Fantasy NASCAR Sleepers and Busts: Toyota/Save Mart 350

by Eric McClung on June 18, 2014 @ 06:09:18 PDT

 


Located in California's wine country, Sonoma Raceway is the first of only two road courses on the NASCAR Sprint Cup schedule. When compared to the other, Watkins Glen International, Sonoma is the more technical of the two. The track features several blind turns that are created by the changes in elevation over the hilly landscape of Sears Point. Pit strategy is huge, as there are a limited number of pit stops required to run the entire race. Look for some teams to short-pit to get off-sequence in hopes of turning it into an advantage later on.

A.J. Allmendinger, NASCAR
Fantasy stud? Ding Ding Ding

Practice sessions: Friday, June 20 at 3 p.m. EST, 6:30 p.m. EST
Qualifying: Saturday, June 21 at 1:40 p.m. EST
Race: Sunday, June 22 at 3 p.m. EST
Location: Sonoma, Calif.
Shape: Road course
Length: 1.99
Laps: 110
Turns: 10

Sleepers

Jeff Gordon | No. 24 Panasonic Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

Jimmie Johnson | No. 48 Lowe's Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

This pair of Hendrick drivers aren't sleepers in the true sense but could each be potential values this week because owners in allocation formats may shy away from using an elite oval driver on a road course like Sonoma. Gordon was last year's runner-up, extending his series-best streak of eight straight top-10s. Johnson owns five consecutive top-10s at the site and won back in 2010.

Clint Bowyer | No. 15 5-Hour Energy Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing

Bowyer won the 2012 race and has totaled five top-fives in eight career stats at Sonoma. Since finishing dead last at Richmond International Raceway with a mechanical failure, Bowyer owns an average finish of 11.3 over the last six races with a pair coming inside the top five. Bowyer is another bigger name that often isn't automatically associated with road courses but really should be.

Brian Vickers | No. 55 Aaron's Dream Machine Toyota | Michael Waltrip Racing

When it comes to racing at Sonoma, Vickers has found himself the last two years while driving for MWR. Despite starting outside of the top 20 for each event, Vickers placed a career-best fourth in the 2012 race. Last year, he was in the second position at the halfway mark but ended the day with a respectable 13th-place finish.

A.J. Allmendinger | No. 47 Kingsford-Clorox Chevrolet | JTG Daugherty Racing

Allmendinger didn't compete at Sonoma last year but had finished 13th or better in four previous starts. In 2011 he spent a career-best 68.2 percent of the race running in the top 15 and posted a similar 67.0 figure the following year. The Dinger hasn't suffered a DNF all season and has finished 23rd or better in four straight as an appealing lower-end option.

Busts

Dale Earnhardt Jr. | No. 88 Kelley Blue Book Chevrolet | Hendrick Motorsports

In 14 career starts at Sonoma, Earnhardt has yet to record a top-10 finish but does own six top-15s, including last year's 12th-place result. He's also experienced similar mediocrity in recent years at Watkins Glen. While Earnhardt is experiencing his best season since coming to HMS, this is not a track where history can be overlooked.

Kyle Busch | No. 18 M&M's Pretzel Toyota | Joe Gibbs Racing

Busch has yet to deliver at top-10 finish at Sonoma since winning back in 2008. He ran well in 2011 prior to placing 11th. Busch looked even better in 2012 but spun out in the late stages of the race. Last year, he got knocked around on two separate occasions and finished back in 35th. Busch is more than capable of winning again on a road course but hasn't been able to avoid trouble in recent years.

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About Eric McClung

Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.

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