Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Go Bowling 235
Even at road courses, current form matters.
Last year, the NASCAR Cup Series ran three separate races on road courses. In two of those races, the current form section of my model outperformed the section that centered around road courses in predicting where drivers would finish. The one exception was the Charlotte roval, where the margin between the two was slim.
That's something we should expect to continue this weekend. For the first time, the Cup Series will be running the Daytona roval. Teams will run the big, sweeping corners of the oval track before diving through the infield, as well.
That should push us toward valuing form again this weekend. With the speeds likely to be high in the banked corners, you're going to need some giddy-up to compete. If teams don't have that -- something that their current form will show us -- we may want to proceed with caution.
As such, this week's data sheet is still going to focus heavily on current form. That's below. The problem is that pinpointing which races will be most relevant is difficult.
The turns are going to require good top-end speed and acceleration. The turns will require proper handling. Those characteristics don't overlap at a ton of tracks. So, instead of picking effectively at random which tracks to focus on, we'll just pull the last six races straight up.
This gives us a blend of different characteristics. The two races last weekend in Michigan required speed. The one before that in New Hampshire required handling in flat corners. If drivers were fast in those spots, we can generally expect them to do well on Sunday.
The one area where we may want to consider road-course history is with the drivers who have struggled. There is some legitimate skill required to run well on these courses, and it's a skill not every driver possesses. So if a driver has consistently poor marks on road courses, it's fair to be skeptical of them even if they do fit our process for DFS.
The tracks included for that section will be the six road-course races run within the past two seasons. Each track is unique, and Daytona will be different from them, as well, but taking them all in together should give us a good idea of which drivers we might want to cross off our lists.
As always, the numbers listed are each driver's average running position rather than their finish. This can be a bit fluky at road courses because strategies differ so much. A driver can be competing the entire race, but if their strategy is different from the rest of the pack, their average running position may not show it. Still, this is likely to be the better intel than focusing just on finishes.
The other information listed is each driver's FanDuel salary, win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook, and starting position. The win odds are presented in fractional form, so Chase Elliott ($13,500) being listed at 4.2 means he is +420 to win.
As mentioned in our track preview, starting position matters a lot this weekend. We want to pinpoint drivers starting further back who can get upside via place-differential. This sheet should illustrate a couple of drivers who fit that.
|Martin Truex, Jr.||$14,000||6||3||14||20||9||4||17||7||9||3||3||8||4||2|
|Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||$6,000||170||25||19||14||21||35||24||25||17||18||19||21||20||25|
|John Hunter Nemechek||$5,500||200||28||28||25||24||18||24||28||--||--||--||--||--||--|
This makes it evident why Ryan Blaney ($11,400) deserves to be a core play on Sunday.
Blaney is starting 24th, so he checks the place-differential box. He also has both current form and road-course history with a win at Charlotte in 2018 in his back pocket. Blaney can pay off without a win, which is always desirable for a stud.
The one downside of this chart is that the road-course section is blank for all rookies because they haven't run one in the Cup Series yet. So, instead, we can look at the Xfinity Series for some signals there.
The Racing Reference fantasy tool can be a major crutch. If you look at the past 10 road-course races, it'll show all races from 2018 and 2019 (plus the two this year), giving us -- for the most part -- an eight-race sample on the 2020 rookies. It can at least tell us who was competitive and who wasn't.
Christopher Bell ($8,400) firmly fits into the former. He lit it up on road courses in 2019, winning once, finishing runner-up twice, and holding a top-six average running position in all four races. Bell isn't a cash-game option because he's starting 15th, but he certainly has the upside to justify exposure in tournaments.