NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Hollywood Casino 400
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 discusses 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 Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway on FanDuel.
|Practice||Saturday, September 10th
12:00 p.m. EST
|Qualifying||Saturday, September 10th
12:45 p.m. EST
This is exactly the same weekend schedule as last week except the race will be Sunday afternoon.
Kansas is as "cookie cutter" as it gets. The 1.5-mile track has pretty normal tire wear, multiple grooves for racing, and a pretty standard schedule of laps (267) for DFS.
We saw all 6 Toyotas finish inside the top-10 spots here, and intermediate speed is the end-all, be-all when finding drivers to the roster this week. It's no surprise that drivers that were fast at Kansas -- and its middle-of-the-road profile -- in May were also fast at Charlotte, Michigan, and other tracks of that same nature.
There shouldn't be a huge derivation from the drivers fastest in our relevant sample and which ones lead practice, but I'm open to changing my mind on some drivers if their practice times look significantly better or worse than expected.
General Lineup Strategy
With 267 laps on the docket (and 26.7 FanDuel points from laps led), we'll want to hunt lap leaders up front.
In May, Kurt Busch led 116 laps, and no other driver led more than 37 laps. Last year, Kyle Larson led 132 and 130 laps, respectively, in the pair of races. In recent samples, one driver has concentrated a large chunk of laps, but you'll still want to roster at least two shots at who it might be regardless of starting spot.
As for value plays, there hasn't been a racier style of track than 1.5-milers in 2022. Of the 20 top-10 finishers between Charlotte and Kansas this year, 6 of them started 18th or worse. You can make passes, and finding fast drivers starting deeper in the field is absolutely ideal.
However, Christopher Bell made the perfect lineup in both races from a top-five starting spot. The ultimate goal is to find fast cars, so don't get totally wrapped up in a starting-spot-centric approach.
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 Kansas (Spring) - 55%
2022 Charlotte (Spring) - 25%
2022 Texas All-Star (Spring) - 10%
2022 Michigan (Fall) - 10%
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 of leading 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'll be pretty shocking if this race doesn't run through Toyota.
They dominated this race in May with Kurt Busch, and all six Yoters finished inside the top 10. That's why Denny Hamlin ($14,000) is at the top of the salary pool and tops Jim Sannes' win simulations as well. I'm expecting he and Kyle Busch ($13,500) should make a statement this weekend after Busch's misfortune last week leading late.
However, on speed, Ross Chastain ($10,500) should be right there. Chastain dominated at Charlotte in May, leading 153 laps and winning a pair of stages. Chastain's seventh-place effort at Kansas wasn't world-beating, but he has the fastest median lap time sample this week, and his salary makes him a supplemental play to one of the Toyotas anyway.
Kyle Larson ($12,000) also has a top-five median sample at these relevant tracks, but he's been snake-bitten this year in terms of luck on them. If "Yung Money" Larson -- last year's 1.5-mile ace -- shows speed in practice, I'll be in. Teammate Chase Elliott ($13,000) is ninth in the sample, so he's got far more to prove.
Just for record-keeping purposes, your other Toyotas are Martin Truex Jr. ($12,500), Christopher Bell ($11,500), Bubba Wallace ($8,500), and Ty Gibbs ($7,500). They're the overwhelming favorites, so watch practice times to confirm which ones appear to have the best speed heading to Sunday.
Most likely to spoil the Gibbs/Hendrick parade, to me, appears to be Tyler Reddick ($11,000) and Ryan Blaney ($10,000). Reddick led 24 laps in May before an issue, and Blaney has the seventh-best median average ranking in the sample. Don't discount Kevin Harvick ($9,500) after his dominant run at Michigan, too.
Daniel Suarez ($8,000) is my favorite mid-range play this week. Chastain's teammate led 36 laps at Charlotte in May as well. Yes, shockingly, that was the last 1.5-mile track the Cup Series raced on.
The only driver under $7,000 with a top-15 average median ranking is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,500), but we know the obvious downside with he dubbed "Wrecky Spinhouse".
Be malleable to value plays in practice and qualifying -- especially if they practice well and have an issue in time trials. As of now, other top-20 median average rankings to watch entering the weekend are Austin Dillon ($7,800), Austin Cindric ($7,200), Chase Briscoe ($7,000), and Brad Keselowski ($6,000).
Though bad luck has forced them down the median charts, I'd also toss last week's surprise winner Erik Jones ($6,800) and Chris Buescher ($5,800) in that group. A car capable of winning at Darlington shouldn't be $6,800 at Kansas despite the two tracks' obvious differences.