Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400
One of the keys to projecting production in NASCAR is looking at how drivers have run recently at similar tracks.
Track history is generally a decent piece of data to lean on. But some tracks feature just one race per year -- limiting the sample -- and drivers change teams and equipment regularly. If you lean too much on track history, you're going to go down bad paths.
Current form allows you to look at drivers with their current teams. However, some teams put a heavier emphasis on certain track types than others, so success in one race will not necessarily translate to a good run the following week.
Leaning on data from recent races at similar tracks helps mitigate the issues with both of those factors. Our situation in that regard won't ever be better than it'll be this weekend.
Sunday's race in Indianapolis is at a big, fast, flat track. There aren't many of those on the NASCAR Cup Series circuit. In fact, there are only two, so in a lot of situations, we could be in a bit of a pickle.
Instead, it just so happens that the other track was the host of last weekend's festivities, and they ran two races there. We've hit the jackpot.
The similarities between Pocono and Indianapolis are abundant. They both require horsepower down the straightaways and downforce in the flat turns. If a driver is fast in Pocono, you can reasonably expect them to be fast in Indianapolis, as well.
As such, the two Pocono races should be a focal point as you dig into this week's data sheet for the Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400. You don't want to cross someone off if they struggled in those races -- stuff happens, and it's sometimes out of the driver's control -- but a top-end outing in either race should get our attention.
The current form section of the chart also includes an early-season race in Fontana. The banking and tire wear are both different there, but it's another big, fast, non-drafting track like Pocono and Indianapolis. Pocono should be the main focus, but Fontana can also give us some clues about who is likely to compete.
The track history section includes just three races. The Cup Series goes to Indianapolis just once per year, meaning if we wanted more than three races, we'd have to go all the way back to 2016. Plenty has changed over those years, meaning we'll get more bad data than good if we loop that in.
As always, these numbers are the driver's average running position from the race rather than where they finished. A good example of why we go this route comes from Erik Jones ($10,600) in his 2017 Brickyard debut. Jones ran well that entire day and was even fourth at the end of the second stage. However, he crashed in the late runnings and finished 31st. His ninth-place average running position is a much better indicator of his strength in that race, allowing us to ignore the actual finishing position.
The drivers are sorted by their FanDuel salaries, and their betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook are right alongside. The odds are presented in fractional form, so Kevin Harvick ($14,200) being listed at 4.5 means he is +450 to win.
The only other information we need to fill out lineups is the starting order, which is likely to be announced on Thursday night. As mentioned in this week's track preview, we'll want to find drivers capable of scooping place-differential points, so this is key data to have. Once that's available, look for drivers in position to finish better than where they're starting, and build around them for DFS.
|Martin Truex Jr.||$11,800||13||10||8||24||11||3||9||33||34||12|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$6,800||150||13||19||10||23||14||22||34||20||21|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$6,000||200||19||24||18||20||25||25||--||--||--|
As you can see, not only was Harvick dominant in Pocono, but he also has a top-five average running position in two of the past three races in Indianapolis. There's a reason he and Denny Hamlin ($13,700) are the runaway favorites to win, and you'll want to account for that in your DFS lineup building.
Outside of Harvick and Hamlin, there are other drivers who will pop up as potential contenders based on the data above. So once the lineup is out, find some drivers who have popped in relevant races, see where they're starting, and go from there.