NASCAR and Daytona are synonymous with high speeds and big wrecks. However, this trip to Daytona is going to be quite different.
The Cup Series is racing on the Daytona road course, which uses part of the oval and part of the infield in a 3.61-mile layout. That means only 65 laps are scheduled, so that significantly alters our DFS approach.
Dominators are out the window because there are only a maximum of 48.75 dominator points for the whole race. Thus, we’ll look to the combination of place differential and finishing position to set our lineups.
Additionally, the one thing that does hold true for Daytona this weekend is unpredictability. Expect some cautions, and late race restarts to shake up the order. That makes fading the chalk, or at least finding a few hidden gems well worth your while.
Finally, because we haven’t had a Cup race at this track, it may be worth your while to practice strict bankroll management. This is a race where things could go very wrong in a hurry.
NASCAR at Daytona DraftKings DFS Picks
Kyle Busch ($9800) – I think a lot of people will look at Chase Elliott as the top play in among the drivers starting in the first four rows, and who can blame them? Elliott has three wins in the last five races with right-handed turns. However, Kyle Busch is one of the premier road course drivers in the business and people may sleep on him this weekend.
What might keep his ownership percentage down is his poor form in 2020, and his history at the Charlotte Roval, where two DNFs left him 32nd or worse. Those DNFs are not indicative of the talent he has, but results-oriented players may shy away from him and gravitate toward Elliott. With so much uncertainty, this is a great pivot spot off Elliott.
Alex Bowman ($8200) – A word of caution, Bowman is a very chalky play, and could be the highest-owned driver on the slate. I’m writing him up here simply to let you know he’s an excellent play in cash game formats, and you should definitely have significant exposure to him in tournament formats. But he does become a bit of an interesting underweight play in tournaments simply from the randomness angle. Bowman finished second and fourth in the Cup Series’ two “roval” races at Charlotte.
Clint Bowyer ($8800) – If you’re looking for a pivot off of Bowman, and don’t mind embrace a high amount of risk, Bowyer is a great option. He’s a road course ace with 12 career top five finishes at these tracks. That includes top five finishes at both Charlotte Roval races, and five top five finishes in eight road coarse races with Stewart-Haas Racing. He’ll roll off 12th, so there’s plenty of downside. But another top five will certainly put him in the winning lineup.
Michael McDowell ($7000) – McDowell has plenty of racing experience on this circuit from multiple appearances in the 24 hours of Daytona. In the Cup Series, he has six straight top 18 finishes at the two faster road courses (Watkins Glen and the Charlotte Roval).
He also has an XFINITY win at Road America, the largest and fastest of the road courses NASCAR’s three national series race at. He’ll be a chalk play so if you’re looking for a pivot, might I suggest…
Tyler Reddick ($7400) – P.J. Walsh and I have frequently made the Tyler Reddick to Kyle Larson comparison, so why stop now? Larson had two stellar performances at the Charlotte Roval ruined by crashes or circumstances, but Larson did lead at the end of the first stage in both races.
Reddick is no slouch himself at the Roval, with a second place finish in last year’s XFINITY race, and a ninth place finish two years ago. He also finished in the top five in the other two high-speed road course races in the 2019 XFINITY season. He’ll roll off 18th.
James Davison ($5200) – Davison starts 38th of 39 drivers so he will almost certainly move forward. If this race encounters a lot of attrition, Davison is in position to capitalize. Davison comes from a road course background, having raced in multiple series including IndyCars, Sports Cars, and Stock Cars.
Don’t expect him to make many passes, except of fellow back markers. But if this race follows the XFINITY playbook where 11 of 38 drivers took a DNF (or finished behind someone with a DNF), and Davison is able to pass a few back markers, that could result in a top 25 finish. Pairing him with a Ryan Blaney ($11,000) or Brad Keselowski ($10,600) makes sense.