Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview - Geico 500
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Talladega Superspeedway - Talladega, AL
Track - 2.66 Mile Tri-Oval Superspeedway
33° of Banking in the Corner
Welcome back for another week of daily fantasy NASCAR. This week the Monster Energy Cup series travels to Talladega for the Geico 500 this Sunday afternoon. The second superspeedway race of the season brings a bit of a change-up in strategy after three of the last four races have been at short tracks. Instead of looking for laps led and dominator points we will look to gain an edge with place differential points. Over the past four years, the correlation to starting position has been the lowest of any track on the circuit. Not once has more than four drivers starting inside the Top 10 finished there. Looking even deeper, at least two drivers have started outside the Top 20 and finished inside the Top 10 with five last fall and more than three in six of the eight races. Needless to say, qualifying is going to be very important in setting our lineups this week.
Before jumping into my favorite early week picks, let's take a look at some of the race trends for Talladega from my cheatsheet.
Top 5 Track History at Talladega (2 Year)
Chase Elliott was very impressive in his first two races at Talladega last year finishing 12th and 5th. The problem for fantasy was that he qualified 4th and 1st in those races and ranked very low in final DraftKings points. Maybe this time around he can throw a bone to his fantasy owners? I doubt he cares! Talladega hasn't been one of Kurt Busch's best tracks but it hasn't been one of his worst either. Over the last two years, he has run really well with one Top 5 and three Top 10's with an 8.5 average finish. He won the last restrictor plate race at Daytona. Can he find his form this week and pick up his first win at Talladega?
As you can see no other driver in the Top 10 in average finish over the last two years has a win here which is in large part due to the "Big One" or two that happens every restrictor plate race. Not on the list but very impressive over the last two years is Joey Logano who has won two of the last three Talladega races. Brad Keselowski(136) and Dale Earnhardt Jr.(128) are the only two drivers to lead over 90 laps over the last two years and are the other two race winners outside of Logano.
Top 5 Track History at Talladega (Career)
We talked about Elliott and his small sample size and right behind him in career track history is Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who has two Top 5's and four Top 10 finishes in seven races. The only other driver with a career track history under a Top 15 finish is Clint Bowyer who has won here twice and finished inside the Top 10 in 12 races. Bowyer has also had an excellent start to the season with his new team and sits 9th in points with two Top 5's and four Top 10's. Tied with the fifth best career average finish are Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who have 10 race wins here between them. Look for the #88 team to give Dale everything and more to get him to victory lane in his last Talladega Spring race.
Top 5 Plate Track History (2 Year)
While Kurt Busch leads the way in average finish, it has been Joey Logano dominating the plate tracks over the last two years. He has three wins and has finished inside the Top 10 six times in nine races. Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, and Denny Hamlin have also had tremendous success here with five Top 10's each while Hamlin is tied with Logano and Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the most Top 5's(4) over the last two years.
Top 5 Current Form (Last 6 Races)
No change at the top with Kyle Larson still running like a grizzled veteran of the Cup series. With his win, Joey Logano jumps from #5 in the current form ranks to #2 and has finished inside the Top 5 in five of the last six races. Chase Elliott and Martin Truex Jr. have also dropped out of the Top 5 and have been replaced by Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick.
Early Week Picks
Joey Logano ($10,700)
Has won two of the last three races here at Talladega and has been one of the most consistent drivers all season. He has finished all but one race(31st at Phoenix) inside the Top 6 and is coming off his first win of the season.
Kevin Harvick ($9,300) Harvick took a big drop in salary(-$1,100) this week and is trending in the right direction to get his first win of the season. He comes into Talladega having finished each of the last three races inside the Top 5.
Harvick took a big drop in salary(-$1,100) this week and is trending in the right direction to get his first win of the season. He comes into Talladega having finished each of the last three races inside the Top 5.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. ($7,200)
His price went up slightly(+$200) but he is one of the top value plays early in the week. Even though he has only raced here seven times, his second best career average finish of 11.7 is very impressive. Better yet, he has a career average start of 17.9 meaning he could aslo be a great target for place differential points this week.
For a limited time, I am offering a copy of my DFS NASCAR cheathsheet which includes Track History, Current Form, Odds, Track Type History, Practice/Qualifying Ranks and much more. Get it HERE. I also have available my Race by Race Trends sheet you can view as well.
If you have any questions scroll down to the comment section and join the conversation.Good Luck everyone!
Chris Durell has been playing Daily Fantasy Sports for three years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is active player in college football, NFL, NBA, PGA, and of course NASCAR. He lives in Saskatchewan, Canada with his wife and two daughters. You can follow him on Twitter at @jager_bombs9 for advice, strategy, answers to any NASCAR questions or how he copes with the winters up north.
- NASCAR Phoenix Auto Racing: (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)