NASCAR Picks for Sonoma
Kasey Kahne, #5 Farmers Insurance/Quaker State, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
He was horrible at Sonoma early in his career, but Kahne has turned a corner at the track in the last few years. He has a 9.0 average finish in his last five starts at the road course; during the stretch, he has three top-six finishes, including a win. Kahne still isn't the most consistent road racer overall, but he has some legit upside at Sonoma.
Brad Keselowski, #2 Miller Lite, Team Penske [Yahoo Class B]
He is quickly becoming a solid road course racer, but at this point, Watkins Glen is his much better track. Granted, he does have two top-12 finishes in his last three starts at Sonoma, but those numbers pale in comparison to his three straight second-place finishes at The Glen. Keselowski should have a shot at a top-10 this weekend, but he isn't a must-have option.
Brian Vickers, #55 Aaron's Dream Machine, Michael Waltrip Racing [Yahoo Class B]
While his starts at Sonoma haven't been consistent, his results certainly have. He has finished 16th or better in five of his last six starts at the track, including finishes of fourth and 13th in his last two starts. Look for Vickers to land somewhere in or around the top 15 yet again this weekend.
Ryan Newman, #31 Caterpillar, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
His numbers at Sonoma are solid, but Newman did a lot of his damage at the track early in his career. Overall, he has a 13.1 average finish in 12 starts at the road course, and he has only finished outside the top 20 once. On the flip side, Newman has only one top-15 in his last five starts at Sonoma, so expecting more than a top-20 could be a recipe for disappointment.
Matt Kenseth, #20 Husky/Dollar General, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class A]
Kenseth can do just about everything behind the wheel of a stock car, but road racing just isn't his forte. In 14 career starts at Sonoma, he has amassed a disappointing 20.7 average finish. Meanwhile, Kenseth has never recorded a top-five finish at the track, and he has managed just a single top-10. The best-case scenario is a top-15 finish.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., #88 National Guard/Diet Mountain Dew, Hendrick Motorsports [Yahoo Class A]
Sonoma has never been kind to Junior. In 14 starts at the road course, he has compiled a 21.5 average finish; worse yet, has never been able to crack the top 10. It is tough to justify taking a chance on him in any fantasy format. At the very least, he should be avoided in Yahoo! leagues.
Martin Truex, Jr., #78 Furniture Row, Furniture Row Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He came out of nowhere last year to win at Sonoma, but given his overall body of work at the track, a repeat performance could be hard to come by. After all, Truex still has a 19.1 average finish in eight starts at the road course. Meanwhile, the victory was his first top-five finish at Sonoma and only his second top-10. It might not be fair to call his win a fluke, but a wait-and-see approach is still probably the best strategy.
Kyle Larson, #42 Target, Chip Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class C]
There doesn't seem to be a track that this talented youngster can't handle. So although he is making his first road course start in the Cup Series this weekend, there is a pretty good chance Larson will more than hold his own. Granted, he is a complete unknown this weekend, but at the very least, he should sneak into the top 20.
Denny Hamlin, #11 FedEx, Joe Gibbs Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Hamlin has had horrible luck at Sonoma for most of his career (especially recently). He has a 22.9 average finish at the road course in eight career starts, and in his last four starts, he has an atrocious 32.3 average finish. Hamlin's best finish in the last four races at Sonoma is a 23rd-place run.
Jamie McMurray, #1 McDonald's/Cessna, Chip Ganassi Racing [Yahoo Class B]
He managed a second-place finish in just his second start at Sonoma, but unfortunately he hasn't done much at the track since. He has finished outside the top 10 in his last nine starts at the road course, including a 25th-place run last year. McMurray has managed seven top-20 finishes during the same stretch, but his lack of upside makes him better suited for deeper leagues only.
Paul Menard, #27 Menards, Richard Childress Racing [Yahoo Class B]
Although he is trending in the right direction at Sonoma, progress has been slow for Menard. He has three straight top-20 finishes at the track, including a career-best 14th-place run last year. Meanwhile, he hasn't finished worse than 22nd in his last five starts at the track. Menard's upside isn't outstanding, but he could chip in a top-20 finish.
Aric Almirola, #43 Smithfield Foods, Richard Petty Motorsports [Yahoo Class B]
He is still looking for a breakout performance at Sonoma. In three starts, he has a 25.3 average finish. Granted, he did finish a career-best 20th at the track last season, but given his overall mediocre results, another top-20 finish is probably the best-case scenario for Almirola this weekend.
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