The Checkered Flag – Big Machine Vodka 400 Optimal Drivers – FanDuel NASCAR


This week the Monster Energy Cup Series is in Indianapolis for the Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard. Rain washed out qualifying on Saturday and didn’t allow the drivers any practice time. The starting order will be determined by owner points with the exception of two drivers. Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez will have to go to the back of the field after failing pre race inspections. Their crew chiefs will also be suspended for the race due to the fact that both cars failed inspections at least three times. This could be a wild day as this is the last race before the field is set for the race for the chase. No qualifying, no practice and drivers that are desperate to get in the top 15 in points should make for an exciting day at the track. Let’s see what the DPA has for us.

Blue Chip Studs

Brad Keselowski | #2 | $11,700

Brad Keselowski and the #2 Discount Tire Team Penske Ford will start from the 6th starting position on Sunday. Keselowski finished in the second position here last year and held the lead for 23 laps. Keselowski has been coming on strong as of late and should be able to bring his Ford home with a strong finish.

Kyle Busch | #18 | $14,000

Kyle Busch and the #18 M&M’s Caramel Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will start from the pole on Sunday. Busch had the dominate car at last years race before getting caught up in a wreck. He led a race high 87 laps but could not finish any better than 34th. Busch won the previous two races in Indy and should be in the running once again.

Kevin Harvick | 4 | $13,700

Kevin Harvick and the #4 Jimmy John’s New 9-Grain Wheat Sub Stewart-Haas Racing Ford will start from the second starting position on Sunday. Harvick has been one of the big three all year and has shown the ability to compete for the checkers almost every week. Kevin Harvick finished 6th here last year but never led a lap and was never really a big threat to win. Harvick has won this race before, but that win came way back in 2003. The Stewart-Haas driver should be a strong contender to capture his second victory at the Brickyard and gain some valuable momentum heading into the playoffs.

Steady Eddies

Jimmy Johnson | #48 | $9,200

Johnson and the #48 Lowes for Pros Hendick Motorsports Chevrolet will start from the 14th position on Sunday. There is no other driver that has had the success that Johnson has had at Indy. Johnson has captured the checkered flag here 4 times and will be looking to do it once again as the series heads into the playoff push.

Chase Ellott | #9 | $11,200

Elliott and the #9 Napa Auto Parts Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet will roll off from the 11th starting position on Sunday. With his victory earlier this year, Elliott is locked into the playoffs and has nothing to lose on Sunday. Last year, engine trouble knocked him out of the race early as he finished next too last. Elliott should be a strong contender when the green flag drops and be around at the end to contend for the checkered flag.

Erik Jones | #20 | $10,200

Jones and the #20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota will start from the 13th starting position on Sunday. Jones, like Elliott is locked into the playoffs and has nothing to lose on Sunday. Last year,Jones led 10 laps before being involved in a crash that caused him to finish in the 31st position. Jones has been running well this season and is poised to make a strong run on Sunday.

Bargain Bin

Ryan Newman | #31 | $9,000

Newman and the #31 Grainger Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will start from the 17th starting position. Ryan Newman is desperate for a win as it looks like that will be the only way he will make the playoffs. Newman finished 3rd here last year and knows how to win in Indy as he won this race back in 2013. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Newman knows this is his last shot at making the playoffs..

Austin Dillon | #3 | $9,100

Dillon and the #3 Dow Molykote Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will start from the 18th starting position on Sunday. Dillon is locked into the playoffs courtesy of his win in Daytona back in February. He will have nothing to lose and should bring the iconic #3 home in a solid position.. Dillon finished 21st here last year.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. | #17 | $6,500

Stenhouse Jr. and the #17 John Deere Roush Fenway Racing Ford will start from the 16th position on Sunday. Stenhouse must gain one position in the points in order to get in the playoffs and Sunday is his last chance. The 30 year old driver has shown the abilty to run up front and the willingness to stick his car into places it doesn’t belong. I look for him to be aggressive on Sunday and either finish in the top 10 or go home behind a wrecker.

Bryan Holland is a senior NASCAR writer for Daily Play Action with many years of success in both GPPs and Cash Games on FanDuel. He reserves the right to change his plays at any time without notice and without discretion.