Daily Fantasy NASCAR: AAA 400 Drive for Autism Driver Preview
Two of the biggest pillars of driver selection in daily fantasy NASCAR are track history and current form. Knowing where drivers sit on both of those spectrums is going to make our lineups look a whole lot nicer at the end of the race.
By looking at which drivers have excelled at this week's track in the past and those who are currently racing well, we can know which drivers are in line to be good plays for the slate. That's what we're going to try to do today, dividing drivers into those two buckets with noteworthy track history or noteworthy current form.
Clearly, this isn't to say that all of these drivers will be great plays in this race. A lot of that will be dictated by where they start and the scoring history at that track. To read more about what strategies we need to deploy based on starting position, check out this week's track preview.
Later in the week, once qualifying is in the books, we'll go through the top plays for the race based on all of these factors. But which drivers should we be keying on for the time being? Let's check it out.
Here are drivers we should be keeping an eye on for the AAA 400 Drive for Autism at Dover.
Kyle Busch (FanDuel Price: $12,700): Kyle Busch's three-race win streak was snapped at Talladega, but he's now heading to yet another track where he has dominated. There's a reason he's the most expensive driver of the week.
Busch won the fall race here in Dover, his third career win at the track. More importantly, he always runs at the front here. He has posted an average running position of 5th or better in 9 of his past 16 races, including 3 of the past 5. Busch has also led at least 100 laps in a race here five times, making him worth the lofty salary when you combine this with his scorching-hot form.
Martin Truex Jr. ($11,800): Martin Truex Jr. doesn't have the same current form as Busch, but ever since joining Furniture Row Racing in 2017, he has been a fixture at the front of the pack in Dover.
Truex has competed here with the team 8 times; his worst finish is 11th, and he has only 2 finishes worse than 7th. This includes three straight top-four finishes with a win in the fall 2016 race.
Those top-end finishes have been coupled with elite average running positions. Truex has had a top-five average running position in four straight races here and five of the past six. The New Jersey native is always a threat to lead a boatload of laps at one of his home tracks.
Jimmie Johnson ($12,300): Busch and Truex have won five combined races here at Dover. They're tied for second and fourth, respectively, in wins at Dover among active drivers, which is pretty dang snazzy.
Jimmie Johnson has won here 11 times in 32 races. Oh.
If you were to count only his wins at Dover, Johnson would rank 10th on the all-time wins list among active drivers. Dude's a course horse if ever such a term could apply.
The issue with Johnson is that the current form isn't quite there. Johnson has just three top-10 finishes this year and one top-five, and he has yet to lead a lap the entire season. Johnson's slide started last year -- and he was still able to snag a win at Dover -- but you'll certainly have to decide whether you're weighing current form or track history more heavily when assessing Johnson. Check his practice speeds on Friday and Saturday, and if he's blazing again, then we can have a bit more confidence in the seven-time champ.
Chase Elliott ($11,500): This will be Chase Elliott's fifth trip to Dover; he is yet to post a finish outside the top five despite never starting higher than ninth. He's a DFS darling.
Elliott's average running positions in those races have been 11th, 6th, 10th, and 4th, respectively. That fourth-place ranking was last fall when he led 138 laps. Elliott's still looking for his first career victory in the Cup series, but he's a decent bet to push for that this weekend.
Daniel Suarez ($8,300): Daniel Suarez has just two Cup series races at Dover, but he did enough in those two races to justify discussion here.
Suarez logged a top-10 finish in both runnings with average running positions of 11th in the fall and 10th in the spring. You don't get that from drivers in this price range very often.
If you include Suarez's Xfinity Series races here, he has seven consecutive top-10 finishes, including a win in the 2016 fall race. Suarez is a better selection if he starts deeper in the field, so keep an eye out to see if he's in line to score points via place differential.
Kasey Kahne ($7,300): When Kasey Kahne was Johnson's teammate at Hendrick Motorsports, he was able to find success here decently often; he has had a top-15 average running position in six consecutive Dover races. But success has been hard to find in his first season with Leavine Family Racing.
Kahne's best finish this year is 17th, and that's hard to swallow no matter how far back he starts. That may have changed, though, at Bristol (another concrete, high-banked track like Dover) if Kahne hadn't had steering issues. There, he ran 179 of his 236 laps in the top-15 before bowing out and finishing 34th.
Kahne is similar to Johnson. If he posts decent times in practice, then we can potentially overlook the wretched current form. But Kahne needs to start lower in the pack in order to be DFS relevant this week.
Joey Logano ($11,000): Joey Logano's performance fell off the table last year following a penalty at Richmond that took away his automatic playoff berth. He has gotten things fully back on track this season.
With his win last week at Talladega, Logano has now posted a top-10 finish in 9 of 10 races this year, including each of the past 6. He has coupled that with a top-8 average running position in 8 of 10 races and each of the past 6. Logano's as hot as anybody not named Kyle Busch right now.
Logano has never won in Dover, and he has just two top-10 finishes in his past six tries. But with a top-10 average running position in four straight Dover races prior to last year's struggles, we can overlook that and gush over Logano's current form.
Kyle Larson ($12,000): As mentioned with Kahne, the track most similar to Dover is Bristol, where the Cup series was three races ago. In that one, Kyle Larson led 200 laps before finishing second, and he has some sweet history at Dover, too.
Larson led a combined 378 laps here last year, posting average running positions of third and fourth. He also led 85 laps in the spring of 2016, and he has finished in the top five in half of his eight races here. With what Larson did at Bristol in April, he deserves to be on our radars again here.
William Byron ($7,800): This is William Byron's Cup series debut at Dover, but he did run here twice in the Xfinity Series last year. He finished sixth and third, respectively, in those two races, and had an average running position of second in the fall race.
Byron has also impressed in his rookie season with Hendrick Motorsports, a team that -- as mentioned -- has been dominant here in the past. Byron has just one top 10 this season, but he has had a top-15 average running position in four straight races. Byron's a driver we can target with a decent amount of confidence if he starts in the middle of the pack or lower.
David Ragan ($5,800): David Ragan's another driver whose appeal derives at least partially from a solid outing at Bristol. But, in general, he's just running much better than his price would indicate.
At that Bristol race, Ragan took home a 12th-place finish, at the time his best of the season. It started a run of three straight races with an average running position in the top 20, including last week at Talladega. If either Ragan or Matt DiBenedetto starts somewhere 30th or lower, they're fun ways to increase your ability to jam in more studs.