NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Pennzoil 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 who crash out of the race is a must, of course!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes has you covered with his current form and odds breakdown, as well as his track preview to spotlight this week's venue. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, Jim also discussed the Daytona 500 on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
In a fairly surprising outcome (again), William Byron came all the way from the 31st starting position to dominate the second half of last weekend's event in Miami to round out NASCAR's Florida swing. The top stock car drivers in the world head west to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this weekend, and this bumpy, 1.5-mile track will present its own unique challenge to drivers. Historically, NASCAR's modern aero package has performed well with plenty of action and passing at "The Jewel in the Desert."
The starting lineup for this event was set through NASCAR's weighted formula, which includes last race's finish, the fastest lap in that race, and current points position. That formula put points leader Kevin Harvick on the pole for Sunday, and Byron will start alongside him. Pit stalls were selected in the same order as the starting lineup.
With that, let's preview the Pennzoil 400 in Las Vegas on FanDuel.
Joey Logano ($13,000): As much of the 2021 season has been, the FanDuel slate on Sunday should be wild and unpredictable. Logano, however, has been a consistent force in Las Vegas for years, as he is second in total laps led (317) here over the last three seasons. While he did not lead in Vegas last September and finished outside the top 10, Logano had scored a top-10 finish in 12 straight races -- including two wins -- at this track before that event. Logano is one of few top stars with place-differential upside from 15th, and him delivering on that would be an assumption that his poor run in Miami was more of a fluke than a trend.
Chase Elliott ($12,500): Overall, Elliott was the most dominant car between last year's two Las Vegas races, which were quite literally a pandemic apart. Elliott led 70 laps and won both stages last spring before cutting a tire, and he led 73 laps in September before receiving a pit road penalty. If his luck holds better at the proverbial blackjack table, he may be in for a big win. It has to be encouraging to Elliott that teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson were so dominant in Miami on a similar configuration, and the champion will look to carry his team's momentum to the west coast. He starts third and is a good pick for laps led.
Brad Keselowski ($11,300): The best average finish in the last six races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway belongs to "Bad Brad," at 5.33. In that span, Keselowski also collected a win, and similar to teammate Logano, Keselowski's top-10 finish streak was snapped at 10 last September, so the Penske teammates will look to start a new streak together. With Keselowski starting 10th, there is a small bit of place-differential upside, but his fantasy output will mostly go as far as his ability to deliver as a "horse for the course" in Vegas.
Ryan Blaney ($10,700): The third and final Penske Racing teammate to Keselowski and Logano is Blaney, and while there is no plan to work together at a track like Las Vegas, their program has been notably strong at this circuit. In the last eight races at Las Vegas, Blaney has seven top-10 finishes. His only exception (March 2019) was due to an early tire failure that left him several laps down, but he still posted the highest amount of fast laps in the field that day. He has had speed historically at this track, and he had the best finish last September of his Penske teammates (seventh). He has the highest place differential upside of any driver above $10,000, as he starts 26th.
Matt DiBenedetto ($7,800): A bit of luck was involved, but it is worth mentioning that no driver had an average finish at Las Vegas last season better than DiBenedetto did, as he posted a second-place finish in both races last season. It is always tough to compare DiBenedetto's track-history numbers given his rapid shifts in equipment the past five years, but DiBenedetto was strong all of 2020 at 1.5-mile tracks with eight top-15 finishes for Wood Brothers Racing. He would probably just like to see a decent finish after finishing 28th or worse in three straight races to start the year, but starting 30th and having just a decent day will suffice at this salary.
Aric Almirola ($7,500): Almirola has not quite possessed his usual consistent speed in 2021 thus far, but track types have not been his friend with three of his weaker tracks by average finish. Las Vegas has been a different story, as he has scored five top-15 finishes across his last seven races at the track. Stewart-Haas Racing is likely second to only Penske Racing in terms of Las Vegas prowess since 2018. No one has led more laps here during that span than Almirola's teammate, Kevin Harvick (455), and all four Stewart-Haas Racing cars finished inside the top-20 spots in both 2020 races. Almirola's poor start to the year gives him a 28th starting position that comes with great upside.
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.