The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona’s famous oval for the second time this year. NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet is here to shed a light on how the field will finish Saturday.
When: Saturday, July 5; 7:50 p.m. /et.
The Track: Daytona InternationalSpeedway
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. In an effort to promote safety NASCAR has made all Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona restrictor-plate races. The plate on the engine limits air-intake thus reducing horsepower and slowing top-end speeds.
Key to Race: ANOTHER RESTRICTOR-PLATE CRAP SHOOT?
This weekend’s race is the second trip to Daytona this season and the third of four races on restrictor plate tracks. As with all restrictor plate races 37 or so drivers have a legitimate opportunity to win. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 earlier this year and will be everyone’s top choice this weekend. But don’t sleep on Denny Hamlin. He was great at Daytona speedweeks this year and then finished second in the main show. As is the case with all restrictor plate races we advise selecting a few drivers that you might never use any other weekend. Someone like David Ragan, who has two career wins on restrictor plate tracks, has terrific value.
44 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 starting spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been lights-out on restrictor plate tracks so far this year. He finished second at Daytona and won at Talladega. He is our pick to take the checkers on Saturday.
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior took the checkers during this year’s Daytona 500 and will be fast again this trip to the famous speedway.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: It is tough not to pick Mr. Six-Time. He swept both races at Daytona last season and will obviously be tough to beat again this visit.
No. 20 Matt Kenseth: Kenseth is consistently strong at Daytona. He won the 2011 Daytona 500 as well as the 2009 edition of the race. He is one of our favorites to take the checkers on Saturday.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick is a two-time winner at Daytona and is always a threat to win restrictor-plate races. He will be great again this weekend.
6 to 10
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski’s aggressive style of driving will either make or break him this weekend. We expect it will make him.
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins at Daytona and finished fourth in the 500 this year. He should be in the lead-group when the checkers fly.
No. 14 Tony Stewart: Smoke struggled at Daytona earlier this year, but he usually is very fast at the track. He will get plenty of drafting help from teammates Kevin Harvick and Kurt Busch.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has been great on restrictor plate tracks this year. He is worth using in most leagues this weekend.
No. 99 Carl Edwards: Edwards is a solid restrictor-plate driver and was great at Daytona in five of the last eight Daytona races. He is a top 10 choice.
11 to 20
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Kyle has never won the Daytona 500, but he has driven well in most restrictor-plate races. He should finish just outside the top 10 this weekend.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch led 15 laps during the Daytona 500 this year, but slipped to a disappointing 21st place finish. We look for him to rebound with a top 15 finish this weekend.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano has been very good the past four years at Daytona. We expect another top 15 run.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon was the story pre-Daytona 500 this year and he managed to shrug off all the pressure for a top 10 finish. We like his chances this weekend as well.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Except for this year’s 500, Bowyer is always a good-shoe at Daytona. Use him in most leagues.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne was very solid during in this winter’s speedweeks at Daytona, but he disappointed in the main show. Look for him to bounce-back with a top 15 finish on Saturday.
No. 1 Jamie McMurray: McMurray won the 2010 Daytona 500. He isn’t usually one of our top picks, but his success at Daytona speaks for itself.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. Truex started on the front row during this year’s 500 then finished on the back row. He should be back inside the top 20.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse was terrific during the 500 this year. He is worth rounding-out your roster with this weekend.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman had a disappointing run at Daytona this winter. He should be just a tad better this visit.
21 to 30
No. 42 Kyle Larson: The terrific rookie struggled at Daytona this year, but was awesome at Talladega. He should be in the mix.
No. 34 David Ragan: Remember Talladega in 2013? Ragan can drive on restrictor-plate tracks as well as anyone.
No. 21 Trevor Bayne: The 2011 Daytona 500 winner could surprise again.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears was great at Daytona earlier this year. He is a worthy choice as a fifth driver.
No. 55 Brian Vickers: Vickers had a poor showing at Daytona earlier this season. He will improve a little this race.
No. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola led five laps during this year’s 500, but took a weak 39th place finish. Look for him to bounce back.
No. 47 A.J. Allmendinger: This is Daytona, so Dinger can win as easily as anyone else. A late push and we could see him flying to the front.
No. 66 Michael Waltrip: We all have seen what Waltrip can do at Daytona. There are worse options.
No. 27 Paul Menard: Menard finished sixth during the 2012 Daytona 500, but has struggled since. He isn’t much of an option this weekend.
No. 9 Marcos Ambrose: Ambrose has proved he isn't afraid of anything. He is always a decent choice on super speedways.
No. 10 Danica Patrick
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 32 Terry Labonte
No. 33 Bobby Labonte
No. 26 Cole Whitt
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 23 Alex Bowman
No. 7 Michael Annett
No. 83 Ryan Truex
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 36 Reed Sorenson
No. 29 Joe Nemechek
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
A. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
B. Denny Hamlin
B. Greg Biffle
C. Austin Dillon