Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Toyota Owners 400
We're still pretty freshly into the 2021 season for the NASCAR Cup Series, but the data at our disposal is already delectable.
Sunday's Toyota Owners 400 in Richmond will be the third race this year on a short, flat track, following Phoenix and Martinsville within the past month or so. It's also the fifth race to use the 750-horsepower package, tossing the Bristol dirt race and Daytona road course into the fold. Phoenix is the only track in this time that is a direct parallel to Richmond, but performance in this package is a key part of the analysis. We've already got plenty to look at there.
That's in addition to this track type being the most predictable on the circuit. In back-testing my model since the start of 2019, the short, flat tracks have the highest correlation between a driver's finishing position and how they graded out in my model, just edging out the flat 1.5-mile tracks. The predictiveness increases as the season goes along, and we've now got enough data from 2021, specifically, to have a high degree of confidence.
That data is laid out in the table below. The current form section lists the four races in 2021 to use this rules package plus the final two races in 2020 at short, flat tracks. Those were the final two races of the year, meaning they'll account for any in-season gains drivers made. The track history data is just the past three races as the Cup Series ran here only once in 2020 due to COVID-19.
As always, the data here is each driver's average running position rather than their finish. Martin Truex Jr. ($14,000 on FanDuel) dominated the Bristol dirt race, leading 126 of 253 laps. However, he cut down a tire late and finished 19th. His second-place average running position is a much better indicator of his speed there than where he was on the final lap.
The other data listed is each driver's starting position, FanDuel salary, and win odds at FanDuel Sportsbook. The win odds are in fractional form, so Truex being listed at 4 means he's +400 to win.
|Martin Truex Jr.||$14,000||4||1||4||2||6||7||13||4||6||2||2|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$6,300||125||14||19||11||12||23||22||21||18||14||17|
You can see why Truex is the favorite. It's a mantle he has earned. But his teammate, Denny Hamlin ($13,000), is on a tear right now, as well.
Hamlin's worst average running position in the four races with the 750-horsepower package is fourth. That's also his worst finish in that sample, and he paired that with 276 laps out front last week in Martinsville. Hamlin hasn't closed the deal yet, but we need to view him near the top of the charts among potential lap-leaders.
In this week's track preview, we discussed the value of finding mid-range plays who can lead laps and get a top-five finish. Two drivers who stand out there are William Byron ($9,700) and Christopher Bell ($9,200).
Byron is coming off a fourth-place finish at Martinsville last week. He had a seventh-place average running position there and an 11th-place mark in Phoenix. Although his history in Richmond isn't impressive, he seems to have taken a step forward this year, making him an option at $9,700.
Bell is likely the more desirable between the two, though. Bell is benefiting from Joe Gibbs Racing's improvements in the 750-horsepower package, as evidenced by his 9th- and 11th-place average running positions in Phoenix and Martinsville, respectively.
Those improvements are key because we know Bell has talent at this track. He raced here five times in the Xfinity Series. He led 36.6% of the laps he ran and won three of the races. He's starting eighth, so there's no place-differential upside, but his win potential and the possibility of leading laps make him a top-tier play regardless.
Finally, it's worth noting that Austin Cindric ($6,000) is very in play despite his lack of data. He is a two-time runner-up at Richmond in the Xfinity Series, and he's driving for Team Penske, a team that has mopped up at the 750-horsepower tracks since the start of last year. He's the one value play with big place-differential upside in the field, making Cindric a key piece if you're trying to jam in more lap-leaders.