Stevie "stevietpfl" Young

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Fantasy Preview: Coke Zero 400

Thursday, July 5, 2018


After Chicagoland last weekend, we head to Daytona, which is always one of the most exciting races of the season. If you think the sweat is crazy for NASCAR fantasy, imagine being here at the track where you can't see a gap between two cars. If you're ever in the Daytona area for a race, there's nothing like being at the track for a Daytona race. With this being one of the most unpredictable races of the season, it's not about predicting the race, it's about playing a type of strategy that will reduce the variance.  

 

Just a quick reminder that this is a preview article, and I write it before we have starting positions. 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 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International. It's a 2.5-mile Tri-Oval and a 400-mile/160-lap race. It’s a three-stage race; stage one and two are 40 laps each, while the final stage is 80 laps. Over the last 10 races here, we have seen an average of 7.6 cautions per race for an average of 34.8 laps. That’s taking away 17.4 of the possible 80 points for fastest laps on average. Daytona is a unique racetrack, and while Talladega is a super speedway, it's a different setup than Daytona. I still use it as a comp when doing research for Daytona, but I really like to focus on pass differential and quality pass percentage when looking at Daytona. It's also very important to pay attention to starting positions this weekend.

 

Drivers To Watch

 

Kurt Busch – Heading into the weekend, Kurt Busch is clearly someone to watch. He has the third best driver rating here since 2005, and he has the second highest quality pass percentage in that span. On top of that, he has the best pass differential (459) among active drivers, and it's so good that it’s 231 better than the second best. Being able to pass on super speedways is extremely important. In the last 10 races here, he has five top 10 finishes including a Daytona 500 win in 2017. He has an average finish of 13.3 over the last 10 super speedways, which is the 5th best in that span.

 

Aric Almirola – When looking at recent superspeedway races, Almirola has been one of the better drivers in these races. Over the last six-point races on superspeedways, Almirola has six top 11 finishes, and that's very impressive. Not only are top 11 finishes really good, being able to stay out of trouble six races in a row is impressive. He finished 11th in the Daytona 500, and was leading on the last lap before getting turned around on the backstretch. With the power these Stewart-Haas cars have this season, Almirola is my sneaky driver to pick up a win this weekend. He did win this race in July of 2014 and has always been really good at Daytona.

 

Joey Logano – The 2015 Daytona 500 Champion is always someone to consider when we come to Daytona. Over the last five races here, Logano has the fourth best average finish and four top 10 finishes. He also has the third best average finish over the last 13 superspeedway races. He has a positive pass differential and an above average quality pass percentage. It will depend on where he qualifies for fantasy, but he's always a tournament option when they're at Daytona.

 

Drivers Running Well

 

Kyle Busch – Coming off a win last weekend, Kyle Busch is one of the hottest drivers in NASCAR this season. On top of having a great season, Kyle Busch has the highest driver rating among active drivers here since 2005. Kyle has a 69.2% quality pass percentage here since 2005, which is the third highest among active drivers. He has the second highest driver rating in 2018 and has 12 top five finishes in 17 races including five wins. He also has the best average finish this season.

 

Clint Bowyer – Clint comes into Daytona with the sixth best driver rating this season, but he continues to get stronger each week. He's run 82% of his laps in the top 15 this season, and he has 16 top 20 finishes in 17 races this season, which is the most. Bowyer is also a good plate racer and finished second in this race last season. He has six top 10 finishes in his last 10 races here, and five straight top 10 finishes in the July race here. I was looking into the negative pass differential Bowyer, and a lot of that came towards the beginning of his career, he's been a lot better over the last 10 races here.

 

A.J. Allmendinger – I know this section is for drivers running well this season, but I wanted to talk about one more driver that has run well recently at Daytona. It has been a rough season for Allmendinger, and it only takes one to make that all go away. He has three straight top 10 finishes here, after only having two in his first 15 races here. Digging into the last three races, Allmendinger has an average running position of 20, which means he's running in the back half of the field. This is good to note because he's staying out of trouble, and not trying to push it too early in the race. If he doesn't qualify well, he's potentially a really good value play this weekend.



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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