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Ty Gibbs
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

Verizon 200 Cheat Sheet

by Dan Beaver
Updated On: July 27, 2022, 6:30 pm ET

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When we first saw the 2022 schedule, we weren't entirely sure what the method was to the madness of putting four road courses in the span of 10 races near the end of the regular season.

Even after Ross Chastain scored his first Cup victory at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), it seemed more likely than not that the usual caste of road course characters would dominate and this run to the playoffs would become distinctly lopsided. When Daniel Suarez won at Sonoma Raceway, we arched an eyebrow. When Tyler Reddick won at Road America, we changed some of our predictions.

Three first time wins in three road course races is hard to ignore and there are two remaining in the next four weeks. Counting the wild card carburetor-restricted superspeedway race at Daytona International Speedway, there could easily be more than 16 winners in the 2022 regular season.

1. Chase Elliott
He's been the favorite on every road course, but Elliott has been denied each time with a first-time winner taking the checkers. Meanwhile, he has four oval wins and that was Elliott's Achilles' Heel in 2021. (82)

2. Ross Chastain
Along with Elliott and Cindric, Chastain is one of three drivers who swept the top 10 on road courses this year. Consistency is a handicapper's best friend. (22)

3. Martin Truex, Jr.
Truex has not forgotten how to drive on road courses. Although he's much better on the established tracks like Sonoma and Watkins Glen International, there's a lot at stake this week and that will make a difference in his performance. (70)

4. Austin Cindric
A six-race streak of top-15s ended when Cindric spun off Turn 3 at Pocono, but he has a great chance to rebound this week on the road course with a worst of eighth on the track type in 2022. (67)

5. Denny Hamlin
Watching Twitter all week, it appears Hamlin may be the most cheerful disqualified driver in the history of NASCAR. The question is whether he has momentum from the strong run or is suffering from the bad finishing result. (5)

6. Ryan Blaney
We keep talking about it because it continues to be relevant: Blaney needs to win quickly, or he is liable to get ignored in the championship conversation. He has an eight-race streak of road course top-15s, but only one top-five in that span. (44)

7. Michael McDowell
For a long time, former Trans-Am racer McDowell was one of our top road course dark horses, but he slipped at the end of 2021. This year, he has two top-10s on the track type and a worst finish of 13th. (57)

8. Kevin Harvick
The end of the Save Mart 350k was highlighted by the top-four finishers seeking their first win of 2022. Harvick finished fourth and must be thinking this is an opportunity race. (18)

9. Kyle Larson
If this were last year when he won three races and finished top-three in two other road course races, Larson would easily be a top-five driver, but as it stands in 2022, he must be higher in the top 10 rankings. (33)

10. Chris Buescher
Buescher is not the first driver who comes to mind as a road racing powerhouse, but he was in the hunt along with Daniel Suarez at Sonoma to add his name to the playoff list. (46)

11. Daniel Suarez
Suarez's win at Sonoma opened a floodgate for this driver. Players and bettors need to look at him in a different light until he starts losing momentum. (7)

12. Alex Bowman
In the last five seasons, Bowman has finished outside the top 20 only once in 18 road course races. Half of these were top-10s with a best of second at the Glen in 2019 and COTA this spring. (64)

13. William Byron
With a best of ninth at Sonoma and a worst of 16th at Road America, Byron has finished in a narrow range on road courses. That makes him a dependable pick if he fits the right niche on your roster. (15)

14. Tyler Reddick
Reddick's victory at Road America was a little bit of a surprise, but it didn't need to be. He had two top-fives in three road course races before then and might have swept if not for problems at Sonoma.           41

15. AJ Allmendinger
Allmendinger is the defending winner of this race and no one questions his road racing ability, but since he is not a full-time driver, he doesn't always get the respect he deserves and could just as readily fall outside the top 10 as in it. (71)

16. Christopher Bell
Bell's third-place finish at COTA this spring is one of five top-10s in his last 10 road course attempts, but he failed to crack the top 15 in his last two starts. (61)

17. Justin Haley
Haley is one of the drivers likely to fly under the radar this week. He has three top-15s and a 24th in his last five attempts on the twisty tracks. (30)

18. Austin Dillon
When he finished 10th at COTA and 11th at Sonoma, Dillon had momentum on his side. He doesn't have much of that now and was a disappointing 31st at Road America. (38)

19. Kyle Busch
In 2021, Busch had four top-fives and another top-10 in seven starts. In 2022, his best effort on the course type is 28th. He's better than this, but not worth the risk. (9)

20. Erik Jones
With three top-15s in the last four oval races, Jones' name is getting called a lot, but he has been an irregular value on road courses, so save him until the next two weeks. (35)

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21. Brad Keselowski
It's beginning to look like this team put most of their effort and resource into performing well in New Hampshire Motor Speedway, the backyard of the Fenways. Keselowski has sporadic road course top-10s, but nothing consistent enough on which to bet. (27)

22. Chase Briscoe
With top-10s last year at COTA, Road America, and Watkins Glen, no one doubts Briscoe's road racing talent. He hasn't earned another since, but did finish in the top 15 in his last two tries. (25)

23. Cole Custer
There have been only two road races in the past two seasons in which Custer finished 25th or worse. Unfortunately, one of those came on this track in race plagued by terrible turtles. (86)

24. Aric Almirola
Almirola has not scored a road course top-10 in his last 14 attempts, but he came close at Sonoma with a 14th. He is in the same boat as the rest of Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR); without a win, they will not be part of the playoffs. (75)

25. Ty Dillon
The best thing about Dillon's road course record is his consistency. In six races, he's finished between 19th and 23rd five times with the only outlier landed 26th. (84)

26. Todd Gilliland
He's not the first driver who comes to mind on road courses, but Gilliland's worst finish this year on the twisty tracks was 25th at Road America. His best effort nearly cracked the top 15 at COTA (16th). (88)

27. Harrison Burton
There is a lot for rookies to learn and road courses don't always take precedence, so continue to take notes on Burton and his potential. He has an average finish of 22.3 on this track type. (50)

28. Kurt Busch
NASCAR won't clear him from the concussion protocol if he is still fuzzy, but even without that as a possible downside, Busch has struggled on road courses this year without earning a top 15. (11)
 On Wednesday, Busch reported that he has not been cleared from concussion protocol. In a tweet, he said he remains dedicated to getting back in the car and is grateful for Ty Gibbs filling in. 

28. Joey Logano
With only one top-15 in his last six road course races, it's hard to get overly excited about Logano unless he shows a ton of speed in prelims. (53)

29. Ty Gibbs
Gibbs, 19, made his debut last week at Pocono for Ku Busch after the regular driver in the No. 45 suffered a concussion in a qualification crash. Now that he has a little seat time, he is going to be a better value on a road course, where he's shown a lot of strength in the Xfinity series. (NA)

30. Joey Hand
Hand won't anchor any rosters, but he should be one of the first dark horses you look at because he was on the cusp of 20th in his last two road course starts. (34)

31. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
Stenhouse hasn't earned a top-10 in his last 18 road course attempts, but he has three top-15s and came close on another five occasions with results of 18th or better. (72)

32. Bubba Wallace
There have been a few road course top-20s along the way and with enough attrition, Wallace could get another, but he'll be best saved until the series rolls onto the carburetor-restricted superspeedway. (78)

33. Josh Bilicki
Bilicki came close to the top 20 at COTA this spring with his 22nd-place finish, but he's slipped down the order since. The silver lining is that he was 18th in last year's car killer at Indy. (87)

34. Cody Ware
Ware has quite a bit of experience on road courses, but the heavy stock cars and this level of competition has kept him from finishing inside the top 25 since last year on the Daytona road course. (90)

35. Corey LaJoie
While LaJoie has been one of the best dark horses nearly every week on ovals, he can be ignored completely on road courses with a best of 34th in three races this year. (80)

36. Josh Williams
After finishing 25th on the Bristol Motor Speedway dirt track in his series debut, this will be Williams' second effort on an entirely different track. He'll learn a lot, but it won't show up in the box score. (14)

37. Loris Hezemans
The first two starts by this driver failed to turn a lot of heads, but Hezemans is here to gain experience and hopefully build something for the future. (89)

38. Daniil Kvyat
In 110 Formula 1 starts, Kvyat earned three podium finishes. He was never in the best equipment, but nevertheless, he will find the Cup cumbersome and heavy; it will take more than one race to adjust. (NA)

The number in parentheses after the handicap refers to our confidence level for that driver compared to the field. A low number does not necessarily mean we do not have confidence this week, but that contrasted with the others in the field in previous races, we have missed more often in their handicaps. Starting with a confidence level of 90 percent, because 100 is impossible to achieve, this number decrements by percentage to a low of about five.

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Cheat Sheet: Kwik Trip 250 [Road America]
Save Mart 350k [Sonoma]
EchoPark Grand Prix [COTA]

Dan Beaver

Dan Beaver has been covering fantasy NASCAR for more than 20 years with a little help from his >650,000 record database. He can be found on Twitter @FantasyRace.