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NASCAR DFS: New Hampshire 301 Post-Qualifying

NASCAR DFS Expert Brian Polking breaks down the top drivers to target on DraftKings now that qualifying is in the books!

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New Hampshire 301

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It has been a quiet stretch for six-time series champ Jimmie Johnson, but he reminded everyone that he is still a force to reckoned by grabbing the pole at New Hampshire International Speedway Friday afternoon. Johnson turned a lap of 133.971 mph in the final round of qualifying to secure the top spot for Sunday's New Hampshire 301.

He will be joined on the front row by defending race winner Kyle Busch, who was part of a strong showing from Joe Gibbs Racing. Martin Truex Jr., whose Furniture Row Racing team has a technical alliance with JGR, will start third, and Busch's teammate Denny Hamlin will start fifth. Kyle's older brother, Kurt Busch, was the other driver to claim a top-five starting spot.

Roush Fenway Racing was on the opposite end of the spectrum as all three drivers qualified outside the top 20. Subbing for the injured Dale Earnhardt Jr., Alex Bowman qualified 20th in the Hendrick Motorsports No. 88.

Eight drivers have gone on to win at New Hampshire after starting on the front row, and 23 of the 42 races have been won by a driver starting in the top 10. As tough as it can be to pass here, nine drivers have managed to win after qualifying outside the top 20. A big reason why is the importance of pit strategy and track position at New Hampshire.

History says at least a couple of drivers starting outside the top 20 will end up in the top 10, so while maximizing your points in the laps led and fastest laps run categories is a must, don't forget to scroll down the qualifying sheet to find a couple of drivers that could earn a lot of points in the place differential category.

With the starting lineup set, here is a closer look at some of my favorite DFS NASCAR options for Sunday's race. You can catch the New Hampshire 301 at 1:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Must-Own Drivers

Kevin Harvick ($10,700)

He has been a lap-leading machine at New Hampshire recently, tallying a series-best 379 in the last three races. He had two top-three finishes in that same stretch and was leading with two to go last fall when he ran out of gas. Harvick secured a top 10 spot during qualifying, so he is in prime position to add to his recent run of dominance at New Hampshire.

Kyle Busch ($10,500)

Busch won this race last year, and after grabbing a spot on the front row, he could end up back in victory lane this weekend. In his last six starts here, he has five top 10s, including four finishes of either first or second. He has also led more than 50 laps three times over the same span and ranks third in laps led at New Hampshire overall. Given his history of success here and his starting spot, Busch has to be on the short list of potential top fantasy scorers this weekend.

Jimmie Johnson ($9,700)

It has been a while since Johnson has dominated a race, but the three-time New Hampshire winner certainly can't be ignored after he grabbed the pole. His seven top 10s in the last ten races here are tied for the most of any driver, and he ranks first at the track in fastest laps run. Johnson could easily end up dominating the laps led and fastest laps run categories this weekend.

Value Plays

Matt Kenseth ($9,100)

Kenseth still isn't cheap by any means, but he is still substantially less than the top options. He has also been excellent in New Hampshire since joining Joe Gibbs Racing. He has five top 10s in six starts here with JGR, including a pair of wins. After qualifying 18th, Kenseth could top 50 fantasy points based on finishing position and place differential alone.

Ryan Newman ($7,700)

His tendency to qualify well usually kills his appeal, but Newman is a very attractive mid-priced play this weekend after qualifying 25th. He is a three-time winner at New Hampshire, and he has eight top 20s in his last ten starts here, including five straight. In fact, Newman finished 11th and 10th in two starts here last season. At worst, he should deliver a mid-pack finish and 30-plus fantasy points, and Newman could easily push for a top 15 and 40-plus points.

Jamie McMurray ($7,300)

McMurray will roll off 19th Sunday, and while the mid-pack starting spot clouds his value a bit, it could also make him a sneaky sleeper. He has finished 16th or better in five of his last six starts here, picking up a pair of top-five finishes. McMurray tends to have his best runs at flat tracks, and he has the chance to be a difference-maker for a lineup if he can challenge for a top 10.

Clint Bowyer ($7,000)

You never know exactly what you will get from Bowyer these days, but he is at least worth considering in GPPs this weekend after qualifying 32nd. After all, he is a two-time winner at New Hampshire, and he has finished 17th or better in six of his last eight starts here. If he flirts with the top 20, he will be well worth his price tag. If he cracks the top 15, he will be one of the steals of the weekend.

Greg Biffle ($6,600)

He is one of my favorite low-priced options this weekend in all formats. He qualified back in 28th, but he has cracked the top 20 in nine of his last 10 starts at New Hampshire. He also has three top five finishes during the same stretch, including a fourth-place run last fall. Biffle has a safe floor, and his poor starting spot bumps up his value because of his potential through place differential.

Trevor Bayne ($6,400)

Starting 31st, Bayne has almost nothing to lose and plenty to gain in the place differential category this weekend. He has finished 32nd and 16th in two previous starts at New Hampshire, and if he can just split the difference this weekend, he will provide a decent point total for a great price. He is a low-risk investment and an excellent cash game play.

Sleeper Special

Chris Buescher ($5,700)

There aren't any obvious choices when you dip below the $6,000 mark, but after qualifying 35th, Buescher is the driver starting the deepest in the field with a realistic shot at cracking the top 25. Granted, he is still a roll-of-the-dice play, but if you are looking for a serious source of cap relief, he is probably your best bet. I'd consider him in GPPs this weekend.

2016 New Hampshire 301 Starting Lineup

Pos

No.

Driver

Sponsor

Make

1

48

Jimmie Johnson

Lowe's

Chevrolet

2

18

Kyle Busch

Interstate Batteries

Toyota

3

78

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row

Toyota

4

41

Kurt Busch

Haas Automation/Monster Energy

Chevrolet

5

11

Denny Hamlin

FedEx Office

Toyota

6

22

Joey Logano

Shell-Pennzoil

Ford

7

24

Chase Elliott

NAPA Auto Parts

Chevrolet

8

4

Kevin Harvick

Jimmy John's

Chevrolet

9

2

Brad Keselowski

Miller Lite

Ford

10

47

AJ Allmendinger

Bush's Grillin' Beans

Chevrolet

11

5

Kasey Kahne

Quicken Loans

Chevrolet

12

14

Tony Stewart

Haas Automation

Chevrolet

13

19

Carl Edwards

Sport Clips

Toyota

14

21

Ryan Blaney

Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire + Auto Center

Ford

15

3

Austin Dillon

Dow - Olympic/USOC

Chevrolet

16

83

Matt DiBenedetto

Cosmo Motors

Toyota

17

42

Kyle Larson

Target

Chevrolet

18

20

Matt Kenseth

Dollar General

Toyota

19

1

Jamie McMurray

Credit One/CreditCards.com

Chevrolet

20

88

Alex Bowman

Nationwide

Chevrolet

21

13

Casey Mears

GEICO

Chevrolet

22

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Fastenal

Ford

23

23

David Ragan

Flaming Leprechaun

Toyota

24

27

Paul Menard

Dutch Boy/Menards

Chevrolet

25

31

Ryan Newman

Whelen

Chevrolet

26

43

Aric Almirola

Smithfield

Ford

27

95

Michael McDowell

Malwarebytes

Chevrolet

28

16

Greg Biffle

NESN Fuel

Ford

29

10

Danica Patrick

Nature’s Bakery

Chevrolet

30

38

Landon Cassill

MDS Transport

Ford

31

6

Trevor Bayne

AdvoCare

Ford

32

15

Clint Bowyer

5-Hour Energy

Chevrolet

33

44

Brian Scott

Shaw's

Ford

34

7

Regan Smith

APC

Chevrolet

35

34

Chris Buescher

CSX - Play It Safe

Ford

36

55

Reed Sorenson

VYDOX Plus

Chevrolet

37

46

Michael Annett

Pilot Flying J

Chevrolet

38

32

Eddie MacDonald

Bentley's Saloon

Ford

39

30

Josh Wise

Curtis Key Plumbing

Chevrolet

40

98

Ryan Ellis

Superlite Cars

Chevrolet


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