Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard
At this point in the year, ya either got it or ya don't.
Sunday's Verizon 200 at the Brickyard will be the NASCAR Cup Series' sixth road-course race of the season. That means drivers have had five shots to prove their road-racing prowess.
If they haven't flashed yet, why should we expect that to change this time around?
It's a luxurious spot to be in from a DFS perspective. We have a large sample on relevant tracks in the current year, and there will be practice on Saturday to boot. Sure, we have to deal with the annoyance of same-day qualifying -- a massive factor in our weekend plans -- but we know who's expected to contend this week.
We'll circle back to this sheet once practice and qualifying data is available. But let's take a look now at who figures to be in the mix on Sunday. (UPDATE: Sunday's qualifying and Saturday's single-lap practice rankings have since been added to the sheet.)
The data sheet below includes the seven road-course since the start of 2020, five of which are from 2021. The other three races are the three most recent races at shorter, flat, non-Martinsville tracks. There is a healthy amount of overlap between those and road courses, given the banking and braking zones, helping us to justify their inclusion. But the primary focus, obviously, should be the other road courses.
As always, the data listed is each driver's average running position rather than their finish. There are some big benefits to this; William Byron's ($11,000 on FanDuel) 12th-place average running position at Road America is a better representation of his speed than his 33rd-place finish. There are also some drawbacks, though.
Specifically, average running position undersells Chase Elliott ($14,000) last week. His average running position was 15th because he started in the back and had to make an extra pit stop after flat-spotting his tires. But Elliott -- because he's a demon on road courses -- made up for the mistake and might have caught Kyle Larson ($13,500) for the win had there been a few more laps.
As a result, I'd supplement all of this with actual finishing data via Racing Reference's fantasy tool. That specific link includes last year's road courses, too, but you can narrow the search to the past five road courses if you'd rather omit numbers when drivers may have been with different teams.
The other data listed is each driver's FanDuel salary and win odds on FanDuel Sportsbook. The win odds are in fractional form, so Elliott being listed at 1.8 means he's +180 to win. As a note, Timmy Hill, Garrett Smithley, and Andy Lally are in the field but do not have salaries on FanDuel.
|Martin Truex Jr.||$13,000||9||6||1||4||13||7||25||7||11||8||20||4||6|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$4,500||200||22||33||17||25||32||21||23||22||18||16||18||12|
The best range for this week is the mid-tier, where we can find three drivers who seem to be super under-salaried. Two of them are teammates in Kurt Busch ($8,200) and Ross Chastain ($7,500).
In the seven road-course races since the start of last year, Busch has four ninth-place average running positions, three top-five finishes, and an additional sixth-place finish. His worst finish in this stretch outside of a rain-soaked COTA (when he spun late while running well) is 14th. He has both consistency and upside that you rarely find at such a low salary.
Chastain ranks 10th in aggregate average running position on road courses this year. That's despite a crash early in Daytona that resulted in a 30th-place average running position. Since then, he has had a top-10 average running position three times, and he finished seventh in the one race he didn't meet that benchmark.
Busch and Chastain give you really solid finishing upside at bargain salaries. In general, we do want to favor drivers starting further back. These two guys may be the big exceptions among the non-studs due to how much better they grade out than their peers.
The other standout in this range is Austin Cindric ($9,000). He's a full $1,500 lower-salaried than fellow road-course ringer A.J. Allmendinger ($10,500) despite having flashed higher upside this year. Cindric had a 10th-place average running position at COTA and was leading at Road America when he broke a rear gear. Between the two, I'd favor Cindric straight up. Getting him at such a healthy discount just makes the decision even easier.