NASCAR® Driver Rankings: Alabama 500

WATCH: NASCAR PRICE CHECK ALABAMA 500


Rankings below are based on a mixture of expected output and DraftKings’ NASCAR salaries for that day. The ordering is not based on highest projected fantasy totals, but rather by the value of each driver.

(FPPK = average fantasy points per $1,000 of salary.)

RankDriverSalary
1Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.$8,000
2Denny Hamlin$9,500
3Joey Logano$10,200
4Kurt Busch$8,300
5Clint Bowyer$8,100

1. Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. ($8,000) – Believe it or not, Stenhouse is a favorite to win this weekend. He’s won the last two plate races this season. Talladega is one of his best tracks. Stenhouse has finished 16th or better in seven of his eight races at Talladega. It’s also his hometown track. (4.0 FPPK)

2. Denny Hamlin ($9,500) – Everyone wrecks at plate tracks, but some drivers wreck less than others. Hamlin has made a name for himself by consistently finishing the plate races. His 12 top-20 finishes in the last 15 plate races (80%) leads NASCAR. (4.1 FPPK)

3. Joey Logano ($10,200) – If Logano wins this weekend, it will be his third win in a row at Talladega in the fall. Since 2015, Logano has six finishes of sixth or better in 11 plate races. What happened in the other races? Take a guess. Yes, he was involved in wrecks. (3.2 FPPK)

4. Kurt Busch ($8,300) – Winning the Daytona 500 definitely helps Kurt’s ranking. He’s finished 12th or better in the last six plate races. His 64% top-10 finish rate over the last 15 restrictor plate races is the best in NASCAR. (3.0 FPPK)

5. Clint Bowyer ($8,100) – Over the last 15 restrictor plate races, Bowyer has the best median finish (ninth). His nine top-10s over that span are the second most. He drives a Ford, and Ford has won 10 of the last 15 plate races. (3.5 FPPK)


RankDriverSalary
6Brad Keselowski$9,800
7Kyle Busch$10,400
8Austin Dillon$7,400
9Kevin Harvick$9,700
10Kyle Larson$9,400

6. Brad Keselowski ($9,800) – The Fords have excelled at plate tracks. They’re three for three this season. Last season, they won three of the four plate races. All three wins belonged to Team Penske. Keselowski won at Talladega and Daytona. He has five plate track wins. (4.2 FPPK)

7. Kyle Busch ($10,400) – Wrecking three times last weekend did not help the cause. Luckily for Busch, he has a trove of playoff points built up from the season. He’s sitting on a 13 point cushion, but he likely needs a top-10 this weekend to be safe heading into Kansas. (5.6 FPPK)

8. Austin Dillon ($7,400) – There is a skill to plate racing, but fortune also plays a large role. From 2014-2016, Dillon was one of the best plate racers with 11 top-15s in 12 races. Dillon is clearly skilled, but he’s wrecked in his last two plate races. (3.6 FPPK)

9. Kevin Harvick ($9,700) – In his last 15 Talladega races, Harvick has 11 top-15 finishes. He’s been even better of late. In his last seven Talladega races, he has six top-15s. He finished 23rd in the spring race, but he was on the lead lap. He could easily be seven for seven. (4.4 FPPK)

10. Kyle Larson ($9,400) – His career began with a handful of wrecks at plate tracks. Last year, he seemed to figure it out with five finishes of 12th or better at the plate tracks. Maybe he hasn’t quite figured it out yet, he wrecked at Daytona. Then again, no one ever really figures it out. (5.7 FPPK)


RankDriverSalary
11Martin Truex, Jr.$10,100
12Jimmie Johnson$10,000
13Paul Menard$7,000
14Chase Elliott$9,000
15Dale Earnhardt, Jr.$9,200

11. Martin Truex, Jr. ($10,100) – This race is almost meaningless for Truex. He’s already advanced to the next round. It’s safe to assume that Truex would rather finish the race in one piece than earn a couple measly stage points. Truex has wrecked in three of the last four plate races, he just wants to finish. (6.6 FPPK)

12. Jimmie Johnson ($10,000) – Plate tracks are the great equalizer. Future Hall of Famers do not have much of an edge. Johnson has five top-10s in his last 15 plate track races. That ranks 10th, but a 33% top-10 rate is nothing to get excited about. (3.9 FPPK)

13. Paul Menard ($7,000) – How reliable are plate track stats? Menard has six top-10s in the last 15 plate races. His 40% top-10 rate ranks seventh. He’s on a roll at the plate tracks. His last four plates finishes are third, ninth, fifth and 13th. The stats say you need to consider Menard. (3.9 FPPK)

14. Chase Elliott ($9,000) – The #24 car has 12 plate track wins. None of those wins were with Elliott behind the wheel. The car is still one of the best plate track rides in NASCAR. Elliott has won three poles at the plate tracks. If Elliott doesn’t wreck, then he should finish inside the top-10. (4.2 FPPK)

15. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. ($9,200) – Talladega is likely Junior’s last chance at a win. He’s still a 10-time plate track winner that’s not far removed from two plate wins in 2015. He was the polesitter at Daytona in July. Unfortunately, his best plate finish in the last two years is 21st. (2.8 FPPK)


RankDriverSalary
16Matt Kenseth$8,800
17Ryan Newman$7,100
18AJ Allmendinger$6,900
19Jamie McMurray$7,800
20Ryan Blaney$8,700

16. Matt Kenseth ($8,800) – Statistically, Kenseth is not very good at plate tracks. His four top-20s over the last 15 plate races is just one better than the worst plate driver. We’ll be kind to the worst driver and not mention anyone by name. Kenseth has three plate wins; he’s just been unlucky. (3.6 FPPK)

17. Ryan Newman ($7,100) – It doesn’t matter if it’s a plate track, Newman is still Newman. His average finish of 20th seems uncharacteristically low, but compared to the field he has the 14th best average finish. It’s only five spots worse than the best average finish. (4.1 FPPK)

18. AJ Allmendinger ($6,900) – A lot of middle of the pack cars have decent finishes at plate tracks. A lot have top-10s, but Allmendinger has the most lately. The Dinger has a top-10 finish in three of the last four restrictor plate races. (3.8 FPPK)

19. Jamie McMurray ($7,800) – With wrecks and poor finishes being a certainty at plate tracks, it’s hard to trust a driver based on top-10 finishes. A win is still a win, and McMurray’s four plate track wins are the fourth most among active drivers. (3.6 FPPK)

20. Ryan Blaney ($8,700) – In the Daytona 500, Blaney finished second and scored the most fantasy points. For his encore, he wrecked in the next two plate races. That’s how it goes. At least he has more top-20s than wrecks over his last 11 plate races (six top-20s). (2.8 FPPK)

 


I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.