Brad Keselowski is on the pole for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301 on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN/NBC Sports App, PRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Does the 2012 champion merit a spot in your Fantasy Live lineup? We’ve dissected the numbers to offer a suggested lineup worthy of your Fantasy Live consideration.
RJ Kraft’s Fantasy Live lineup for race day at New Hampshire:
1. Brad Keselowski
2. Kyle Busch
3. Martin Truex Jr.
4. Erik Jones
5. Ryan Blaney
Garage: Kurt Busch
Analysis: Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Truex have been pretty strong here in recent years. That trio anchored my initial lineup and I’ve seen nothing to move away from that. Jones and Blaney have been particularly impressive this weekend — each topping the second and third practices (as well as the 10-lap board in those sessions), respectively. Jones is in a great spot for stage points and Blaney has been a bit under the radar after a quiet two months or so.
My garage pick is going to be a move to ride the hot hand of Kurt Busch. He won last week, qualified third, had the seventh-best 10-lap average in final practice and helps me break up my glut of Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske cars. With only two uses left (and waiting to make sure I have him for Bristol), we’ll start him in the garage. But if he uses his starting spot to score some stage points, I’ll evaluate where he stacks up against the rest of my lineup around the end of Stage 2.
My other garage considerations were Aric Almirola, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Kyle Larson. I stayed away from those coming from the back — mainly because this is a shorter race so I feel like a start at the back is a huge disadvantage for Stage 1 stage points. Of the group coming from the back due to practice or qualifying incidents — Denny Hamlin, Ryan Newman, Alex Bowman, William Byron and Larson — Larson would be my pick to play from that group. I’m holding Kevin Harvick back at two uses left — earmarked for Michigan and Darlington. I’m going with Keselowski in Stage 1 followed by Kyle Busch in Stage 2 and for the win.
Each week in this space, we’ll also highlight two Props Challenge items for players.
1. O/U 138.5 total points for Hendrick Motorsports. Maybe this seems like low hanging fruit given that two of their four-car group will be coming from the back — Byron and Bowman, but they seem a little down on speed as an organization at New Hampshire compared to others. With two in the back, that in theory limits how much Hendrick can get in stage points and for this number to be hit, someone would likely have to strike big in stage points. Chase Elliott — starting 12th could — he did last year, but I’m playing the odds that this is a no, so UNDER for me on this one.
2. Kyle Larson’s career average finish at New Hampshire is 10.7. Does he finish in the top 10? Larson has top-10 speed based on final practice, but he will be coming from the back. I like the three runner-up finishes he has had here and I also like the recent strong runs he has had this season, so I’m saying YES to a top 10.