NASCAR Daily Fantasy Helper: Wurth 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.
With all of this in mind, let's preview the Wurth 400 at Dover International Speedway on FanDuel.
|Practice||Saturday, April 29th
10:30 a.m. EST
|Qualifying||Saturday, April 29th
11:20 a.m. EST
We're back to the traditional practice and qualifying format this weekend, and it'll be great to have that data.
Dover International Speedway is now arguably the hardest race to prepare for and project. This 1.0-mile, high-banked oval now has no track that's even a remotely close comparison before this race. Bristol (a similar half-mile oval) now has dirt on the surface each spring, which totally changes the grip and tire wear conversation.
It's in the short-track family, so we have a general idea of who should run well with similar faces dominating short tracks of all shapes and sizes this season. Still, I'll be as open to practice strength as a factor in selecting drivers as just about any weekend on the circuit. This one is unique.
General Lineup Strategy
Obviously, 400 miles is 400 laps at a one-mile track. That's 40.0 points available on FanDuel for laps led.
As a result, we're back to a short-track mindset of needing to target lap leaders. Last year's race at Dover wasn't the best example of this; four different drivers led over 65 laps, and two of them had late-race problems.
In 2021, we got a better example. Alex Bowman and Kyle Larson combined to lead 361 of the 400 laps and made the perfect lineup.
This track has also become increasingly difficult to pass on, so the optimal value-play selection might not be intuitive. Of the last 20 top-10 finishers at Dover, only 3 started outside the top-20 positions.
There are plenty of laps to work forward and mistakes happen, which could shuffle the field a bit. It's an interesting trend to keep in mind, though.
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 or a top-20 finish this season were included.
MLT Rank is the driver's weighted average median lap time ranking at the relevant sample of similar race tracks to this weekend as a great indicator of overall speed. The prior races in the sample (with weight percentage) this week are:
2022 Dover (Spring) - 50%
2023 Phoenix (Spring) - 25%
2023 Martinsville (Spring) - 25%
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.
If the track has had pavement and been shorter than a half-mile this season, Hendrick Motorsports has dominated.
William Byron ($13,500) won at Phoenix, and Kyle Larson ($14,000) won at Richmond and Martinsville. Chase Elliott ($13,000) led 73 laps and won here last year. The organization also swept the top-four spots at Dover in 2021. All are rightful favorites to win this weekend, and Josh Berry ($8,700) could have plenty of success as a value play while replacing the injured Alex Bowman.
Jim's simulations are absurdly high on Larson, expecting him to win over one in five tries. If Larson starts just a touch deeper in the field, I'll happily pivot to his teammates if they start closer to the front.
Of course, we've got alternatives, and Kevin Harvick ($12,000) is comfortably first among them. He's scored top-10 finishes at all three shorties in 2023 thus far, and Harvick has finished inside the top 10 in eight straight Dover races.
Christopher Bell ($12,500) and Denny Hamlin ($11,500) should be names to watch if Joe Gibbs Racing shows up with improved speed this weekend. Bell is second to only Harvick in this weekend's median blend, and Hamlin has led over 65 laps in three of the past five at Dover.
If there's a horse for the course, their teammate Martin Truex Jr. ($10,500) would be it. Truex has a top-five finish in 8 of the past 11 events at Dover, and he was running in the top five last year before a late run-in with Ross Chastain ($11,000).
With an emphasis on laps led, there could be a few quality third candidates to lead laps inside your particular FanDuel lineup. It's fully plausible any of Kyle Busch ($9,500), Ryan Blaney ($9,000), or Tyler Reddick ($8,500) is the dominant car of the weekend.
RFK Racing was particularly strong here a year ago. Chris Buescher ($7,800) secured the pole position and a top-10 finish, and Brad Keselowski ($8,000) might have if not for a pit issue. Both have top-12 median blends when factoring in their 2023 work on short tracks, too.
One other value name I'll have in droves is Ryan Preece ($6,200). Preece was dominating at Martinsville before a speeding penalty, and Preece won his only race in top-shelf Xfinity Series equipment here back in April 2018. His teammates Chase Briscoe ($7,500) and Aric Almirola ($7,000) were also strong at Martinsville.
Austin Cindric ($5,000) had the fastest median time here one year ago, so it'll be interesting to see if he recaptures some of that form. In addition to Cindric, several fast Chevrolets like Daniel Suarez ($6,500), Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($6,000), and Austin Dillon ($5,200) lurk in this same tier. Stenhouse finished second here last year.