Kyle Larson 2018 Fantasy NASCAR Preview Racing
Credit: Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Strengths – Kyle Larson is one of the premiere intermediate track performers in NASCAR. In 2018 he’ll compete for multiple wins and should always be on your short list of favorites at those venues. Larson is also extremely strong at flat tracks and short tracks.

Weaknesses – Road courses haven’t proven to be friendly to Kyle Larson as you’ll read below. Kyle Larson is also a streaky driver and when he’s in a “cold streak” watch out!

Track Type Fantasy Value Key = Elite > High > Medium-High > Medium > Low 

Intermediate Track Fantasy Value – Elite

Kyle Larson is an elite performer at intermediate tracks who should be very prominent on your fantasy NASCAR radar. On this track type he’s capable of winning at any venue. Last year at intermediate tracks over the 17 combined races he scored the 2nd most points, finished in the top five 65% percent of the time, in the top ten 76% percent of the time, had a 9.7 average finish and a 7.6 average running position.

At intermediate tracks one very notable strength for him is 2.0 mile ovals. At those venues he’s won the last four races and has a 1.4 average finish over the last 5 races.

In 2018 at intermediate tracks look for Larson to perform at an extremely high level and once again rank as one of the top drivers on this track type.

Flat Track Fantasy Value – Elite

Kyle Larson is a very strong performer at both the big flat tracks and the smaller flat tracks. Last year between the big flat tracks and the smaller flat tracks he scored the 5th most points. In the three prior seasons his points rankings were 6th, 12th and 4th, so it’s pretty clear he’s been good on a yearly basis at these venues.

Last year at the smaller flat tracks nobody was better than Larson. Over the six combined races at these venues he had 4 top two finishes, and a 4.2 average finish minus the fall Phoenix race (in a cold streak at that time and had problems). At Richmond in the fall he raced his way to victory lane.

At the bigger flat tracks he’s also an elite competitor. Last year at Indy he wrecked like everybody else, in the three races prior to that he finished between 5th to 9th. At Pocono he had problems last July, prior to that event his average finish there was 8.6.

Short Track Fantasy Value – High

Kyle Larson should be on your short list of favorites at Richmond and Bristol, at Martinsville he should be on your bench. If it wasn’t for Martinsville he would be an elite talent on this track type.

At Martinsville he’s showed promise at times but you can’t ignore his 23.6 average finish. A mid-teens finish for him would be a good result there. Last year he was uncompetitive in both races finishing 17th in the spring, and 37th in the fall. Performance wise in the fall he was about 20th place good until he had trouble.

At Bristol Kyle Larson will be a pre-race favorite. He’s been extremely competitive and has been knocking on the door to victory lane there. Last year he had results of 6th and 9th.

At Richmond, Larson won last fall and has a 10.4 average finish. In the spring he finished 14th but he was better than his result (was on old tires at the end). In fall 2016 he finished runner-up.

Restrictor Plate Track Fantasy Value – High

Kyle Larson has shown promise at plate tracks. Last year on this track type minus the summer Daytona race he had results of 12th, 12th and 13th. Those good results led to him scoring the 13th most points on this track type. In 2016 on this track type he scored the 7th most points.

In 2018 look for Larson to run well at these venues and show improvement as he’s becoming a more seasoned driver. I wouldn’t count him out of winning at one of these venues. He came close to winning last year’s Daytona 500 until he ran out of gas late.

At Daytona he’s been a quality performer recently. He crashed last summer but as you just read he nearly won the 2017 Daytona 500. In 2016 he had results of 6th and 7th. At Talladega over the last three races Larson has a 10.3 average finish. Last year he had results of 12th and 13th.

Road Course Track Fantasy Value – High

Kyle Larson doesn’t have a great track record at road courses, but I view him as a high-level talent. He’s shown promise many times but all to often he doesn’t have incident free races. Last year at road courses he finished in the twenties both races and scored the 20th most points. In 2016 he also scored the 20th most points. In the two prior seasons he scored the 13th and 14th most points.

Kyle Larson has proven himself to be a qualifying machine at road courses. At Sonoma his average starting position is 3.3, and at Watkins Glen over the last three races his average starting position is also 3.3. Over his 8 starts on this track type he’s only finished in the top ten once, and in the top fifteen 50% percent of the time.

Last year at road courses Larson was a qualifying machine starting on the front row both races (pole at Sonoma and 2nd at at Watkins Glen). Neither race went smoothly for him as his 23rd (Watkins Glen) and 26th (Sonoma) place finishes testify.

Last year at Sonoma, Larson had a number of on track run-ins with the competition that led to his poor result. In the two races at that west coast track prior to that he had results of 12th and 15th. At Watkins Glen last year Larson finished 23rd. In 2016 he was a top five contender but was spun when the finish line was in sight. In his two starts prior to that he finished 12th and 4th.

Next year on this track type I think he’ll contend for a top ten at all three road courses. His previous track record doesn’t say that but I fully expect to see him take the next level and show improvement in 2018.

Kyle Larson