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Brad Keselowski
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NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

South Point 400 Cheat Sheet

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: September 11, 2019, 4:16 pm ET

The regular season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway undoubtedly busted quite a few rosters. With marquee drivers like Kyle Busch, Erik Jones, and Brad Keselowski retiring early and several other mid-pack runners sustaining damage, it allowed some of the bottom-ranked drivers to finish much better than anticipated.

This week, players get a chance to start over and make a run for the playoff championship.

The result of the chaos in the Brickyard 400 was one of the worst averages for the Cheat Sheets this year, but that is going to happen from time to time. The exact same thing happened in last year’s edition of the South Point 400 as many of the playoff contenders pushed a little too hard in order to get a good start on the final 10 races of 2018.

By comparison, this spring’s Pennzoil 400 was the best showing of the Cheat Sheets in the past two years with an average difference of 3.62 positions from our prediction. Hopefully last year’s South Point 400 made an impression on the drivers and they will race within their comfort zones. If that happens, the top 10 this week will be swept by playoff contenders.


1. Brad Keselowski
With four results outside the top 25, Keselowski got off to a slow start at Vegas in his career. Since then, he has three wins, two more top-threes, and a streak of eight races with results of seventh or better.

2. Joey Logano
His win in the Pennzoil 400 this spring was one of three top-three finish on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks in 2019. His most recent effort netted a seventh at Kentucky. Just as important, he has a current seven-race streak of top-10s at Vegas.

3. Kevin Harvick
Harvick's crash in last year's edition of the South Point 400 is still fresh in our minds, but so is his win last spring and fourth-place finish earlier this year.

4. Kyle Larson
Larson was a big disappointment this spring with his 12th-place finish in the Pennzoil 400, but since that came on the heels of three straight top-three finishes, we are handicapping him well up the order.

5. Kyle Busch
Vegas has not always been Busch's best course despite the fact that it is his hometown. Still, he has three top-fives and a seventh in his last five races there.

6. Ryan Blaney
We had high expectations for Blaney in this spring's Pennzoil 400 and were disappointed by his 22nd-place finish. We're back on his bandwagon this week, however, because he has four top-seven results in his last five Vegas attempts.

7. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin's hot streak could cool off this week. At Vegas, he has earned only one top-five since the 2012 season and three of his last five attempts landed outside the top 15.

8. Erik Jones
Before he became collateral damage in Harvick's crash in this race last year, Jones was one of the fastest drivers on the track. The remainder of his Vegas attempts has been in the top-15.

9. Martin Truex Jr.
Despite a generally strong Vegas record, we're not ready to go all in on Truex because of his three sub-10th-place results in the last three races of the regular season.

10. Chase Elliott
Elliott has two top-fives and a ninth in his last six attempts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, but the remainder has been in the teens. Look for another finish on the cusp of the top 10.

11. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
This will be a golden opportunity to sneak up on the competition because Stenhouse has finished 16th or better in his last six attempts on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks.

12. Kurt Busch
To say Busch's fifth-place finish at Vegas this spring was a surprise is a huge understatement because it was only his second top-five and fifth top-10 in 19 attempts.

13. Jimmie Johnson
Johnson will have only one thing on his mind for the remainder of the 2019 season and that is to challenge for top-10s and maybe get into a position where he can play the role of spoiler with a win.

14. Aric Almirola
Before finishing 12th at Kansas this spring, Almirola had an eight-race, top-10 streak going on this course type. He's slowly slipped down the order on the 1.5-milers since then, however.

15. Chris Buescher
Buescher has four top-10s in seven starts on this track type including three of the last four. His practice and qualification results are going to be very important.

16. Clint Bowyer
A couple of weeks ago we would not have valued Bowyer very highly in the playoff opener, but he ended the regular season with three top-10s and has four results of sixth or better on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks in 2019.

17. Alex Bowman
When Bowman won his first Cup race at Chicagoland, it was his third straight top-10 on this course type. He's fallen on hard times since then and struggles to keep the top 10 in sight.

18. Daniel Suarez
There is likely to be a period in which Suarez drives with even more focus as he attempts to prove he should rightly be in the playoffs.

19. William Byron
It is going to take a few weeks to determine how Byron will fare in his first playoff. On similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, he has three top-10s and four results of 16th to 20th in seven races.

20. Ryan Newman
A lot of emotional energy was expended by Newman in the final regular season races. That could cost him in the playoff opener.

21. Matt DiBenedetto
With this week's announcement that he will drive the Wood Brothers No. 21 next year, DiBenedetto will enter the weekend with a lot of enthusiasm.

22. Paul Menard
Menard's announcement that he would retire comes after he scored back-to-back top-10s for the second time since the middle of the 2014 season.

23. Austin Dillon
Dillon has been all over the board on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year with results ranging from 10th at Chicagoland to 35 at Kentucky.

24. Michael McDowell
With a low salary cap in the $6k range in Draft Kings, McDowell should be one of the more popular picks since his last five races on this track type ended in results of 26th or better.

25. Daniel Hemric
If not for a 33rd in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas, Hemric would have a perfect record of top-25s on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks and that is acceptable for a rookie contender.

26. Bubba Wallace
Wallace will still be riding high from last week's top-five at Indy. In his last 10 similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track efforts, he's finished solidly in the 20s.

27. David Ragan
Fantasy players who don't mind gambling could get lucky with Ragan: he finished 16th at Atlanta and 15th at Charlotte earlier this season.

28. Corey LaJoie
LaJoie has a knack for surprising fantasy owners. Last week's 19th-place finish at Indy is one of 10 top-25s this season that includes a 12th in the Coke 600.

29. Matt Tifft
Tifft could be a driver to watch this week with three top-25s and a virtual sweep of the top 30 on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. If he practices well, he could be a solid dark horse.

30. Ryan Preece
Five of Preece's seven races on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks ended in the 20s. If not for crash damage at Atlanta and Charlotte, he would likely have a perfect record in that regard.

31. Ty Dillon
Dillon finished 24th at Vegas last year and fell 10 spots to 34th in the South Point 400. He split the difference this spring and finished 29th.

32. Ross Chastain
Chastain has been a solid value on a number of occasions this year, but only one of those came on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks when he finished 26th at Chicagoland.

33. Landon Cassill
With a best of 30th at Texas this spring and a worse of 37th at Kansas and Charlotte, Cassill has been fairly consistent on this track type. He's just not been terribly fast on a course that requires the complete package.

34. Reed Sorenson
Sorenson has made all but two of the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile track races this year with a best of 30th in the Coke 600.

35. Joey Gase
Gase has made three starts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks this year with a best of 32nd at Charlotte. That race had a lot of attrition. His other two efforts landed 38th.

36. Joe Nemechek
Nemechek has not made a start at Vegas since 2013 when he finished 40th, but a couple of weeks ago he was the 27th-best value in the Draft Kings game at Darlington with 19.5 points.

Rick Ware Racing has three cars entered this week, but as of this writing no drivers have been named.

 

Drivers Most Accurately
Predicted This Year

 

Avg.
Difference

Times Within 3

 

Landon Cassill

4.7

14

Matt Tifft

4.9

14

David Ragan

4.9

10

Martin Truex Jr.

5.4

11

Ty Dillon

5.7

12

Paul Menard

5.9

10

Ryan Newman

6.1

10

Denny Hamlin

6.3

17

Chris Buescher

6.4

8

Kyle Busch

6.7

11

 

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 15 years with a little help from his >600,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.