Brian Brown

NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet

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The Coke Zero 400

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona for the 17th race of the 2011 season the Coke Zero 400. NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet is here to provide you with the industries longest-running and most accurate NASCAR fantasy prognostication. We took a long look at past performances and trends to shed a light on how the field will finish Saturday.

When: Saturday, July 2; 7:48 p.m./et

The Track: Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Raceway is a 2.5-mile tri-oval with extreme 31 degree banking on the corners. The intense banking allows drivers to run wide-open nearly the entire way around the track. As a result of the incredible speeds NASCAR has made all Sprint Cup Series races at the track restrictor plate races. The plate on the engine limits air-intake thus reducing horsepower and slowing top-end speeds.


Drivers gave the grip of the new surface at Daytona mostly positive reviews in February, but based on the strange two-car draft that resulted fans were left a little puzzled. Saturday's race will still have potential for a major field-diminishing crash, but we predict the drivers will pair-up and not push the limit until the final 10 laps.

Qualifying Procedures:

46 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 spots. Cars not in the top 35 in the 2011 owner point standings will have to qualify based on speed. Starting positions 1-43 will be determined by qualifying on Friday, July 1 at 4:10 pm/et.

Fantasy Cheat Sheet:

Top 5

No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards is a solid restrictor plate driver and was great at Daytona the past three races. He is our favorite this weekend.
No. 22 Kurt Busch: Busch won this year's Bud Shootout and is very fast at Daytona. He is a solid pick this weekend.
No. 29 Kevin Harvick: Harvick won the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona last year and despite his blown engine during the 500, he will be great again this weekend.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke has brought the fire at Daytona lately. He has won three of the last 10 races at the track and looked fast earlier in the year. He is a great pick.
No. 17 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth is consistently strong at Daytona. He won the 2009 Daytona 500 and could take the checkers again on Saturday.

6 to 10

No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins at Daytona and brought a great car to last July's Coke Zero 400. He should be in the lead-group when the checkers fly.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: Johnson won the 2006 Daytona 500 and has been pretty dominant (nine top 10 finishes in 19 career starts) at Daytona during his career.
No. 33 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer has cracked the top 10 in six of his 10 career starts at Daytona. He will be a good shoe on Saturday.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Busch was awesome at Daytona in 2008 (fourth place and a win) but he has had just one top 10 at the track since. If he can remain patient a top five finish wouldn't surprise us.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior captured the Pole for the Daytona 500 and there is no track in the circuit where he wants to win more than this one. If there is any race to use him it is this one.

11 to 20

No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray has won two of the past eight races at Daytona. He isn't usually one of our top picks, but his success at Daytona speaks for itself.
No. 31 Jeff Burton: Burton led the most laps during this year's Bud Shootout. He will try to break out of his season-long slump on Saturday.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has just one top 10 finish at Daytona during his career. We can't recommend the No. 11 this weekend.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle won the Pepsi 400 at Daytona in 2003, but has been mostly terrible at the track since. Avoid the "Biff" this visit to FLA.
No. 42 Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya has had three top 10 finishes in seven career starts at Daytona. The man from Bogota should flirt with another top 10 finish this weekend.
No. 6 David Ragan: Ragan has two top 10 finishes in eight career starts at Daytona. He is a very good fourth driver on most fantasy teams this weekend.
No. 56 Martin Truex Jr: Truex has been very good at Daytona lately. He is a good sleeper pick.
No. 5 Mark Martin: Martin ran well during the 500, but he isn't a terrific restrictor plate driver. We advise saving him for another weekend.
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski's aggressive style took him out of the 500. He is the type of driver that can either make or break your roster at Daytona.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne: Bayne's win during the 500 was the story of this season so far. He has had a rough time since the win, but he will be someone to keep an eye on this weekend.

21 to 30

No. 20 Joey Logano: Logano has yet to crack the top 15 at Daytona. This isn't the week to roll with "Sliced Bread" on your roster.
No. 7 Robby Gordon: Gordon has cracked the top 16 in eight of the last 11 races at Daytona. We like his chances to crack the top 25, but we don't see him breaking into the top 15.
No. 43 A.J. Allmendinger: Allmendinger finally ran a solid race at Daytona in February. He is worth gambling on.
No. 39 Ryan Newman: Newman won the 2008 edition of the Daytona 500, but that was his last top 15 finish at the famous speedway. He isn't much more than a weak third or fourth driver in most fantasy leagues this weekend.
No. 34 David Gilliland: Gilliland is a bit of a Daytona ringer. He is worth using in all leagues for this weekend.
No. 4 Kasey Kahne: Kahne was terrible at Daytona this winter. He has had past success at the track, but we wouldn't take a chance on him this weekend.
No. 00 David Reutimann: Reutimann came in fifth during last year's 500. He isn't flashy and is often overlooked in fantasy leagues, but he continues to produce.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard has averaged a 20th place finish at Daytona during his career. There are much worse choices.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has been terrible at Daytona. Anything can happen on Saturday, but we don't think he will win.
No. 83 Brian Vickers: Vickers is having a season he would rather forget. He has had past success at Daytona so maybe he can turn his luck around on Saturday.

Field Fillers

No. 78 Regan Smith
No. 47 Bobby Labonte
No. 13 Casey Mears
No. 32 Terry Labonte
No. 87 Joe Nemechek
No. 36 Dave Blaney
No. 71 Andy Lally
No. 51 Landon Cassill
No. 38 Travis Kvapil
No. 37 Tony Raines
No. 46 J.J. Yeley
No. 97 Kevin Conway
No. 66 Michael McDowell
No. 60 Mike Skinner
No. 35 Geoff Bodine
No. 81 Scott Riggs

Brownie's Picks

Top Four:

1. Carl Edwards
2. Kurt Busch
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Tony Stewart


1. David Gilliland
2. Trevor Bayne

Bust of the Week:

Brian Vickers

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