Fantasy Racing Cheat Sheet | 2017 Daytona International Speedway, Coke Zero 400
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2017 Daytona International Speedway, Coke Zero 400

Congratulations to Kevin Harvick who became the eleventh different winner of the series this season. Clint Bowyer overcame a spin with damage to his car and a pit road speeding penalty to finish second followed by Brad Keselowski who also had a lot of damage to his car in third place. There are still ten more races to go before the playoffs start and I think we will see a few more first time winners on the season before that happens.

COKE ZERO 400

This week the series goes from a road course track to a restrictor plate track as the drivers head back to the Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coke Zero 400. This will be the last restrictor plate track on the schedule until the series goes back to Talladega during the playoffs and it could be a race where we get a new winner on the year. We’ve seen it before where any driver can win at this track on any given day. If you have a car that drafts well and can get some help you can win here as we saw with Trevor Bayne and David Ragan is past seasons. Plus we have quite a few other drivers who have won at this track before and are still looking for their first win of the season.

Denny Hamlin: I am picking Denny to get his first win of the season this weekend at Daytona. This team has been consistently fast at the restrictor plate tracks the past few seasons and they look like they are getting better and better every week. I think the Gibbs teams always have a good strategy at Daytona and Talladega and they work well together at these tracks too. Denny gets a push from a teammate on the last lap and uses it to propel himself to victory lane.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Dale will be the sentimental favorite this weekend in his final start here in this series when he is running for points. He will probably run races here in the future, but he won’t be running for points in those races, just for the win. I think he is going to do everything he can to pick up the win that will put him in position to run for a championship in his final full-time season in the Cup series. He leads all active drivers in wins and laps lead at this track and he wants to lead the last lap this weekend.

Joey Logano: Joey has finished in the top six in four of his last five starts at this track including winning the Daytona 500 last season. This team has really struggled lately and this is the type of place where they can get back on track. The Ford’s have shown a lot of speed and power and they have won both of the restrictor plate races run this year with Kurt Busch winning at Daytona and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. winning at Talladega.

Kevin Harvick: Now that he has his first win of the season he will be able to relax a little. This doesn’t mean that he is going to lay back on the track though. The pressure is off to get the first win, but he wants to win a bunch of races and rack up some bonus points. He has finished in the top four in three of his last five starts at Daytona and would love to make it back to back wins at two very different tracks.

Kurt Busch: Kurt won the Daytona 500 this year and lead the only lap that really mattered to him in that race. He has three top five finishes in his last five starts here and he always runs well at the other restrictor plate track on the circuit. I think this team would love to get another win right now so they can use it as a stepping stone to becoming more consistent as we get closer to the playoffs.

Brad Keselowski: Brad won this race last year and always seems to run well at both restrictor plate tracks. He leads a lot of laps at these tracks, but always seems to get caught up in some wreck somewhere along the line during the races, mostly through just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He will have a fast car once again this weekend just like teammate, Joey Logano, and will have a shot at claiming another victory this week if he can avoid trouble on the track or mechanically.

Clint Bowyer: Clint came close to picking up his first win of the season last weekend and I think this team will build on that momentum. Clint runs well here no matter if he is running for a top tier team or one of the lesser funded teams in the sport. He has four top ten finishes in his last six starts at Daytona and would love to pick up his first ever win here and first on the season to qualify himself for the playoffs in his first year at Stewart-Haas Racing.

Trevor Bayne: Trevor picked up his first and only career win at this track the first time he ever raced here. Now that the Roush/Fenway teams have shown they have a lot of speed once again this year and with Ricky Stenhouse Jr. winning at Talladega, this team could be a factor this weekend. He has finished in the top ten here in three of his last four starts and will have the speed and power to run up front once again this weekend.

Austin Dillon: Austin has always run well at both restrictor plate tracks during his short career and they have shown what they can do with fuel mileage this year too. He could steal another victory on fuel mileage, but I think he could win this race outright because he knows how to run in the draft. Late race restarts could be the key for all drivers this weekend because if you don’t get a good jump, you could find yourself wrecked when the field bottle-necks behind you.

Matt Kenseth: Matt could really use a win at this point of the season and he is one of the most patient drivers in the series. That goes a long way when it doesn’t really matter where you are early in the race unless you are really trying to get some stage points, but stage points don’t matter if you don’t make the playoffs. The real strategy for teams without a win right now is to get that win with only ten races left before the start of the playoffs.

YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

Yahoo Driver Group A

  • Denny Hamlin
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Yahoo Driver Group B

  • Trevor Bayne
  • Austin Dillon
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  • Kasey Kahne

Yahoo Driver Group C

  • Michael McDowell
  • Erik Jones

MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

  1. Denny Hamlin
  2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  3. Joey Logano
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Brad Keselowski

Dark Horse: Trevor Bayne

Stay Away From: Jamie McMurray

Big 18: Dale Earnhardt Jr.

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  • Darren

    What are your thoughts on the 24?

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      If you are in the Yahoo league don’t waste a start on him at this track. Too many chances to get caught up in a big wreck. Otherwise pick your favorites.

      Reply
      • Darren

        Sounds good Jeff! What do you think about using 24 for qualifying points? He has two poles at Daytona. 🙂

        Reply
        • Jeff Gutowski

          Use those you feel will qualify well, but try not to put them in the starting spot if they win the pole : )

          Reply
  • Joey

    This could also be a good race to actually use Menard for once as a Save-a-Start. 5th and 9th on the restrictor plates so far this year.

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      There really isn’t a bad driver to start in the whole field, unless you are limited in their starts for the year like in the Yahoo league. Then don’t use drivers who you will use on other tracks because of the potential for the big wreck.

      Reply
      • Joey

        Yeah, I haven’t used Menard or Danica yet this year. And I have 8 starts with Austin and Bayne, so that’s probably my B-roster.

        Reply
        • Darren

          AJ Dinger 47 has been pretty stout on plate races too.

          Reply
  • Josh

    Do you think Darrell Wallace will be competitive this week for a top 10? He has done good in the Xfinity at Daytona and the 43 car has been strong there in the past.

    Reply
    • Darren

      I like 43 and 95 this week for C group.

      Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      McDowell always runs well at the restrictor plate tracks and I like Erik Jones for qualifying points.

      Reply
  • Doug

    Who do you like better between the 2 and 22?

    Reply
    • Darren

      22 needs the win more…for playoffs.

      Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      The way they have been running lately I like Keselowski better. However, he seems to be in the wrong place in these races all the time. With them both being teammates they should have cars that are equally good so it is more to do with luck where they finish than anything this week.

      Reply
  • randy

    what about sadler

    Reply
  • randy

    what about sadler in c

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      Not very fast in practice and he didn’t qualify well, but this is a restrictor plate race, so anything goes.

      Reply
  • Dave

    How about Larson? He Was in it till he ran out of gas.

    Reply
    • Jeff Gutowski

      I wouldn’t use Larson tonight unless you have unlimited starts for him. The potential for a top tier driver to get caught up in a wreck outweigh the chances he will win this race. If you have limited starts for him he will get used up easily before the end of the season without taking chances on a restrictor plate track.

      Reply
  • Darren

    Start: 11, 3, 17, 95

    Bench: 88, 21, 24, 38

    Reply

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