Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Quaker State 400
This weekend's NASCAR Cup Series race in Kentucky requires us to hit the reset button.
For the past four races, the Cup Series has been at huge, speedy tracks. Kentucky is definitely a place that requires some giddy-up, but at 1.5 miles in length, it's a big deviation from what we saw at Indianapolis and Pocono.
Thankfully, we're not in uncharted territory. This will be the Cup Series' sixth race of the season at a 1.5-mile track and the fifth since the end of the COVID-19 layoff. We've got data on whom we should expect to contend; we just have to dig back a bit deeper than the past four races.
To get a full rundown on who has been best at this track type in 2020, you can lean on Racing Reference's fantasy tool, which shows each driver's stats on this track type. The lone downside of that is it focuses on finishes rather than where a driver ran during the race. That's where the table below can act as a supplement.
Instead of leaning on finishing positions, the table shows each driver's average running position both in recent races and in past races in Kentucky. This shows us an all-encompassing look at where drivers were throughout the race rather than just where they were on the final lap. Even though Alex Bowman ($10,000) doesn't have a single top-10 finish on 1.5-mile tracks this year, he has three top-10 average running positions and almost won in Las Vegas. You don't get to see that by looking at just finishing positions.
The tough aspect is blending what we have seen recently with what we saw earlier in the year at 1.5-mile tracks. Those 1.5-milers are more relevant for Kentucky, but we also do see teams make gains throughout the season. We don't want to completely ignore what teams have done recently, even if it's at dissimilar tracks.
As a result, the current form section of the table below goes half and half. The three races at Indy and Pocono are there alongside the three most recent races at 1.5-mile tracks. We should also put stock in what happened in Las Vegas, though that race was excluded because it happened before the COVID-19 layoff, and plenty of teams have made changes since that time.
The track history section includes just three races because the Cup Series comes to Kentucky just once per year. The limited data makes it hard to justify obsessing over what drivers have done here, especially if they've changed teams in that time.
The other data listed are each driver's FanDuel salary, betting odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, and starting position. The starting order was set by a draw on Wednesday night, using the same method as has been used for most races since the end of the COVID-19 layoff. As mentioned in this week's track preview, we likely want two studs per lineup who can run up front and lead laps. For our values, putting stock in drivers who can pick up place-differential points is wise.
The betting odds on the table are listed in fractional form, so Kevin Harvick ($14,500) being listed at 3.7 means he is +370 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
|Martin Truex, Jr.||$12,300||9||9||36||10||8||11||3||18||13||2||1|
|Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||$6,500||200||14||35||13||19||23||14||11||12||29||16|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$5,500||200||22||18||19||24||20||25||16||--||--||--|
By looking at the table, you can see why Christopher Bell ($9,000) would be a focal point for DFS yet again. He's starting back in 34th, but he has had impressive average running positions both recently and at 1.5-mile tracks. Tyler Reddick ($8,000) and Austin Dillon ($7,200) check similar boxes starting in 24th and 19th, respectively. So take some time, look for other drivers in these buckets for your value plays, find studs with the upside to get a win, and build from there.