NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Quaker State 400
If you are looking for an action-packed way to get your sports fix, NASCAR may be a great avenue to explore. Far from just driving in circles, some of the world's best compete nearly every weekend from February to November on tracks across America. NASCAR drivers are scored ultimately based on how they finish in the race, how many spots they advance from their starting position, and how many laps they finish and lead. Avoiding drivers that crash out of the race is a must, of course!
Here at numberFire, we've always got you covered for everything NASCAR DFS. Every week, in addition to this helper, we have a current form and stats breakdown to dive deeper into this weekend's action. Our track preview breaks down this week's venue, and we also have The Heat Check Fantasy Podcast, where Jim Sannes breaks down his favorite plays for Sunday's slate.
Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick battled again for a win in Indianapolis last Sunday, but a fiery crash late due to a blown tire for Hamlin led to an easy win for Kevin Harvick in overtime, and he tied the circuit's lead for wins in 2020 with his fourth trophy. Harvick and Hamlin will lead 38 others of NASCAR's best to Kentucky Speedway on Sunday, in what profiles as a incredible chess match. This 1.5-mile track was repaved in 2016 and its incredibly smooth surface has led to a very difficult time making green flag passes.
The starting lineup for Sunday's race was determined by a tiered random draw based on owner points, which put Kyle Busch in his first pole position of 2020. The pit stalls, however, were drawn based on last Sunday's finishing order, which places Kevin Harvick in a prime position. The track has added PJ1 traction compound to the higher grooves of all turns in hopes to increase passing in this year's race.
With that, let's preview the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
Kevin Harvick ($14,500): Where else can you start a NASCAR slate right now other than Kevin Harvick? Harvick has notched all four of his wins since the COVID-19 break ended, and he consistently continues to be fast at a variety of different tracks, leading in six of the last nine races and winning three of those. He has easy access to the front from third place on the grid, and as mentioned above, he owns the best pit stall to win track position during caution flags. Harvick had trouble in last year's race at Kentucky, but he had five straight top-10s at the track before that. Rodney Childers continues to be as good as it gets nailing the setup with no practice, and that has meant several dominant outings for Harvick recently. Sunday could be next.
Kyle Busch ($13,000): It is a tough call between Joe Gibbs teammates Denny Hamlin ($13,800) and Busch. Hamlin definitely has better recent form, but Indianapolis and Pocono were two of his better tracks historically. History at Kentucky absolutely favors Busch, who led 184 laps in the last three races and finished in the top five in all of them. Perhaps that track history will aid Busch, but so, too, should being the lead car in what might be a brutal struggle for track position. Thursday's and Friday's Xfinity Series races featured three total green flag passes for the lead more than one lap into a green flag run, meaning passing outside of restarts is a gigantic issue, so even if a car is faster than Busch's, they may not be able to get by him on the race track.
Alex Bowman ($10,000): Kentucky's surface most closely resembles that of Charlotte Motor Speedway, and no driver dominated in Charlotte back in May like Alex Bowman did. Bowman led 215 laps between those two races, and he suffered heartbreak in both, resulting in him winning neither. Still, with also winning at Chicago last year, Bowman's reputation as a successful intermediate track driver cannot be denied, and he has legitimate race-winning upside from this spot. Teammate Chase Elliott ($12,500) was also very strong at Charlotte, so the entire Hendrick Motorsports brigade will be one to watch on Sunday.
Christopher Bell ($9,000): Rinse and repeat with Christopher Bell in this spot, as he just continues to have brutal luck with the qualifying draw while still clawing forward in points. Bell, however, has ascended well beyond just a successful fantasy play. He had an average running position inside the top-10 last week at Indianapolis when he finished 12th, and he had two top-10 showings in the three races before that. Bell legitimately is contending inside the top 10 every week, and he continues to start in the mid-30s in the lineup. His price tag is too low for the pass differential upside he presents.
Tyler Reddick ($8,000): Reddick got the best possible draw -- from a DFS perspective -- for anyone between 13th and 24th, as he starts 24th on the grid. The rookie has been incredibly impressive this season and continued it with a top-10 outing at Indianapolis last weekend. Reddick's only cup experience at a smooth, 1.5-mile track was at Charlotte in May, and he posted 8th and 14th in those two races. From 24th, Reddick getting up near the top 10 would be great for fantasy, but he could do more. He had an average running position inside the top five at the last 1.5-mile track the circuit visited in Miami, so he carries very high upside in this spot.
Cole Custer ($7,700): Bell, Reddick, and Cole Custer were last year's "Big 3" in the Xfinity Series, and Custer has lagged severely behind the other two to this point this season, but that may be changing. His first career top five came at Indianapolis last weekend, and Custer may be able to carry that momentum into what was one of his better tracks in the Xfinity Series, where he posted two top-five finishes in two starts, including a dominating win last year in which he led 88 laps. Finding value on this slate will be a challenge, as due to the tiered draw, not many quality race cars are starting deep in the field. On a smooth, fast surface, car usually means much more than driver, and Custer will have the same equipment as Kevin Harvick -- and his other Stewart-Haas teammates -- at an affordable tag.
Austin Swaim is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Austin Swaim also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username ASwaim3. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.