The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series returns to Daytona’s famous oval for the second time this year and the 17th race of the season. NASCAR Fantasy Cheat Sheet is here to shed a light on how the field will finish Sunday.
When: Sunday, July 5; 8:04 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. Joey Logano won the Daytona 500 earlier this year, but Hendrick Motorsports drivers ran more impressive races and led more laps than he did. As is the case with all restrictor plate races we advise selecting a few drivers that you might never use any other weekend. Folks like Jamie McMurray who has four career restrictor plate wins and David Ragan, who has two career wins are a terrific value.
45 cars will attempt to qualify for 43 starting spots.
Fantasy Cheat Sheet:
No. 88 Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Junior has been one of the most consistent drivers at Daytona the past 10 or so years. He is our pick to win on Sunday.
No. 4 Kevin Harvick: Harvick is a two-time winner at Daytona and is always a threat to win restrictor-plate races. He finished second in this year’s Daytona 500 and he will be great again this weekend.
No. 48 Jimmie Johnson: It is tough not to pick Mr. Six-Time. He swept both races at Daytona in 2013 and will obviously be tough to beat again this visit.
No. 11 Denny Hamlin: Hamlin has been lights-out at Daytona the past three races. This is a great weekend to use Mr. Hamlin.
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 Sunday.
6 to 10
No. 24 Jeff Gordon: Gordon has five career wins at Daytona and led the most laps in the 500 this year. He should be in the lead-group when the checkers fly.
No. 18 Kyle Busch: Kyle has one career win at Daytona and he drove an awesome race last weekend at Sonoma. The win in wine country should give him the boost of confidence in his legs that he needs to get back to his trademark aggressive style of driving.
No. 41 Kurt Busch: Busch missed the Daytona 500 this year while dealing with his legal issues. He will be back with a vengeance this weekend.
No. 22 Joey Logano: Logano won the Daytona 500 this year and has been very good at the track. We expect another strong run from the Double-Deuce.
No. 78 Martin Truex Jr. Truex started finished eighth at Daytona earlier this year. He should be back inside the top 10.
11 to 20
No. 2 Brad Keselowski: Keselowski’s aggressive style of driving will either make or break him this weekend. We expect it will break him.
No. 19 Carl Edwards: Edwards is a solid restrictor-plate driver and was great in five of the last nine Daytona races. He is a top 15 choice.
No. 15 Clint Bowyer: Bowyer is always a good-shoe at Daytona. Use him in most leagues.
No. 5 Kasey Kahne: Kahne usually does well in qualifying at Daytona then disappoints in the show. Look for him to notch a top 15 finish on Sunday.
No. 16 Greg Biffle: Biffle has struggled quite a bit the past month. He isn’t worth using this weekend.
No. 3 Austin Dillon: Dillon has been very fast at Daytona in his young career. We like his chances this weekend.
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. 43 Aric Almirola: Almirola notched a 15th place finish at Daytona this winter. He is an interesting option.
No. 31 Ryan Newman: Newman disappointed at Daytona this winter. He should be just a tad better this visit.
21 to 30
No. 55 David Ragan: Remember Talladega in 2013? Ragan can drive on restrictor-plate tracks as well as anyone.
No. 42 Kyle Larson: Larson has struggled at Daytona during his career. We wouldn’t use him until he can show some consistency at the track.
No. 6 Trevor Bayne: The 2011 Daytona 500 winner could surprise again.
No. 13 Casey Mears: Mears was great, sixth place finish, at Daytona earlier this year. He is a worthy choice as a fifth driver.
No. 17 Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Stenhouse was terrific during last year’s 500. He is worth rounding-out your roster with this weekend.
No. 10 Danica Patrick: Danica has averaged a 22nd place finish at Daytona in her career. There are far 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 Sam Hornish Jr.: Hornish had one of his best races of the season at Daytona this winter. He is a deep, deep sleeper.
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. 21 Ryan Blaney: The Wood Brothers usually bring a fast sled to Daytona.
No. 38 David Gilliland
No. 46 Michael Annett
No. 35 Cole Whitt
No. 32 Bobby Labonte
No. 95 Michael McDowell
No. 34 Brett Moffitt
No. 33 Brian Scott
No. 51 Justin Allgaier
No. 23 J.J. Yeley
No. 7 Alex Bowman
No. 40 Landon Cassill
No. 98 Josh Wise
No. 26 Jeb Burton
No. 62 Brendan Gaughan
No. 83 Matt DiBendetto
My Yahoo! Fantasy NASCAR Team for this Week:
B. Kurt Busch
B. Clint Bowyer
C. David Ragan