NASCAR

Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard

Kurt Busch carries a low FanDuel salary for the Indianapolis road course despite a stellar record on similar tracks recently. Who else has been noteworthy on the road courses in 2021?

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.

Road
Courses
Current
Form
DriverFD
Salary
Win
Odds
StartPracticeWatkins
Glen
Road
America
SonomaCOTADaytona
2021
Charlotte
2020
Daytona
2020
New
Hampshire
RichmondPhoenix
William Byron$11,000241291215181581315811
Chase Briscoe$8,50035271217191222----232319
Chase Elliott$14,0001.83231575858381212
Kyle Larson$13,5002.843473710----82111
Daniel Suarez$5,00017051726371835192626211824
Martin Truex Jr.$13,00096141372571182046
Joey Logano$10,0002478151311758122032
A.J. Allmendinger$10,50024816--17--1417----------
Ross Chastain$7,500479191010141030----91620
Cole Custer$5,700170101218212030121822152519
Tyler Reddick$7,800311110138171425162381521
Michael McDowell$6,700150121423221611202011242724
Austin Cindric$9,00020135--27--10--------26--
Denny Hamlin$12,0001714488121541951124
Matt DiBenedetto$7,000751591281917272115101114
Ryan Blaney$8,700321611151916232112144125
Christopher Bell$11,500171761011173061115789
Aric Almirola$6,50017018251618212317211681214
Chris Buescher$6,000150192421161716152016242623
Kurt Busch$8,2003520281511912999111514
Kyle Busch$12,500122118988721112036918
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.$4,500200223317253221232218161812
Austin Dillon$5,5001702313161919191422--201021
Alex Bowman$9,2003224221811121517112311817
Kevin Harvick$9,500322520821173391618478
Corey LaJoie$3,500200261523242118272526242224
Bubba Wallace$4,000200272924222731251920222416
Erik Jones$5,000200282623191520211113202317
Justin Haley$3,00020029272626--3630----263828
Ryan Preece$4,500200303625392512181520242725
Brad Keselowski$8,00075312124201322169153104
Ryan Newman$4,000200323221272422232624222827
Anthony Alfredo$3,50020033352829242230----323236
James Davison$3,000200343135312732283031363533
Andy Lally--20035----------------------
Josh Bilicki$2,0002003630302830303231--313735
Cody Ware$2,5002003737--32302830----333635
Quin Houff$2,500200383932343433403235333433
Garrett Smithley--20039383535353533--33383835
Timmy Hill--2004040--------363430----38


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.