Martin Truex Jr. Fantasy NASCAR Picks
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is in the Bluegrass State this weekend for some more Saturday night racing. The Quaker State 400 is the lone event at Kentucky Speedway each year, and while this is another “cookie cutter” 1.5-mile track on the schedule, drivers will have something different to focus on conquering: turn 3. Kentucky Speedway re-paved this track in 2016 and also narrowed turns 1 and 2 while leaving turn 3 and 4 (and the bumps there) relatively untouched.

NASCAR went with another condensed schedule this weekend at Kentucky, holding two Cup Series practices on Friday followed by qualifying that evening. You can see the speeds from those practices here: Practice #1 – Happy Hour. With the practice charts being skewed because of only some cars being in qualifying trim, I’d also recommend reading our in-depth notes for each session, which ] can be found here: Practice #1 – Happy Hour. Martin Truex, Jr. is on the pole for this weekend’s race–his second in a row at Kentucky–and the full starting lineup for Saturday night’s Quaker State 400 can be found by clicking here.

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Final Top 25 Rankings for Kentucky

1. Martin Truex, Jr. – Starts 1st – DraftKings Price: $11,200 – FanDuel Price: $12,500
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**

Back at Chicagoland I thought that this #78 team might be approaching their 2017 levels of success on the 1.5-mile tracks, but starting back in 36th didn’t help prove that theory. Still, Truex had an average running position of 7th in that race and ended up finishing 4th, so he’s obviously not struggling by any means. Overall, Martin has an adjusted average finish of 3.4 on this track type in 2018, which is good enough for 3rd-best in the series behind Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch. Here at Kentucky, Truex is the most recent race winner and he has posted four top 10s in his seven career starts here. There’s no reason why he won’t challenge for at least a top 5 here on Saturday night. The #78 Toyota was 5th-fastest in Practice #1 on Friday and 14th-fastest in Happy Hour.

2. Kevin Harvick – Starts 3rd – DraftKings Price: $11,600 – FanDuel Price: $12,500
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**

If you take away Kevin Harvick’s 40th-place finish at Charlotte this year, his average finish on 1.5-mile tracks this season is borderline insane: 1.6. The other two races he didn’t win was Texas, where he finished 2nd, and Chicagoland, where he came home 3rd behind Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Overall, Harvick has led just under 33% of the laps on 1.5-mile tracks this year and has also grabbed over 20% of fastest laps. As far as Kentucky Speedway goes, though, Harvick hasn’t quite found the success we’ve come to expect: yeah, he’s finished 16th or better in all seven starts and has top 10s in each of the last five, but he’s never posted a top 5 finish here. That should change this weekend. The #4 Ford was 11th-fastest in Practice #1 on Friday and then had the 12th-fastest lap in Happy Hour. For what it’s worth, Martin Truex, Jr. never posted a top 5 here at Kentucky until last season, when he led over half the race and went to victory lane.

3. Kyle Busch – Starts 5th – DraftKings Price: $11,000 – FanDuel Price: $12,500
**Risk Factor: Low Risk**

At this point, Kyle Busch is replicating 2017 Martin Truex, Jr. when it comes to 1.5-mile tracks. This year, his average finish on them is 3.7–obviously the best in the series–and the #18 Toyota has led just over 30% of the laps. Rowdy has won the last two races on this track type (Chicagoland and Charlotte) and now comes into Kentucky Speedway, a track where he’s a two-time winner and has never finished worse than 12th in seven career starts. So, solid Fantasy NASCAR pick this weekend? That’s an understatement. Busch was 4th-fastest in Practice #1 here on Friday and then followed that up with the 3rd-fastest lap in Happy Hour later that day. Anything less than a top 3 finish on Saturday night would be a disappointment for this #18 team; they’re crushing it right now.

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