Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the FireKeepers Casino 400
The big key to predicting results in NASCAR DFS is looking at recent races at tracks similar to the next one on the schedule.
This alleviates a lot of issues. It filters out non-relevant tracks, and it gets drivers with the same teams and the same equipment they'll have in the upcoming race.
And, whew, buddy, do we have some spicy data for this weekend.
The NASCAR Cup Series is running a double-header in Michigan, with the first race being the FireKeepers Casino 400 on Saturday. Michigan is a big, two-mile track where you need some massive giddy-up under the hood to compete.
It just so happens we've had three races within the past month and a half that check similar boxes.
In that span, the Cup Series has run two races in Pocono and one in Indianapolis. Although both are flat tracks while Michigan has more banking, they also require that top-end speed in order to compete. They're different tracks, but there's enough overlap to give us good signals.
If a driver was fast there, they're probably going to be fast again this weekend.
All three of those races are featured on this week's data sheet, which is below. Also included is a race in Fontana from before the COVID-19 layoff. Fontana is also a two-mile tri-oval like Michigan, making it a solid indicator. However, because Fontana has heavier tire wear and occurred earlier in the schedule, we'll likely want to weigh it less than Pocono and Indianapolis.
There is also track history data included, but this is where we run into issues with drivers changing teams. In the past four races at Michigan, Matt DiBenedetto's ($9,300) best average running position is 22nd. But now that he's with Wood Brothers Racing, he has had a top-13 average running position in all four of the races at big, non-drafting tracks this year. In that situation, you need to throw out the track history and lean on what we've seen this year. What we've seen from DiBenedetto there is delectable.
The number referenced there -- average running position -- is also the number in the charts. The reasoning there is that a finish tells you where a driver was for one lap, whereas average running position tells you what they did the entire race.
Last year's Michigan race is a great example of this. A bunch of drivers ran out of fuel in the final laps and finished poorly as a result. All of Joey Logano ($11,400), Brad Keselowski ($12,200), Ryan Blaney ($12,000), and Kurt Busch ($10,300) were in the group and finished outside the top 15 but held a top-10 average running position. Here, the finish doesn't represent the speed they had, forcing us to lean into the average running position instead.
The other numbers on the chart are each driver's FanDuel salary, odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, and starting position. The odds are written in fractional form, so Kevin Harvick ($14,000) being listed at 4.2 means he is +420 to win.
|Martin Truex, Jr.||$12,800||9||12||4||17||36||10||8||9||7||6||13||15|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$6,000||200||31||18||24||18||19||24||25||--||--||--||--|
|Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||$6,400||200||32||35||24||35||13||19||22||24||23||18||22|
That chart is an indication of why we may want to try to sneak Erik Jones ($10,000) into our lineups this weekend.
With the short race, we want drivers who can gain us place-differential points, and Jones has shown the speed to get that this year. He also now has to fight for a new ride next year as it was announced this week that he will not return to Joe Gibbs Racing in 2021.
Jones is tough to get to if you want to jam in electric studs like Harvick and Denny Hamlin ($13,500). But it's at least worth it to see if you can snag him with the upside he possesses back in 23rd.