Daytona 500

Daytona 500

Nascar is back! There have been many changes this year including drivers, crew chiefs, teams, and rules. This year, instead of focusing on tiers, I’m going to use a format of focusing on drivers that I believe are great value picks for DFS, regardless of tier. I will also point out a race favorite or two (straight up picks to win, rather than DFS picks) each week.

This is the last ‘restrictor plate’ race for Nascar before the new car packages are put into use this year. It’s also a great chance to look for some value in lesser used drivers because the restrictor plate is a great equalizer that allows for some talented young drivers to show off their skills. There’s also the inevitable “big one” that creates a scenario of attrition in restrictor plate races so be wary of early standings throughout the day.

As always, my articles are directed at DK gpp formats, but I will be around in chat to discuss FD options and cash plays if anyone is interested. Let’s get to it.

Brad Keselowski (10,600) – I had a nice writeup here for Logano pre-qualifying, but the starting lineup derailed that. Keselowski is a premier restrictor plate racer, starting near the back, and could easily win on Sunday. He’s had terrible luck at Daytona recently, but is due. It’s good chalk to eat. Get some exposure in your lineups if you can.

Kyle Busch (9600) – Will be driving a ‘repaired’ car, but starts near the back, and is a solid bet to move forward throughout the day. He’s also pissed off, and has an empty Daytona 500 trophy case to fill. He’s been very fast during the last two practice sessions.

Ryan Blaney (9000) – A great alternative to higher priced drivers. He’s been dominant the last few Daytona races, despite disappointing results due to circumstances. He led the most laps in last year’s race.

Kurt Busch (8700) – Looked great in the Clash, and has had a resurgence to his career of late. He’s a smart plate driver, and has a new owner to impress.

Kyle Larson (7800) – Honestly, I don’t know what DK is thinking with this pricing. Yes, Larson has had some bad results at Daytona, but he’s not a bad plate racer. He’s fearless, knows how to get to the front, and with his starting position and salary, is a great option in the 500.

Paul Menard (7400) – Drives for the Wood brothers and looked to run away with the Clash until he was involved in a wreck with a few laps remaining. He’s been solid in plate races throughout his career and has finished 13th or better in seven of the last ten races. The Wood brothers have been around a very long time, and are always at their best at Daytona. He starts up front, but at this price, he’s worth a look.

Ryan Newman (7000) – Consistently runs in or near the top ten in plate races including three straight races finishing 8th or better. It would be hard to find a better veteran driver priced this low.

Michael McDowell (5900) – One very important note on McDowell is that he has the best average plate results among ALL of the lower tier drivers in his price range. For his cost, I have him as the best value of any driver in the entire field. He’s in my core lineup along with Kyle Busch, and Keselowski.

Fades for me are Elliott, and both Austin and Ty Dillon.  All 3 are solid plate racers at their prices, but are missing crew chiefs due to penalties. Crew chiefs are an integral part of race teams and many things can go wrong on race day when they’re missing from the equation. I won’t fault anyone for rostering them, but I’m avoiding. JJ is also a fade (presently having a huge target on his left rear quarter panel from several drivers). Other fades for me are Byron (sure to lose positional points), and Bubba (he’s better on plate tracks, but starting too close to the front).

Joey Logano is my pick to win the race. There are so many reasons why, (and I had them all listed prior to the duel results), but due to starting position, and a lack of available positional points, I will have very limited exposure in my lines, possibly only a single entry. Paul Menard (see above) would be my dark horse to win. He’s been consistently fast this year and has flown under the radar for a long time.

You can find me in chat on Sunday as I’ll keep an eye out through the weekend for starting lineup changes and relevant news. I’m glad to see we have several other contributing race fans in chat this year. It was great seeing the positive results in the Duels. Hopefully we’ll have a good season and win some money.

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