Another week, another race. I will break down all of the most important Daily Fantasy NASCAR information in order to drive your success! The information below is provided by DraftKings. The information is not developed or provided by NASCAR, Inc., or its affiliates.
TOP 5 FAVORITES TO WIN
1. Kurt Busch – It’s summer, it’s Daytona, and it’s Shark Week. Restrictor plate racing is a lot like being in the movie Jaws. Maybe you’ll make it, maybe you won’t. It doesn’t matter how good a swimmer you are… The best car does not matter this week. It’s about survival, and some drivers have a knack for making it into the sequels. Kurt never slays the shark, but he’s one of the tertiary actors crying and hugging at the end of the movie. Through periods of his career, Kurt has been a lock for the top 10 (2005-2007, 2009-2010). Over his last 7 plate races, Kurt’s worst finish is 12th. This is no time to be a hero. The winning fantasy NASCAR lineup will get all six drivers across the finish line. Kurt’s done it all year, and he does it at plate tracks.
2. Kevin Harvick – Everyone knows that Harvick has been the best fantasy NASCAR driver over the last two seasons. Does everyone know that he runs well at plate tracks too? In 2013, Harvick started the year with two miserable plate races, but in the 4 years after that, his fortunes have reversed. Since that spell, he’s had just one bad race and 11 top 15’s in 12 races. Harvick’s 44% top 10 rate ranks 4th at restrictor plate tracks.
3. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. – Last summer, Dale was #1 on the Cheat Sheet and he won the race. I ranked him number one again at Talladega, and he finished 2nd by a nanosecond. What would you have done when the 2016 Daytona 500 rolled around? I ranked him first, again. He was the worst fantasy driver with a score of negative 20 points. Fluke, right? I ranked him #1 at Talladega, and he went even lower – negative 33 points. Lesson learned. Junior is a great plate racer (10 wins – most in NASCAR), but he struggles when he’s not leading.
4. Denny Hamlin – No one escapes the carnage of plate racing. Before Talladega, Hamlin had been the most consistent high finisher at plate tracks. He won the Daytona 500, but that all changed at ‘Dega. Hamlin finished 31st, but in his defense, everyone wrecked at Talladega this year (only 21 of 40 cars finished on the lead lap). The summer Daytona race is more like the spring Talladega race than the Daytona 500. The season opener in Daytona is not a place where drivers want to take chances. Now that we’re halfway through the regular season, drivers are willing to risk it all for a win. What’s this have to do with Hamlin? Nothing. Hamlin has 7 top 10’s in the last 10 plate races and has averaged 71 fantasy points over the last 5 Daytona races.
5. Martin Truex, Jr. – We can’t count on Truex always starting in the back at plate races, but we can lean on him finishing inside the top 15. Truex lost a heartbreaker at the Daytona 500. The length of this sentence was the difference between second and the first place prize of $1,500,000 (I had to write it that way to make the sentence long enough – plus this part in the parentheses). Look on the bright side, he scored 71 fantasy points at the Daytona 500, of course that really doesn’t help him any. Over the last 8 plate races, Truex’s 38 points per plate race average ranks 3rd.
LONG SHOTS TO SCORE BIG
1. Austin Dillon – Since becoming a full time Sprint Cup driver, Dillon has been one of the best plate racers on the circuit. In those 10 races, Dillon has 9 top 15’s. He’s has 6 top 5’s in 7 Xfinity races at Daytona.
2. Clint Bowyer – At a restrictor plate track, all cars are created equal. HScott Motorsports has just as much a chance at winning as the big boys. Over Bowyer’s career at plate tracks, he has the 2nd best average finish and the 2nd best top 10 rate (52%).
3. David Gilliland – Front Row Motorsports has always been strong at restrictor plate tracks. In Gilliland’s one race this season (Talladega), he scored 52.5 fantasy points.
Kurt Busch – The top 10 streak has reached 10 races. His 14 top 10’s lead NASCAR. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short track, plate track, intermediate track, or a road course – Kurt will finish inside the top 10.
Kevin Harvick – How impressive is Kurt’s streak? Harvick is tied for the second longest top 10 streak with just 4 consecutive top 10’s heading into Daytona. Harvick still has the best average finish (7th).
Tony Stewart – Normally two top 10’s in a row is not a big deal, but this is Tony Stewart. The last time he recorded back-to-back top 10’s was April 12, 2014.
Denny Hamlin (Spring 2016)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (Summer 2015)
Joey Logano (Spring 2015)
Aric Almirola (Summer 2014)
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (Spring 2014)
PICK TO WIN
Kurt Busch – I promise not to jinx Dale Earnhardt Jr. anymore. Picking a plate winner is tough, so I’ll go with a guy that is usually near the front at the end.