in blue for those drivers who were part of the faster Group A in practice. Lastly, I’ve marked drivers I’m keen on today in green, and I’ve used purple to highlight those drivers who could be lower-owned but have potential, making them ideal targets for GPP contests

Core Plays

Favorite Dominators

For me it comes down to two guys at the top of the starting grid as dominator 1A and 1B today. Both Truex and Bell from JGR are the clear cut favorites to dominate and win today. Truex is having a resurgence this season with 2 wins already as well as an exhibition win on a short flat track at the coliseum to start the year. He had the fastest car in this race last year racking up 48 fast laps while leading 172 laps. Looked to have a ton of speed again in practice yesterday and he starts on the front row. Last year’s winner though was Christopher Bell. No one has had more of knack for NHMS than Bell has in his short career. He has 8 career races at NHMS between the 3 NASCAR series, he has 5 wins in those 8 races and has only finished worse than 2nd once. He won all 3 races he ran here in the Xfinity series while leading over 70% of the laps in those races. As if he wasn’t already good enough here, he was also one of the 3 drivers who got to tire test here earlier this year for Goodyear. Odds are you are going to need one of these JGR drivers in your line up today, might even be a solid approach to play them together.

When coming to a short flat track, you have to pay attention to SHR, and more specifically, you HAVE to pay attention to Kevin Harvick. When it comes specifically to New Hampshire, Kevin Harvick has 4 career wins and has finished inside the Top 4 in DK scoring in 5 straight races here. He has done this while bucking the the top 10 starter trend I mentioned earlier as 4 out of those 5 performances came while starting 10th or worse. That includes last year’s performance where he started 10th, finished 5th, and put up 34 fast laps without ever leading a lap. He starts 13th today. So far in 2023 on short flats, Harvick boasts the 2nd best Avg. finish with two Top 5s. He is also 4th in Avg position and FL %. Best race of the year for Harvick came at Phoenix where he charged late to contend for the win and put up close to 50 fast laps.

Dominator Pivots

A lot of steam has been generated this week over the JGR teammates of Martin Truex and Christopher Bell, justifiably of course. But, if your looking to be different you can look to their team mate Denny Hamlin. Hamlin has been the best JGR driver on the short flat tracks this year, leading his team mates in every meaningful statistical category outside of average finish. Same can be said if you are looking at recent history at NHMS AND he’s finished inside the Top 5 in DK scoring in 3 of the last 4 NHMS races. It’s true, Hamlin has struggled to finish on the short flats this season with 2/3 finishes outside the Top 20, But despite that, he still has the 2nd best average running position and the 4th best fast lap % behind only the 3 race winners on short flats this year, Larson, Byron and Busch. I mentioned earlier that there has been only 1 performance of 20+ dominator points in the last 4 races here from a driver starting further back than 14th, that performance was by Hamlin in 2019 when he started 23rd and proceeded to put up 55 Dom points in route to a 2nd place finish.

Blaney is another driver who has dominator upside today that you can pivot to that will likely be much lower owned then the other 4 mentioned here. Penske generally always brings competitive cars to these short flats and judging by P&Q they seem to be hooked up again this weekend. I really like that Blaney’s car seemed t get better longer into a run in practice. He does have the 6th best fast lap % in our short flat sample as well as the 4th best laps led %. He put up 70 DK points 2 years ago here in 2021 after starting 7th and leading 64 laps.

Favorite Mid Tier

Ross Chastain is a great PD option today for only $8800. A ton of upside here for a guy that has back to back 8th place finishes here. He has done so while qualifying 18th and 20th in both those races, showing he knows how to navigate through the field. He does have a lot more work cut out for him today though starting 31st and he has finished outside the top 20 in 2/3 short flat track races this season. He is likely going to be very popular today and one can make a case for pivoting off Ross here based off his struggles finishing this year along with the how difficult it is to move through the field here. Needs to finish 14th or better for 5x value

I know we are not looking to really chase PD today but Ty Gibbs seems like a virtual lock from 36th start position. He put down a terrible lap in qualifying but we know that JGR brings great cars to NHMS and Ty looked to have a solid car in practice boasting a top 15 5 lap average while being in the slower group in practice with worse track conditions. Great price and great upside here for Ty.

Chris Buescher will be another popular PD option on the slate today starting from P26. RFK racing has shown solid speed on short flats this season and Buescher has 2 Top 15 finishes on short flats this season, which is right around his average running position in this race last year. A 15th place finish today out of Buescher would deliver 39 DK points for a 5.4 x return on value.

Mid Tier Pivots

Brad Keselowski can serve as a nice pivot option off some the chalkier plays in this range today. He showed speed in practice, more importantly though is his speed got better has he ran. New Hampshire has always been a track that Kes has been great at with 2 wins, and 15 Top 10’s in 22 career starts here. The mass of that success came in a Penske car, but he still managed to put up a 7th place finish in this ride here last year despite having issues. He also had an Avg. Pos. of 6.3 at Phoenix this year before settling for an 18th place finish.

The 2021 race winner, Aric Almirola also makes a great mid tier pivot this weekend. This is easily Aric’s best track and he always seems to find himself in contention here. Love that he starts with the track position towards the front of the field. He could surprise some people and find his way to the front to score some Dom points, which makes him a pivot that shares similar upside to the PD plays around him, at what will likely be a much lower ownership.

Sticking in the SHR stable with my next mid tier pivot and I’m going with another guy that we have been targeting all year on the short flat tracks, Ryan Preece. Preece has finished inside the Top 18 in all 3 short flat races this year. His average finish of 15.67 is 12th best, and that is despite being tied for the 3rd worst Avg. start position. He’s been a solid source of PD on this track type so far this year and should be a sneaky option for some PD upside today.

Favorite Value

Todd Gilliland getting mad disrespect on his pricing this week from Draftkings at only $4800. Todd is having a solid year with 3 Top 10’s and 10 Top 20 finishes so far in 2023. Like his teammate McDowell, he has been much improved on short flat tracks in 2023. He has 2, 15th place finishes in both his short flat track races in this 38 car in 2023. His only dog shit run came in the RWR car at Phoenix. Outside of that race, he has an average running position of 21.3, better than anyone else priced $6700 or lower outside of his teammate Mcdowell. Super cheap option that allows you to fit in the big guys up top, start position will likely keep ownership down as well.

McDowell is going to be a popular value option this week. When you look at performances on short flats in this range no ones stats come close to what McDowell has done. 2 Top 10s and 3 finishes inside the Top 13 already for McDowell. Not historically a great track for McDowell, but he does have 2 Top 20’s in 5 starts here in this 34 car. He put down some rocket fast laps in practice, but keep in mind that he did so in the fast A group.  I should also point out that he qualified 15th in this race last year before falling like a rock once the green flag waved.

Erik Jones is also in play as a value option today and he provides some PD and security with his 30th start position. Despite his struggles this season, he did finish 21st at PHX earlier this season and more recently, he finished 18th at Gateway after starting 31st. He also has back to back finishes of 19th at NHMS driving this #43 car. He only needs to finish 20th to return 5x value at this price tag.

Value Pivot

My low owned pivot option in the value range is going to be Harrison Burton starting 28th. Burton finished 19th earlier this year at Richmond after starting 26th and he finished 23rd at Phoenix after having ran inside the Top 20 for much of the day. He also has the best Avg pos on short flats this of anyone priced below $6k outside of McDowell. Not a ton of upside here out of Burton, but he only needs to finish 21st to return 5x value, and he could end up as the preferred value option by default if some of the chalkier options starting in front of him bust.

Core

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