Daily Fantasy iRacing Helper: Finish Line 150 at Dover
As of Friday, we're just 16 days away from NASCAR drivers being back on the track. For real this time.
NEWS: NASCAR Cup Series racing returns on May 17 at @TooToughToTame.
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— NASCAR (@NASCAR) April 30, 2020
Seven races between the Cup Series, Xfinity Series, and Truck Series in 11 days? Giddy up.
But that also means the iRacing Pro Invitational Series is creeping toward its end. This Sunday's race in Dover will be either the last or penultimate race in the series, and it's been a fun ride so far. FanDuel's tossing a bit of a deviation into the pot to spice up the final few offerings, too.
For this weekend's contest, they've added "incidents," a category that iRacing tracks to see how erratic drivers are on the track. According to iRacing rules, this is how the number of "incidents" will be tallied.
|Going Off Track||1|
|Losing Control of Car||2|
|Hard Contact With Wall||2|
|Hard Contact With Another Car||4|
For every "incident" a driver is involved in, they will be deducted 0.1 FanDuel points, the equivalent of one lap completed. If you want some context on how high the totals could go here, the iRacing stat sheet for Homestead shows the number of charged incidents for each driver. The top 20 drivers were all between 4 and 20 incidents, amounting to 0.4 and 2.0 FanDuel points. It's not going to change things too much beyond the outliers, but it will help cut down on ties and other things.
The incidents category shouldn't alter our approach too much. There are 150 laps scheduled, meaning it will be key to pinpoint drivers who could start up front and lead laps. Whom should we target with that in mind? Let's check it out.
(NOTE: Clint Bowyer and Chase Elliott are in the driver pool but have pulled out of the race. They will receive zero points and should be removed from lineups.)
The first question we'll ask every week with iRacing is whether or not we should lock in William Byron ($16,000). With the importance of laps led, Byron's well worth the salary.
The top three finishers from last week's race will start in the back of the field. Those are Ryan Preece ($10,500), Alex Bowman ($8,800), and Corey LaJoie ($8,600), and it's a major dent in their appeal for this weekend.
Byron, though, finished sixth, meaning he's not subject to the field inversion. The top 10 will be inverted after qualifying, so it's no lock that he starts right at the front, but he at least won't be lodged in the back. With how fast he has been, it shouldn't take Byron long to work his way to the front.
The iRacing prodigy has won two of the five Pro Invitational Series races and led 80 or more laps three times. We need access to drivers who can dominate, and Byron's the top dog there by a wide margin. He's a priority once again.
The other guy who benefits from the qualifying rules is Timmy Hill ($12,000). Hill finished 11th last week, the first time in five races he has finished outside the top three. He hasn't had the same laps-led upside of Byron, but the finishes are hard to top.
If you put both Byron and Hill into one lineup, it leaves you with $5,500 per driver remaining. That's a tight squeeze, and it means you're going to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel. It's at least worth considering, though, with their strength and the importance of laps led.
The only true downside of pairing Byron and Hill together is that it forces you to pass over an impressive middle tier. Tops on that list are Landon Cassill ($10,500) and Parker Kligerman ($9,500).
Cassill has been a steady iRacer, logging three top-fives in the five races. As a bonus, he has started in the top 12 for each race and has been in the top two each of the past two weeks, giving him a path to lead laps. He checks all the boxes for a non-elite salary.
Kligerman is a more experienced iRacer than Cassill and has been consistent. He has finished 13th or better and started in the top 11 in each race outside of Talladega, and he has finished on the lead lap each time.
Neither Cassill nor Kligerman has led laps yet, but that's true for most drivers outside of Byron. Here, we're looking for finishing points, and both these guys offer plenty in that department.
For some cheaper mid-range options in your Byron and Hill lineups, Tyler Reddick ($7,200) and Matt DiBenedetto ($6,800) stand out.
Reddick isn't someone who fits the "compare betting odds to salary" equation because he's 50/1 at DraftKings Sportsbook, and a lot of guys in this tier are shorter than that. He did, though, finish eighth in Bristol, another high-banked, fast, short track like Dover. He followed that up with a 12th-place run in Richmond. The longer odds should allow Reddick to fly under the radar, as well.
DiBenedetto might not be as sneaky thanks to his 30/1 odds, but those are for good reason. He's another guy who was strong in Bristol, finishing fifth there. DiBenedetto has had top-10 qualifying runs each of the past two weeks, an indication that his single-lap speed may be on the rise. Having multiple reasons for optimism is good enough to justify using a driver at $6,800.
As mentioned before, if you want to combine Byron and Hill, you're left with $5,500 at your disposal. We haven't discussed anybody that cheap yet. Let's amend that now.
The top option down here is Daniel Suarez ($5,000). The main appeal in Suarez is that he has qualified well, starting in the top 10 for three of the four races he has run. This means he's capable of laying down at least one quality lap. He was acceptable with an 18th-place finish in Richmond, the one non-Talladega race in which he wasn't either parked or disqualified. We'll have to take risks somewhere, and at least the risk with Suarez is coupled with upside.
For a steadier angle (or just another necessary value in top-heavy lineups), you can turn to Kurt Busch ($5,500). Busch has a pair of top-10s in five iRaces and hasn't been outside the top 20 since the opener at Homestead. Qualifying hasn't been on his side, so you're hoping he'll just not start all the way in the back and slowly grind his way forward. That's not overly outrageous for what you're paying.
Ryan Blaney ($4,000) has some betting juice to him at 40/1, which could simply be a result of bettors targeting younger drivers who may be able to adapt more quickly. We shouldn't overreact to his odds. Still, Blaney has shown improvement, qualifying well in Richmond and getting his first top-20 last week. You've gotta dig when going top-heavy, and Blaney provides at least some semblance of hope.
In the lineups where you're not going full stars and scrubs, you can actually venture to the opposite end of the age spectrum. Bobby Labonte ($6,300) hasn't been a full-time Cup Series driver since 2012, and he was just inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, but he has finished on the lead lap in each race thus far. That includes three finishes of 13th or 14th in the three races leading into Talladega. Things fall off pretty quickly after Labonte, meaning we've got a heavy incentive to pick one of the two between Byron and Hill and then go balanced after that.