Daily Fantasy NASCAR Race Preview & Picks for DraftKings - Coke Zero Sugar 400
Now’s your chance to get DFSR PRO, which will give you access to our MLB optimizer and our new player lab! Get started for free by clicking the button below.
First time with MLB? Be sure to read our free MLB Ebooks on building lineups, general strategy and more. We've got you completely covered.
Coke Zero Sugar 400
Daytona International Speedway - Daytona Beach, FL
Track - 2.5 Mile Superspeedway(Restrictor Plate)
Welcome back races fans. It was a very exciting finish last week in Chicago where Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch played bumper tag on the final lap with Busch eventually coming out on top to pick up his fifth win of the season. Through six races on the mile and a half tracks, Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch have split the wins down the middle each with three on the season.
This week the Monster Energy Cup Series heads back to Daytona International Speedway for the Coke Zero Sugar 400 this Saturday night. It is the third restrictor plate race of the season and first since Talladega back at the end of April. As we discussed in the past, the strategy is a little different at a plate race than others. With the race only having 160 laps plus the many lead changes due to drafting, the importance of dominator points is greatly reduced. The biggest thing we will be looking for this week is place differential as 10 or more drivers have tallied double-digit place differential in five of the last six races here at Daytona(nine in the other). The other thing we can look at from a strategy standpoint is stacking teammates or cars from the same manufacturer as they tend to work together in the draft.
With all that said, let's jump in and take a look at some race trends and some pre-qualifying targets. Then stay tuned as my DFS NASCAR Cheatsheet will be updated through practices and qualifying and I will be posting my top picks for the race.
Last Six Winners at Daytona
- 2018 Daytona 500 - Austin Dillon(started 14th)
- 2017 Coke Zero 400 - Ricky Stenhouse Jr.(started 6th)
- 2017 Daytona 500 - Kurt Busch(started 8th)
- 2016 Coke Zero 400 - Brad Keselowski(started 5th)
- 2016 Daytona 500 - Denny Hamlin(started 11th)
- 2015 Coke Zero 400 - Dale Earnhardt Jr.(started 1st)
Top 5 Current Track History at Daytona
Bubba Wallace has only raced here twice in his young career but is already making a name for himself at Daytona with a 15th place finish in the Coke Zero 400 last year and a runner-up finish at the Daytona 500 this year. Before Bubba, it was Aric Almirola in the #43 car for Richard Petty and now the #10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing. It doesn't matter what car he drivers here at Daytona he has been consistent and over the last two, years he has four Top 15 finishes. If you are looking for value this week, don't overlook Michael McDowell who returns to Daytona with five straight Top 15 finishes including three Top 10's(two straight). Joey Logano has proven to be a top restrictor plate driver and over the last two years(five races) here at Daytona, he has posted four finishes of 6th or better with the one outlier being a crash at the Coke Zero 400 last year. Rounding out the Top 5 is A.J. Allmendinger who has put together three straight Top 10's here at Daytona which also puts him at #2 overall in fantasy points per race on both sites in that span.
Top 5 Career Track History at Daytona
We talked about Wallace above and his success in his first two starts at Daytona and right behind him is another young driver in Austin Dillon. He won this year's Daytona 500 with a thrilling last-lap pass on Aric Almirola and through his first 10 Daytona races has two Top 5's, six Top 10's and an impressive 13.8 average finish leading all drivers other than Bubba. Clint Bowyer is still in search of his first win here at Daytona but over his career has been pretty consistent with 12 Top 10's and a 15.8 average finish in 25 races. His above average starting positions over the last couple years have hurt his fantasy output, especially on DraftKings where place differential is more important. Rounding out the Top 5 are two of the best plate racers we have seen in the series with Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin who both have one career win here at Daytona and eight Top 10 finishes.
Top 5 Current Track Type History(Restrictor Plate Races)
Aric Almirola has steadily improved on the plate tracks over the years and in his last nine races has impressed with three Top 5's, five Top 10's, and a 10.3 average finish. From a 2018 fantasy perspective, he also leads all drivers with an average of 66.6 DK/66.5 FD points per race. I mentioned Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin above being two of the best plate racers and sure enough, they hit the Top 5 here on this list. Logano grabbed the checkered flag at the latest race in Talladega and has five Top 5's and seven Top 10's between the two tracks in his last 10 restrictor plate races. He is also second to Almirola this season with an average of 58.4 DK/65.7 FD points per race. Hamlin won the 2016 Daytona 500 and while he has just four Top 10's in his last 10 plate races, he has been consistent with a 12.7 average finish. Rounding out the Top 5 is Kurt Busch who won last year's Daytona 500 and in the last 10 plate races has six Top 10's and a 13.3 average finish.
Top 5 Current Form (Last Six Races)
With his fifth win on the season, Kyle Busch once again takes over the top spot in the form ranks. He is the only driver to finish each of the last six races inside the Top 10 and for fantasy, he has also led a series-high 449 laps. Martin Truex Jr. and Kevin Harvick are the only other two drivers to post five Top 10's in the last six races. Harvick sits second in fantasy scoring on DraftKings in that time with 291 laps led but Truex sits second on FanDuel with his two wins and 4.7 average finish. Brad Keselowski is still searching for his first win of the season but consistency has been the name of the game as he has the third-best average finish(8.5) over the last six races with four Top 10's. Clint Bowyer rounds out the Top 5 on the form ranks as he has bounced back nicely after three straight finishes outside the Top 10. He won at Michigan and followed that up with back to back Top 5 finishes at Sonoma and Chicago.
Pre Qualifying/Practice Targets
He won the most recent plate race at Talladega and comes back to Daytona after a 4th place finish at the Daytona 500 this February. Over the last two years, he leads all drivers with four Top 10's in the last five Daytona races and is one of the best plate track racers in the field. I will have exposure no matter where he starts but his value skyrockets if he was to qualifying outside the Top 10. For GPP formats, stack him with either Brad Keselowski or Ryan Blaney.
Almirola has just one Top 10 in his last four races here at Daytona but with an average starting position of 24.5 and an average finish of 10.5, he sits third in both DraftKings(57.6) and FanDuel(62.7) points per race on the sheet over the last three races. He has also been money on plate tracks with five Top 10 finishes in his last nine races and leads all drivers with an average of 66.6 DK/66.5 FD points per race this season on plate tracks. At these prices, he is a near lock in all formats if he again qualifies poorly.
Paul Menard(DK- $7,400 FD- $9,000)
Another driver who has qualified poorly(27.4) here at Daytona is Paul Menard. Over the last two years, he has posted two Top 5's and three Top 10's in his last five races here and leads all drivers in that time with an average of 62.6 DK/65.2 FD points per race. Make room for him in your lineups this week.
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 four years and fantasy in general for more than a decade. He is active player in NFL, MLB, NHL, 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.