Quaker State 400 Cheat Sheet

Dan Beaver
Rotoworld

As expected, last week was not a good one for the Cheat Sheet accuracy. Aero-restricted superspeedways are incredibly difficult to predict and the three races at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway this year have been the least accurate by a wide margin. Then again, the same was true last year – and in fact, the 2019 edition of the Coke Zero Sugar 400 was 3.5 positions better than in 2018.

Without the restricted tracks, the cheat sheet accuracy is better than six positions away from perfect on average. More importantly, several of the 1.5-mile tracks have featured some of our best predictions with Las Vegas Motor Speedway topping the chart at 3.62 away from perfect. Atlanta was also one of the more accurate races with a variance of about five.

1. Martin Truex Jr.
Truex has dominated this track in the past two years with a sweep of all four Stages and back-to-back race wins at Kentucky Speedway.

2. Joey Logano
Unless this team experiments wildly or makes a mistake in the pits, Logano should be an easy pick to score a top-five. His last two efforts on 1.5-milers ended in a second at Charlotte and third at Chicagoland.

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3. Brad Keselowski
With the exception of accidents in 2017 and 2013, Keselowski has been perfect at Kentucky. His three wins there lead the league.

4. Kyle Busch
Busch is not immune to trouble on the 1.5-mile tracks. Two of his last three attempts on these ended in results outside the top 20.

5. Kevin Harvick
This may be the week Harvick reverses his fortune. In eight attempts at Kentucky he has gotten progressively better and he scored his first top-five there last year.

6. Kyle Larson
Larson is one of quite a few drivers with back-to-back top-10s on this track, but he's still a risky proposition given the bad luck he's experienced in 2019.

7. Jimmie Johnson
It's time to go all in on Johnson. He is riding a four-race, top-10 streak on 1.5-mile courses with two of those landing in the top five. He might even be this week's surprise winner.

8. Chase Elliott
Elliott has been hit-or-miss on the 1.5-milers this year with two top-fives and a ninth balanced by three results outside the top 10. All six of his races on this track type ended in the top 20, however.

9. William Byron
Three of his last four attempts on this track type have ended in top-10s. Byron and the entire Hendrick organization are steadily improving on 1.5-mile tracks.

10. Alex Bowman
Bowman's first NASCAR win came two weeks ago at Chicagoland. Larson made him earn it by passing him in the final 10 laps before Bowman dug deep.

11. Ryan Blaney
We'd like to assure his fans that Blaney can earn a top-10 this week, but his sixth-place finish at Chicagoland is the first on a 1.5-miler this year and only his second top-15.

12. Aric Almirola
Almirola's eight-race streak of top-10s on 1.5-mile tracks ended with an 12th at Kansas and he has not been back inside the single digits since.

13. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
With a sweep of the top 20 on 1.5-milers and four results of 12th or better, Stenhouse could be one of this week's best values.

14. Kurt Busch
Busch entered Charlotte with a six-race streak of top-10s on 1.5-milers. He made a mistake that caused damage to his car and finished poorly, but rebounded partly with a 13th at Chicagoland.

15. Erik Jones
If one mentally subtracts his 40th-place finish in the Coke 600, Jones has a perfect record of top-15s on 1.5-milers; four of these were top-10s.

16. Denny Hamlin
Hamlin's win at Texas created a lot of interest in the No. 11 team, but his last three attempts on 1.5-milers ended 15th or worse.

17. Chris Buescher
Once upon a time, dark horses were rare on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks. This year, Buescher is one of several drivers with unexpected top-10s. He has three such finishes in six races.

18. Daniel Suarez
Before running into trouble at Chicagoland, Suarez had a perfect record of top-20s on the 1.5-mile tracks with a best of third at Texas.

19. Clint Bowyer
Bowyer got off to a solid start on 1.5-mile tracks with three top-fives in the first four races this year. His last two ended outside the top 20, however.

20. Ryan Newman
Newman scored only one top-10 on this track type last year in the second race at Vegas; he hasn't had another since with an average of 17.3 this season.

21. Paul Menard
Menard has equally split his time on the 1.5-milers with three top-15s and four results outside that mark. His worst finish was a 24th at Kansas; his best was a pair of 14ths - most recently at Charlotte.

22. Austin Dillon
It took a while, but Dillon finally got his first top-10 of the season on a 1.5-mile track two weeks ago at Chicagoland. He carried that momentum to Daytona and had a solid run before the 'Big One' crash.

23. Michael McDowell
McDowell has been coming into his own recently on the 1.5-milers with three top-25s and a 26th in his last four starts. He topped out with a 15th at Texas earlier this year.

24. Daniel Hemric
Hemric's last three races on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks ended in results of 18th through 21st. He should easily be this week's top rookie once again.

25. David Ragan
Ragan could be one of this week's most pleasant surprises. He finished 16th at Atlanta and 15th at Charlotte, which suggests the team may have something up their sleeve.

26. Corey LaJoie
LaJoie's 12th-place finish in the Coke 600 was aided by attrition, but all of his other efforts on the 1.5-milers ended in top-30s – including a very respectable 22nd at Kansas.

27. Bubba Wallace
Wallace has finished in a narrow range this season on the 1.5-mile tracks from 23rd to 29th. He should easily finish in that same ballpark at Kentucky.

28. Matt Tifft
Tifft has one top-20 on the similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks (at Charlotte) and he came close on another occasion with a 21st at Kansas. Watch him with interest in practice.

29. Ty Dillon
Dillon is on a pattern that - if it repeats - will land him in the top 25 this week. He's finished that well in alternating races at Atlanta, Texas, and Charlotte.

30. Ryan Preece
With three top-25s and a 28th in six races on this track type, Preece has been a predictable value that allows fantasy players the opportunity to slot him in the bottom positions of a roster.

31. Matt DiBenedetto
DiBenedetto has shown promise on several occasions on 1.5-mile tracks, but two of his last three efforts ended on the high side of the 30s.

32. Ross Chastain
In his first four starts on similarly-configured, 1.5-mile tracks, Chastain finished between 29th and 33rd. He was a much better value a couple of weeks ago with a 26th at Chicagoland.

33. Quin Houff
Last week's victory for this team at Daytona is a reminder that anything can happen at Daytona; Kentucky will be an entirely different story.

34. Landon Cassill
With a best finish of 30th in six 1.5-mile races this year, it is hard to imagine that Cassill is going to be of much use as a dark horse.

 

Drivers Most Accurately
Predicted This Year

 

Avg.
Difference

Times
Within 3

 

David Ragan

3.9

8

Landon Cassill

4.6

12

Martin Truex Jr.

4.7

8

Ty Dillon

5.3

9

Paul Menard

5.3

8

Matt Tifft

5.3

11

Ryan Newman

5.5

9

Kyle Busch

5.8

8

Kevin Harvick

6.2

9

Chris Buescher

6.2

8

 

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