Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Alsco Uniforms 500K
In theory, Wednesday's NASCAR Cup Series race at Charlotte should be pretty similar to Sunday's. It's the same cars and largely the same drivers running the same track a couple of days later. Hello, symmetry.
In reality, though, everything is different, and it has to influence the way we attack this race for NASCAR DFS.
The first key difference is the length of the race. They'll run just 208 laps, about half the length of Sunday's race.
As discussed in this week's track preview, that gives us an incentive to use drivers starting further back. Drivers starting at the front have less upside they can generate via laps led while the place-differential candidates have the same amount of upside they'd always possess.
That brings us to the second difference: the way they set the starting order.
Before Sunday's race, for the first time since the COVID-19 layoff, NASCAR held a qualifying session. That meant -- for the most part -- the fastest cars in the race were starting up front.
That's a very different story on Wednesday. As they did for last week's Wednesday race, NASCAR is inverting the top 20 finishers. The Coca-Cola 600 winner -- Brad Keselowski ($11,600) -- will start 20th. The driver who finished 20th -- William Byron ($10,700) -- will start first, and so on. Then the drivers from 21st through 40th will start where their car finished on Sunday.
As a result, we'll have drivers starting both in the middle of the pack and at the back with speed. They'll be able to pick up place-differential spots in a hurry, and we won't be scraping the bottom of the barrel from an equipment perspective in order to get drivers who can generate said place-differential upside. It's an ideal combination.
The final difference is that we now have more information than we had entering Sunday. Outside of the qualifying laps, we hadn't seen these drivers on the oval configuration of this track since May of 2019. Now, we're just a few days removed from seeing each driver in their current equipment on this exact same surface. We have a great idea of who will be fast, and we should use that to our advantage.
The key caveat there is that finishing position will not be the best indicator of strength. As an example, Jimmie Johnson ($11,200) is starting 40th on Wednesday, which means he finished dead freaking last on Sunday. A last-place finish is sub-optimal, and it's going to drag some of Johnson's stats down.
But that poor finish is because Johnson got disqualified in post-race inspection, wiping out his entire race. If we judge him based on his finish, he'll look like a dud. But if we judge him based on his seventh-place average running position, we'll realize that the dude had speed. The same logic applies to Alex Bowman ($12,200), whose fourth-place average running position was worlds better than his 19th-place finish.
That's why the numbers in the table below are each driver's average running position for a race rather than where they finished. You'll still have some flukiness there. Denny Hamlin ($12,000) likely had a car better than the 36th-place average running position on Sunday, but because he fell behind early, this number will still paint him in a negative light. It's at least better than zeroing in on where a driver was on just the final lap.
The current form data on the chart is the same as last week's data overview. The only race-level difference is that instead of including the two Charlotte races from 2017, we'll now include the one from 2020 in their place. The track history section of my model performed poorly on Sunday relative to the current form section, and having that old data likely played a major role. Shifting things to just the past three Charlotte oval races should give us a better baseline expectation for each driver.
The other data included are each driver's FanDuel salary, their win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Tuesday afternoon, and where they're starting the race. Because of the importance of starting position, the table is sorted by where the drivers are starting. This should help you identify both drivers starting at the front who could compete for a win and those who could improve from their starting slot and net you big place-differential points.
Without further ado, here's how the field shapes up for Wednesday's Alsco Uniforms 500K.
|Driver||FD Salary||Win Odds||Start||Darl 2||Darl 1||Phoenix||Fontana||Vegas||Texas||2020||2019||2018|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$6,000||20000||5||38||18||20||25||20||23||21||--||--|
|Martin Truex Jr.||$14,000||550||15||7||14||11||9||8||13||3||6||7|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$6,300||14000||24||28||40||22||22||15||35||23||11||14|
With Hamlin, Johnson, and Clint Bowyer ($9,000) all starting 29th or lower, we've got drivers with a pulse starting in the back, making for what should be some fun lineup builds on Wednesday. You'll also want to find some places to pivot off the chalk, and these numbers should give you the data you need to mine those gems.