NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Verizon 200 at the Brickyard
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 Verizon 200 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on FanDuel.
|Practice||Saturday, July 30th
9:35 a.m. EST
|Qualifying||Saturday, July 30th
10:35 a.m. EST
This week's joint session should be handled just about identically to Road America's three weeks ago.
Road America was a longer circuit, but inevitably, we'll still have a couple of fast cars in practice that won't qualify well due to a mistake. They should be the top priorities of the weekend.
Last year, Indianapolis was actually one of the raciest road courses on the schedule. There were plenty of passing zones, playoff-point seekers that jumbled the running order, and a fiery crash occurred due to a poorly-placed curb that's now repaired.
Hopefully, this race won't be as stagnant as the road courses this season so far, but it's still a possibility. At Road America, six of the top-eight finishers also started in the top-eight spots. However, the perfect lineup still contained two other top-10 finishes that started outside the top 20.
General Lineup Strategy
Last year's strategy was a slam dunk on road courses -- target place-differential points.
With only 82 laps on Sunday (and 8.2 FanDuel points for laps led), it would be the strategy again if not for the aforementioned passing issues. This year, it's been much more important to just target fast cars. At Road America, 8 of the top-10 drivers had top-10 single-lap speeds in practice.
At Sonoma, only 6 of 10 top finishers were top-10 cars in practice, but that was also reduced by a late-race incident. My larger point still stands -- we need speed. Passing has been brutal.
Overall, you'll still want to plug in at least one "assumed" winner into your lineup that starts in the top-five spots. That winner -- a known contender -- can still be starting outside the top five, but I'll use no more than two drivers starting inside the top five in a given lineup no matter what.
There will be too many drivers in all salary tiers starting outside the top-10 positions that just carry far more place-differential upside should strategy or speed break their way.
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 weighted average median lap time ranking at the relevant sample of similar race tracks to this weekend. The prior races in the sample this week are:
2022 Circuit of the Americas (Spring) - 33.3%
2022 Sonoma (Spring) - 33.3%
2022 Road America (Spring) - 33.3%
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.
We know NASCAR's road course ace, Chase Elliott ($14,000), will be fast on Sunday. It's just a matter of how fast relative to his enormous popularity. Plus, there are other top alternatives that can beat him.
Kyle Larson ($13,500) ran ahead of Elliott all day at Indy last year, and he was strong in Sonoma before a strategy error. Ross Chastain ($13,000) won at COTA earlier this year and holds the fastest median lap time average ranking this season. Tyler Reddick ($12,500) and Daniel Suarez ($12,000) are the two other road-course winners this season.
Practice times should largely decide that tier, but don't forget about Austin Cindric ($11,500) and A.J. Allmendinger ($11,000) in the next. Cindric won the Xfinity Series race here last season, besting Allmendinger. A.J. survived the mayhem to score the win in this event last season.
Toyota has had absolutely nothing going on at road courses this season, so Kyle Busch ($10,000), Denny Hamlin ($9,500), Martin Truex Jr. ($9,200), and Christopher Bell ($8,000) are closer to traps than bargains at their reduced salaries.
Bell's ninth-place median lap time at Road America was their best mark on a road circuit all season. They're not contending for wins, and three still carry a salary where you'd need that to be the case in tournaments.
The hometown hero deserves a shout as well. Chase Briscoe ($8,200) nearly won this event last year before late-race contact with Hamlin. Briscoe also won Stage 1 at Road America a few weeks back before pit strategy shuffled him to a 14th-place finish.
Both Chris Buescher ($7,800) and Michael McDowell ($7,200) aren't sneaking under anyone's radar on road courses anymore. They've both scored two straight top-eight finishes, but the problem was they started towards the front in both. Either would be a better play in daily fantasy if they were to qualify outside the top-10 spots, but that's a huge "if" given the speed they've shown.
For value plays, Brad Keselowski ($6,800) and Justin Haley ($6,000) both have a pair of top-15 finishes and a top-20 average median lap time ranking overall on road courses this season. Cole Custer ($5,800) also has a top-20 average median lap time ranking, and his lone top-15 finish came at Road America (14th).