Daily Fantasy NASCAR: Current Form, Track History, and Betting Odds for the South Point 400
We need a Men in Black-style memory-erasing stick for Sunday night.
That's when the NASCAR Cup Series is heading to Las Vegas for the South Point 400. It's the first race in the Round of 12, meaning the 12 remaining playoff drivers will occupy the top 12 spots in the starting order.
We've gotten three playoff races already, and we know who was in contention across the opening round.
This week is going to be completely different.
Each of the three races in the opening round were on 750-horsepower tracks. Las Vegas utilizes the 550-horsepower package. Throughout this entire year, we've seen a different set of drivers compete for wins between the two packages.
Basically, everything we saw the past three weeks is meaningless. It's time for a complete reset.
The good thing is that we're not flying into this race with no data. It will be the seventh race this year on a 1.5-mile track, including one in Las Vegas back in March. None of these races were recent, but we can get a glimpse at speed in the 550-horsepower package by looking at the Michigan race in August. Even though that's a two-mile track, it still will illustrate who projects to be fast on Sunday.
That's the data we'll be leaning on for this week: the 1.5-mile tracks plus Michigan. It'll give us a good blend of more recent form with what we've seen at similar tracks throughout the season. And it does mean we'll be sapping our brains of what happened the past three weeks.
As always, the data on those races below is each driver's average running position rather than their finish. A good example of why we'd do this comes from Kyle Larson ($14,500 on FanDuel) and Ryan Blaney ($10,200) at Kansas. There, Blaney was starting on the outside of the front row for a late-race restart with Larson behind him. Larson pushed Blaney too far into the corner, though, and almost wrecked him.
Larson finished 19th with Blaney 21st, massively underselling how competitive those two cars were that day.
The other data listed is each driver's starting position, FanDuel salary, and win odds at NASCAR odds. The win odds are in fractional form, so Larson's being listed at 2.6 means he's +260 to win.
|Martin Truex Jr.||$12,000||9||4||14||11||14||9||9||5||7||7||8|
|Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||$6,700||170||22||20||35||12||19||14||16||15||23||15|
Our lineups need to revolve around Larson this week.
Here are Larson's average running positions on 1.5-mile tracks this year, in order: 5th, 3rd, 1st, 3rd, 1st, 9th. That ninth-place mark could be a concern as it's the lone race at a 1.5-mile track since Hendrick Motorsports (allegedly) had to re-work the noses of their cars to comply with NASCAR rules. However, Larson and his teammates had gobs of speed in Michigan, helping alleviate those concerns.
Larson has led 836 laps on 1.5-mile tracks this year; no other driver has led more than 152. He added a win on a 1.5-mile track in the All-Star Race, which isn't included in that tally. My win simulations have Larson winning 29.3% of the time, the highest for any driver this year. The second-highest mark was for Larson in the All-Star Race. We should be aggressive in our exposures to him here.
If we want to jam in Larson, though, we will need some salary-savers. Two who move the needle there are Austin Dillon ($8,200) and Chris Buescher ($7,000).
In the 6 races at 1.5-mile tracks this year, Dillon's worst finish is 12th. He has the 10th-best aggregate average running position on 1.5-mile tracks, ahead of playoff drivers Kevin Harvick ($11,500), Joey Logano ($10,500), and Christopher Bell ($9,500). Dillon's best finish in that time is sixth, but you don't need a top-five run from him at this salary from the 15th spot on the grid. He's firmly in the core-play consideration.
The same is true with Buescher, who will start even deeper in the pack in 25th. Buescher is 14th in aggregate average running position on these tracks and ranks 16th in my model's projected average running position. Using Buescher and Dillon won't fully clear the damage from Larson's lofty salary, but it comes close enough to make both desirable in all formats.