There is no reason to overspend on any driver on an aero-restricted superspeedway. The four races each year at Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway are filled with dark horses, many of whom can be had for a pittance.
Streaks are hard to come by on a track where the most memorable feature is the ever-present danger of a 'Big One' crash, so any time a racer is able to string three top-10s together, fantasy players have to take notice. Involved in three accidents in the last three races, Ty Dillon is an unlikely leader.
Entering the 62nd running of the Great American Race, the driver with the longest active streak of top-10s does not race for Joe Gibbs Racing, Team Penske, or Stewart-Haas Racing. A satellite team currently holds the hottest hand.
Dillon was one of only two drivers who swept the top 10 at Daytona last year. His sixth-place finish in the Daytona 500 came on the heels of another sixth-place finish in the summer of 2018. Emboldened by his success, Dillon spent 46 laps among the top 15 and earned his first career top-five on this track with a fourth in the Coke Zero 400.
Dillon’s success at Daytona should not come as a surprise because he has been great at Talladega throughout his career. His first attempt there ended in a sixth-place finish in 2016 followed by a sweep of the top 15 in his next four starts on the 2.66-mile sister track.
But Dillon did not have the same degree of luck in Florida as Alabama. Four of his first five attempts on that track ended 25th or worse. He failed to finish the 2017 and 2018 Daytona 500s because of crash damage and when he was involved in an accident in July 2018, it must have seemed like the pattern was going to repeat itself.
Dillon survived that damage for his first top-10 on the track. In last year’s 500, he was swept into two accidents and still managed to finish sixth.
That set the stage for last year’s Coke Zero 400.
When rain plagued the weekend and heightened the sense of urgency, Dillon stayed out of trouble all afternoon and was in position to capitalize when the race was shortened by rain. He finished behind a surprised Justin Haley in first, William Byron in second, and Jimmie Johnson in third. Ryan Newman rounded out the top five in what may have been the least expensive group of leaders in the history of salary cap games.
Career Average Finish: 19.3 in 8 starts (ranked seventh)
2019 Coke Zero 400: 4
2019 Daytona 500: 6
2018 Coke Zero 400: 6
2018 Daytona 500: 39