NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Kwik Trip 250
If you are looking for an action-packed way to consume sports on the weekend, 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, though!
numberFire is always your home for fantasy NASCAR advice. In addition to this helper, Jim Sannes takes a look at the best bets of the weekend in his betting guide. For driver picks and a full preview of the event, he also discussed this weekend's race on the latest NASCAR episode of The Heat Check Daily Fantasy Podcast.
With all of this in mind, let's preview the Kwik Trip 250 from Road America on FanDuel.
|Practice||Saturday, July 2nd
11:30 a.m. EST
|Qualifying||Saturday, July 2nd
12:30 p.m. EST
Road America is the only track in NASCAR longer than four miles (4.05), so we're going to get really poor data compared to normal from practice and qualifying.
A very solid car could make a mistake in qualifying and start toward the back. Conversely, we won't get 10-lap average data this weekend from practice, and single-lap speeds can be terribly unreliable.
A driver should undoubtedly hit all of his corner marks for a single lap -- in either session -- and post a great time, but he's not actually going to be fast during the race lap after lap.
Therefore, at this long, winding road course, I'll be happy to lean towards road course performance this year as the best indicator of what to expect. We've already seen two circuits with lefts and rights.
General Lineup Strategy
This is a weekend to pepper place-differential upside.
There are just 62 laps (and 6.2 FanDuel points) available for laps led. If a car leads 30-plus laps and crashes out of the event, the laps-led points will be a total non-factor.
Luckily, because of how big this track is, we usually have contenders starting towards the back. Last year, 5 of the top-12 finishers -- including winner Chase Elliott -- started 34th or worse. That was an extreme outlier because of a caution flag during qualifying, but it does only validate that cars starting toward the back can finish well.
Cars that are fast -- especially on five-lap average charts -- that don't qualify well should be considered the top plays in daily fantasy this weekend.
Of course, don't forget to target a car that is your target to win the race in every lineup -- even if that guy starts on the pole.
Below are my pre-qualifying rankings for each driver based on equipment, track history, recent form, and overall talent level -- in that order. Only drivers with a win probability above 0% in Jim Sannes' win simulations were included.
As a great indicator of overall speed, MLT Rank is the driver's average median lap time ranking at the relevant sample of similar race tracks to this weekend's. The prior races in the sample this week are:
2022 Circuit of the Americas (Spring)
2022 Sonoma (Spring)
For dominator viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale to potentially lead laps and win the race if they start upfront. A "10" is among the favorites to win the race, and a "0" has no realistic chance to lead the race at any point.
For flex play viability, the driver is ranked 0-10 on a scale to finish in terms of potential to finish inside the top 15 spots. These drivers will be better daily fantasy plays the further back in the field they start for optimal place-differential points.
It has been brutal to pass on flat tracks and road courses this year, so early-weekend speed will be worth its weight in gold to identify.
As a result, it's hard to pass on the favorite entering the weekend being Trackhouse Racing's pair of entries: Ross Chastain ($13,000) and Daniel Suarez ($11,500).
Chastain led 31 of the 69 laps at COTA, and Suarez dominated in Sonoma, leading 47 of 110 laps to score his first career win. Suarez also led 15 laps at COTA.
Both were fortunate, though, that the dominant road course drivers last year suffered issues in both races. Kyle Larson ($13,500) was involved in an incident at COTA, and crew chief Cliff Daniels made a grave strategy error in Sonoma that left Larson too deep in the field following Stage 1.
As for Chase Elliott ($14,000), he had contact with Kyle Busch ($12,000) at COTA, souring both of their days. He also had a pit-road penalty following Stage 2 in Sonoma after leading 26 laps.
Those are the four main contenders entering the weekend with Toyota struggling so badly at road courses this season.
The fastest one hasn't been Busch, Martin Truex Jr. ($9,800), or Denny Hamlin ($9,500), but Bubba Wallace ($5,500) actually had the fastest median lap time in both events. Wallace isn't a strong road course racer, so it's more of a knock on their speed at large than his value.
Penske Racing is probably the next-best place to turn. Ryan Blaney ($10,000) has the best median lap time average ranking of all drivers in the field, and Austin Cindric ($10,500) finally cashed in with a top-five finish at Sonoma. Cindric won five times in the Xfinity Series before this year's promotion to Cup. Don't forget top-10 road course staple Joey Logano ($12,500), either.
A.J. Allmendinger ($11,500) might be a bit overvalued at his salary in terms of actual win potential, but the veteran was leading at COTA on the last lap before Chastain crashed him. He also had three top-10 finishes -- including a win -- on road courses last season.
The better value is teammate Justin Haley ($4,500), who finished top 10 on every Xfinity Series road course last season. Haley just finished 12th at Sonoma.
Other value plays to watch include Chris Buescher ($7,000), Michael McDowell ($6,500), Cole Custer ($5,800), and Brad Keselowski ($5,200). Including Haley, those are the five drivers below $7,500 with a top-20 median lap time average ranking on road courses this season.