NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Dixie Vodka 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 Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on FanDuel.
|Practice||Saturday, October 22nd
10:00 a.m. EST
|Qualifying||Saturday, October 22nd
10:45 a.m. EST
Maybe it's the teal walls or the cars not even a yard off them, but this is one of my favorite races of the year.
This worn, multi-groove, 1.5-mile track in Miami notoriously put on a great show as the site of the championship race. It's got a wonderful balance of passing and a refreshing twist away from "track position" racing. We'll see cars rising and fading on old tires all day.
Thankfully, we've also had two playoff races at 1.5-mile races with tire wear. Neither were as severe as Homestead's wear, but it still gives us a decent metric to go from.
The unique groove here also tends to favor a certain set of drivers, and most come from a dirt background. We'll highlight most of them.
General Lineup Strategy
This is the same deal as last week. We've got 267 laps (and 26.7 FanDuel points for laps led) available, and that means we'll need cars that can lead out front.
Last season, William Byron led 102 laps in his win, and the season before, Denny Hamlin led 137 laps on his way to victory. Typically, there is a dominant car that will emerge given the unique groove.
However, I'll probably be more open to place-differential options here than at previous 1.5-mile playoff races. The tire wear aspect can be huge. The previous two races yielded 20 top-10 finishers, and 8 of those top-10 finishers started 20th or worse.
Still, it might be optimal to take three swipes at the dominant car of the race. Joey Logano was a surprise from the mid-range who paid off last week, and he wasn't among the race's top-five favorites entering the day.
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 Las Vegas (Fall) - 50%
2022 Kansas (Fall) - 35%
2022 Kansas (Spring) - 15%
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 of potentially finishing 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.
I'm hoping Tyler Reddick ($14,000) sneaks under the radar. It's doubtful, though.
Reddick wasn't crazy fast last week in Las Vegas. He led 32 laps and finished 6th. However, Reddick is a horse for the course in Miami, posting two top-five finishes in his two career races. He also won two Xfinity Series races here that sealed his pair of championships.
Denny Hamlin ($13,500) dug himself out of the 31st starting spot last week to finish 5th, and he'll likely be a factor Sunday. He was the winner here back in 2020, and he won at the 1.5-miler in Charlotte back in May.
Speaking of Charlotte, it was great to see Ross Chastain ($12,500) pop on a 1.5-mile track last week in Vegas, leading 68 laps in a second-place run. Chastain finished 17th here last year in his first race in competitive equipment at Miami, but a low-grip, multi-groove track has Chastain's style written all over it.
Jim's model is absolutely awestruck with William Byron ($12,000), the defending Miami winner. Byron has been solid, evidenced by his ninth-place average median lap time ranking, but he didn't lead in Las Vegas and finished 15th. I'd be a bit surprised if he won this one.
Kyle Larson ($13,000) led more than 120 laps in back-to-back races here in 2016 and 2017, but he hasn't quite popped since then. He's an interesting dart with the third-fastest average median lap time rankings in the sample.
Penske Racing has dramatically improved its 1.5-mile program. Of course, Joey Logano ($11,500) won last week, but Ryan Blaney ($10,000) dominated practice and led 39 laps, as well. Austin Cindric ($7,500) is also a super viable value play from this stable.
Chase Elliott ($11,000) just may not have the firepower to advance without a win at Martinsville next week. He ran a pedestrian 21st last week, and 1.5-mile tracks have been his weakness all year.
You'll notice Martin Truex Jr. ($9,800) has posted the second-best average median ranking, but his best finish in this sample is fifth. He's probably going to need to start outside the top 10 to be viable.
As we slide into the value tier, Chase Briscoe ($8,500) is in a cycle lately. He's slow in practice, his median isn't very good, and he finds a way to the front late. I'll get there if he's starting deep in the field again.
Daniel Suarez ($8,000) actually led 31 laps last week before a spin. He's the best value play this week, and he's won an Xfinity Series race here.
We've got a more reasonable salary for A.J. Allmendinger ($7,000) this week, but he was legitimately fast in practice before his top-10 finish. He's playable if he's showing speed again, but Justin Haley ($5,500) could be a great punt in the same equipment.
Finally, in terms of value plays, 23XII teammates John Hunter Nemechek ($5,800) and Ty Gibbs ($5,700) could put up a good effort in Toyota equipment, but both have combined for just one Cup Series start here.
Other top-20 average median lap time rankings around them include Noah Gragson ($7,800), Michael McDowell ($6,800), and Austin Dillon ($5,300). Dillon actually joins Reddick, Hamlin, Truex, and Kyle Busch ($9,500) as the five active drivers with a top-10 average finish in the past three races here.