NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Saturday's Drydene 311
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. 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. Jim also has a current form and odds breakdown to analytically review how NASCAR's best drivers are performing recently.
As expected, Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. were the two strongest cars at the road course event in Daytona, but while Truex Jr. had a pit road penalty and a strategy miss, Elliott stayed problem-free and dominated for his second points-paying win of 2020. Elliott will look to translate that speed back to an oval on which he has won before, as he and 39 of NASCAR's best head to Dover International Speedway this weekend. Nicknamed "The Monster Mile," this high-banked 1.0-mile turn usually produces solid racing with multiple grooves, and the urgency should be ratcheted up with 89 fewer total laps than last year's event.
NASCAR is once again using a weighted formula as the standard qualifying procedure. This week's lineup was determined using owner points, last week's finish, and last week's fastest lap of the race for each driver. After calculating the formula, Chase Elliott is indeed on the pole position for this race, and with pit stalls chosen based exclusively on last week's finishing order, he will also have the premier pit stall in the event. There has been no discussion at this non-SMI racetrack venue to use PJ1 compound for either event this weekend. With 311 total laps, finding drivers who lead laps will be of importance, and the ceiling for drivers starting farther toward the front of the field is higher this week than at other, larger race tracks.
With that, let's preview the first Drydene 311 event at Dover on Saturday.
Martin Truex Jr. ($13,500): With 311 laps, there is enough upside at the front to search for a car that can nominate up front and win. Starting third, New Jersey's Martin Truex Jr. has a rich history of doing that at what is considered his home track. Truex Jr. has won three times at "The Monster Mile" and led over 100 laps five times, including doing both of those things in June of last year. Truex Jr. also brings great form into Dover, where amazingly, he has finished third in exactly five straight races. He would like to do two spots better on Saturday, and he currently is a +390 co-favorite to do that alongside Kevin Harvick ($14,000).
Denny Hamlin ($13,000): The best active driver (with Kyle Larson still suspended from NASCAR's top series) from the most recent race at Dover is Hamlin. Last October, Hamlin dominated the race and led 218 laps, winning stage one in the process. Hamlin has been the strongest driver in 2020 not named Harvick, with five wins, and has also run well at Dover's smaller cousin, Bristol, where he has led at least 75 laps in each of the last two events. He will have to battle his teammate, Truex Jr., for the lead early on Saturday but has the leg up to do so from the outside pole position.
Kyle Busch ($11,200): The reigning Cup Series champion has had a brutal 2020 campaign that has left him both winless and with five DNFs before Labor Day, which are both personal low points for the talented driver from Las Vegas. However, if he is able to finish the race, KB is showing himself slowly returning to form, with top-five results in three of the last four events he was able to finish. Busch has a great record at Dover, leading in five of the last seven races and posting a win in October of 2017. Busch has two shots to crack victory lane this weekend, but his first attempt will have to be from 22nd on the starting grid.
Cole Custer ($8,400): No driver had more success in NASCAR's Xfinity Series at Dover in 2019, as Custer led a race-high 155 laps and finished 5th in the spring event, and followed that up with a win in the fall race. Custer's liking to this track should be well noted, as should his strong rookie season, where he is locked into the playoffs by virtue of his win at Kentucky, and has five top-10 finishes. Custer will look to rebound from three straight races with either pit road issues or an accident, so he will look for a clean race, and he has plenty of pass differential upside from 23rd on the grid.
Austin Dillon ($7,000): Austin Dillon should be the most popular driver based on pass differential on Saturday, where he will start 32nd by virtue of missing the Daytona event due to a positive test for COVID-19. Dillon has been cleared to return from the illness and should be physically fine to return to a Dover track on which he has run fine at historically. Dillon has six top-20 finishes in his last seven Dover races. That, in addition to his 17.2 average running position in 2020, lends to the notion that Dillon should finish much higher than his starting position in the Saturday event.
Matt Kenseth ($6,500): No driver may have a more interesting combination for daily fantasy than Kenseth, who is very affordable and starting a very desirable 26th on the grid. Kenseth also has two other factors that are incredibly intriguing, the first of which being his own personal success at Dover. Kenseth has six-straight top-20 finishes at Dover, including a win for Joe Gibbs Racing back in May 2016, but his Chip Ganassi Team has had even more success recently than that with Kyle Larson. This CGR Chevrolet led 142 laps and won last fall with Kyle Larson and had a streak of seven-straight top-12 finishes with Larson before the driver's suspension. Kenseth and his team will look to their notebook in hopes of a strong effort, with only one top-10 finish in his last seven races.
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.