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NASCAR DFS: Axalta 400 Post-Qualifying

Fantasy NASCAR Expert Brian Polking points out the top drivers to target on DraftKings following qualifying!

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Axalta 400

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Qualifying at Pocono Raceway is in the books, and it was a great afternoon for Team Penske. Brad Keselowski claimed the pole for Sunday's Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 with a lap of 181.726 mph, and his teammate, Joey Logano, will join him on the front row.

Matt Kenseth qualified third; Kevin Harvick will start fourth, and Carl Edwards rounded out the top five. Overall, qualifying was kind to former Pocono winners. Harvick and Kyle Busch are the only drivers starting in the top 12 that haven’t won at the track, and seven of the drivers that made the final round of qualifying have multiple wins here.

At a track where passing is notoriously difficult, it should come as no surprise that a large majority of the winners tend to start up front. Of the 76 races at Pocono, 54 have been won from a top 10 starting spot, including 24 from the front row. On the flip side, only five drivers have won here after qualifying outside the top 20.

Of course, drivers starting deeper in the field can be some of the most valuable at DraftKings, and with the starting lineup for Sunday's race now set, it is time to take a look at the drivers that saw their value spike after qualifying.

Must-Own Drivers

Kevin Harvick ($10,400)

Harvick led the second-most laps and posted a race-high 54 fastest laps run at Pocono last June, and he was on his way to a repeat performance in August when he blew an engine while leading. Starting fourth, Harvick is in a great position to pile up plenty of points in both categories again this weekend.

Joey Logano ($10,000)

He dominated at Pocono last August, leading a race-high 97 laps before running out of gas in the closing laps. Logano has also led the second-most laps at Pocono over the last ten races, leading at least 30 laps on four different occasions. After grabbing a spot on the front row, another dominant showing could be on tap.

Brad Keselowski ($9,100)

Keselowski was already underpriced, and he could be an even bigger steal after claiming the pole for Sunday's race. He is a former winner at Pocono, and he ranks fourth in laps led during the last ten races here. Keselowski has five finishes of sixth or better during the same stretch, including a win in 2011 and a second-place run last fall.

Value Plays

Kyle Larson ($8,700)

Larson will start 21st Sunday, but in four starts at Pocono, he has never finished worse than 12th. Overall, he owns a series-leading 9.0 average finish at the track, and the fact he has been running well in recent weeks doesn't hurt his value either. With plenty of points available through place differential and the potential to run in the top five, Larson's upside is enormous.

Jamie McMurray ($7,700)

He has quietly been one of the most consistent drivers at Pocono recently, and McMurray has finished 17th or better in eight straight starts here, logging three top 10s in his last four starts. He qualified 26th, so a place differential of +10 or greater and around 40 fantasy points is well within his reach.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,200)

His numbers at Pocono leave a lot be desired, but Stenhouse has been enjoying the best season of his career. He has an 18.0 average finish in 2016, and starting 25th; he only needs to crack the top 20 to make a run at 30-plus fantasy points.

Ryan Newman ($7,100)

Newman has been the model of consistency at Pocono, logging seven top 10s in the last ten races and 13 top 15s in the last 15 races. He qualified back in 22nd, making him all but a lock to finish with a positive place differential. He should be one of the safest sources of cap relief, and his ceiling isn't bad either.

A.J. Allmendinger ($6,800)

His overall record at Pocono isn't pretty, but Allmendinger did manage to finish a career-best seventh at the track last August. More importantly, he qualified 32nd, so he has a lot to lose and plenty to gain through place differential. He could end up being an absolute steal at this price.

Sleeper Special

Danica Patrick ($6,200)

Patrick broke through at Pocono last August, logging a career-best 16th-place finish. She qualified a dismal 33rd, so she has a legit shot at 10-plus bonus points through place differential. Patrick should be a cheap source of around 30 fantasy points.

Ty Dillon ($6,000)

Fantasy owners had to be crossing their fingers that Dillon had a lackluster qualifying effort, and he did just that. He will start 28th, and in his only other Cup start at Pocono, he started 29th and finished 18th. Expect a similar run up into the top 20 this Sunday, making Dillon a must-own option in cash games.

2016 Axalta "We Paint Winners" 400 Starting Lineup

Pos

No.

Driver

Sponsor

Make

1

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Ford

2

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

3

20

Matt Kenseth

Dollar General

Toyota

4

4

Kevin Harvick

Jimmy John's

Chevrolet

5

19

Carl Edwards

ARRIS

Toyota

6

14

Tony Stewart

Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats

Chevrolet

7

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe's

Chevrolet

8

88

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Axalta

Chevrolet

9

41

Kurt Busch

Monster Energy/Haas Automation

Chevrolet

10

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx Ground

Toyota

11

5

Kasey Kahne

Farmers Insurance

Chevrolet

12

18

Kyle Busch

M&M's 75 Anniversary

Toyota

13

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA Auto Parts

Chevrolet

14

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center

Ford

15

16

Greg Biffle

Ford EcoBoost

Ford

16

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield

Ford

17

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row

Toyota

18

34

Chris Buescher

Dockside Logistics

Ford

19

3

Austin Dillon

Dow

Chevrolet

20

27

Paul Menard

Richmond/Menards

Chevrolet

21

42

Kyle Larson

Target

Chevrolet

22

31

Ryan Newman

Kalahari Resorts

Chevrolet

23

15

Clint Bowyer

Visine

Chevrolet

24

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

25

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Sunny D

Ford

26

1

Jamie McMurray

Cessna

Chevrolet

27

83

Matt DiBenedetto

E.J. Wade Construction

Toyota

28

95

Ty Dillon

BVT/Blake's Snow Shack

Chevrolet

29

13

Casey Mears

GEICO

Chevrolet

30

44

Brian Scott

Medallion Bank

Ford

31

38

Landon Cassill

MDS Transport

Ford

32

47

AJ Allmendinger

Bush's Grillin' Beans

Chevrolet

33

10

Danica Patrick

Nature’s Bakery

Chevrolet

34

23

David Ragan

Dr. Pepper

Toyota

35

7

Regan Smith

APC

Chevrolet

36

46

Michael Annett

Allstate Peterbuilt

Chevrolet

37

55

Cole Whitt

VYDOX Plus

Chevrolet

38

30

Josh Wise

Curtis Key Plumbing

Chevrolet

39

32

Jeb Burton

Go FAS Racing

Ford

40

98

Reed Sorenson

Hilton Scranton & Conference Center

Chevrolet


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