Congratulations to Kyle Busch, who picked up the win at Sonoma last weekend. I had him as my Stay Away From driver because I wasn’t sure how well he would run on a track that involves a lot of shifting and braking. He showed that he is healthy enough not to let that bother him and now all he has to do is move into the top thirty in points and he will be qualified for the Chase.
COKE ZERO 400
This week the series heads to Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coke Zero 400. This is the third restrictor plate race on the schedule and I think you will see drivers who are already qualified for the Chase doing some testing and taking a few chances. This is the last time they can do this before the Chase starts and they head to Talladega for the last of these races on the year.
Once again I will caution you not to use the best drivers at this track if you are limited in the number of times you can use them during the season like the Yahoo league. In the A Group you are okay to choose anyone you would like, but be careful in the B and C Groups. There is just too big of a risk of drivers getting caught up in a wreck when they are running three-wide and all within a second or two of each other.
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: I will pick Dale to win this week’s race. He always seems to have a car that performs well in the draft and he knows how to handle the draft. He has won three times at Daytona and has six wins at Talladega, including the race there this spring. With twelve top five and eighteen top ten finishes in thirty-one starts, Dale is one of the most consistent drivers at this track.
Jimmie Johnson: Jimmie is no slouch at the restrictor plate tracks either. He also has three wins at Daytona and two at Talladega where he finished second to Dale this spring. Overall, Jimmie has ten top five and thirteen top ten finishes in twenty-seven starts at Daytona. I think the Hendrick cars will all do well once again this weekend.
Joey Logano: Joey won the Daytona 500 this year but, the car he used in that race is at Daytona U.S.A. and he won’t be able to use it this weekend. I don’t think it should make too much of a difference as the Penske teams always hae good cars that run well in the draft at the restrictor plate tracks. I think one of the biggest things for all drivers in these races is patience. Wait until the end before trying to make too many moves to get to the front.
Jeff Gordon: Jeff has won six races at Daytona and six races at Talladega throughout his career and that leads all active drivers. I think Jeff is starting to feel the pressure as the races wind down heading into the Chase. He wants to get a win and qualify for the Chase in his last full-time season so he can take another shot at a title and try to go out at the top of his game.
Kevin Harvick: This car has been super fast for the past two seasons and Kevin is one of those drivers you might not hear anything about early in the race and then it is like, “Where did he come from?”. He has won two races at Daytona and with the speed this team always carries, he should have no problem drafting with anybody and being able to pull out and pass when he wants to.
Kurt Busch: Kurt has had cars just as fast as Kevin this year and he also knows how to run in the draft. Although he has never won a restrictor plate race, Kurt has had cars that are capable of winning more often than not. He always seems to have a problem in the pits or chooses the wrong strategy which puts him behind too many cars on a late race restart and he either gets caught up in an accident or runs out of time. He is very capable of going to victory lane this weekend.
Matt Kenseth: Matt is another driver with multiple wins at Daytona. This team is qualified for the Chase and knows that this is an opportunity to prepare for the race at Talladega during the Chase. Matt will run at the front, but if he has a problem and gets shuffled to the back he has the patience and understanding to know that he has a lot of time to carefully make his way back to the front of the field. That is what helps you stay in contention and win races at this type of track.
Clint Bowyer: Clint had a great run at Sonoma last weekend and is always pretty good at Daytona. Even though the MWR cars haven’t had the speed they need on the intermediate tracks, I think they have a good draft package and Clint seems to know who his car works the best with. If he can find that driver and stick with them towards the end of the race, this team could pull of a mini upset.
Jamie McMurray: Jamie is another driver who doesn’t have the finishes he could have at the restrictor plate tracks, but they always seem to have a fast car. A mechanical failure or on track incident is what usually knocks him out of contention and if their luck changes they could very well find themselves in victory lane this weekend.
YAHOO! FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Yahoo Driver Group A
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Jimmie Johnson
Yahoo Driver Group B
- Trevor Bayne
- Casey Mears
- Austin Dillon
- Kyle Larson
Yahoo Driver Group C
- Ryan Blaney
- Danica Patrick
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
- Dale Earnhardt Jr.
- Jimmie Johnson
- Kevin Harvick
- Kurt Busch
- Jeff Gordon
Dark Horse: Ryan Blaney
Stay Away From: Martin Truex Jr.