Stevie "stevietpfl" Young

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NASCAR DFS Preview: Daytona

Tuesday, February 13, 2018


Welcome to my new weekly article, which will be posted before qualifying each week. I will be highlighting some drivers that excel at the current track and will then talk about drivers running well right now.

 

 

I will also preview the track and discuss which tracks are comparable to use for research purposes. If you want even more in-depth information, consider my NASCAR DFS package over at the RotoGrinders Marketplace.

 

 

Current Track

 

This weekend we have the Daytona 500, which is one of the biggest races of the season. Daytona is a 2.5-mile superspeedway, and the Daytona 500 is a 500-mile/200-lap race. It’s a three-stage race; stage one and two are 60 laps each, and the final stage is 80 laps. Daytona doesn’t really have a comparable track outside of Talladega, but the design of the two superspeedways is different. I still like to compare how drivers and teams run at these superspeedways and still think it’s an important thing to consider when playing fantasy NASCAR on sites like DraftKings. Predicting Daytona is practically impossible; it’s all about knowing who will be there in the end, and that’s what I’m here to help with this week.

 

 

Drivers To Watch

 

Michael McDowell – I’m going to start with a personal favorite at plate tracks, a guy that doesn’t get enough credit for his ability on these superspeedways. McDowell is very good at staying out of trouble, and he usually sits back for a good portion of the races here. In his last four races at Daytona, he has four straight top 15 finishes, and he has the best average finish among drivers in that range. The biggest factor to consider for DFS at Daytona is having a chance at the end of the race, and McDowell has finished on the lead lap at Daytona in each of his last six races.

 

 

Denny Hamlin – We know Hamlin is starting the Daytona 500 on the front row, which makes him a risky play in daily fantasy but an interesting play for Fantasy Live on NASCAR.com. Hamlin won the Daytona 500 in 2016 and has the best average finish over the last five Daytona races. He has five top ten finishes in the last eight Daytona races and is the only driver to win the Daytona 500 in a Toyota. Since 2005, Denny Hamlin has 24 total races at Daytona, and he has the third-highest driver rating among active drivers.

 

 

Kyle BuschKyle Busch comes into the Daytona 500 with the best driver rating since 2005, as well as the highest percentage of laps in the top 15 at Daytona in that span. He also has the best average running position, so if you’re playing a game with stage points, he becomes a solid option. He’s second in laps led percentage behind Denny Hamlin. He comes in with back-to-back wrecks at Daytona, but finished second and third at Daytona in 2016. Kyle won at Daytona in July of 2008, but has not been able to win the Daytona 500 yet.

 

 

Joey Logano – After a rough start to his career at Daytona, Joey Logano has turned it around with Team Penske. He had an average finish of 18.75 in eight races with Joe Gibbs Racing, but has an average finish of 16.1 in 10 races with Team Penske. He won the 2015 Daytona 500, and he’s finished sixth or better in four of the last six races. The Penske Fords were the class of the field in the Clash last Sunday, and they look strong going into the Daytona 500. Logano is the only driver with three top ten finishes in the last four Daytona races.

 

 

Kevin Harvick – Harvick comes in with a string of bad luck at Daytona, but he’s still one of the best plate racers in NASCAR. He has wrecked in three straight Daytona races, but he finished fourth, fourth and second in the three Daytona races before that. Harvick had 19 stage points in the Daytona 500 last season, the most of any driver, and he had 24 total at Daytona, which is tied for the most with Brad Keselowski. Harvick won the Daytona 500 in 2007 and won the July Daytona race in 2010. Harvick is a sleeper this weekend and should be considered on all fantasy NASCAR sites.

 

 

Drivers Running Well

 

Brad Keselowski – If you’ve played fantasy NASCAR or have watched any NASCAR in the last few years, you probably know how well Keselowski has performed at superspeedways. He has won three of the last eight point races at superspeedways, and he’s coming off a win at the Clash last Sunday. He’s also led at least one lap in eight straight point races at superspeedways. His 327 laps led in that span is 145 laps more the second most (Denny Hamlin – 182). He’s currently the Vegas favorite to win this weekend’s Daytona 500. Like I mentioned above, Brad Keselowski was tied with Kevin Harvick for most stage points at Daytona last season.

 

 

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is the only other driver to win multiple superspeedways over the last eight races. He has finished in the top five in four of the last eight point races at superspeedways, and he has the third best average finish in that span. Stenhouse Jr. was involved in a wreck in last year’s Daytona 500, but he comes in the hottest plate track racer in NASCAR. In 20 career point races at superspeedways, Stenhouse Jr. has only finished outside of the top 30 two times. If he qualifies towards the front in the Duels, he could be a risky play in daily fantasy, but he’s proven that he’s worth consideration.

 

 

Aric Almirola – I bet you didn’t expect to see Aric Almirola on this list, and I’m guessing a lot of people will think that way. He’s one of my favorite drivers going into the Daytona 500, and I’m hoping he starts in a playable spot. He has the best average finish (10.7) over the last eight superspeedways. Almirola has four top ten finishes in his last seven superspeedways and three straight top five finishes. His average running position suggest that he likes to sit back and avoid issues, and that’s been working well for him at superspeedways. I’m excited to see what he can do this year with Stewart-Haas Racing.



Stevie "stevietpfl" Young is a top-ranked DFS player and GrindersLive host who specializes in NFL, MLB and NASCAR. He provides both written content and media work for RotoGrinders.
Email :Stevie "stevietpfl" Young



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