I’m posting this before the Chicago race is finished because I know most of you want my picks for next week already.
COKE ZERO SUGAR 400
This week the drivers head back to to the Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Core Zero Sugar 400. This is scheduled to be a Saturday night race, so make sure you have your lineups set before your deadline approaches. This race will also take us to the halfway point of the season, so depending on where you are in your league you can make a plan for the second half after this race.
Denny Hamlin: Denny won the Daytona 500 this year and that car now sits at Daytona USA, so he will have a different body for this race. Still, he is the odds on favorite to win again as he has run very well on the restrictor plate tracks lately. He has finished in the top six in seven of his last eleven starts here including two wins. He should be in your lineup this weekend unless you don’t have many starts left with him. In that case it isn’t worth taking a chance on him getting involved in the “Big One”.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.: Ricky is always exciting to watch at the restrictor plate tracks. He makes a lot of bold moves to gain track position throughout the race and that doesn’t always work out the best for him as he might tick off other drivers who won’t want to help him in the draft when he needs them to. However, he is still one of the fastest drivers on the track and you can probably afford to take a chance on him this week.
Joey Logano: Joey is another driver to really watch on this type of track. He has finished in the top six in six of his last nine starts here including his only win back in 2015. We have seen the Penske power this year and that really helps when trying to pass cars if you don’t get any help. I have seen Joey pass multiple cars for the lead here when he doesn’t get that help, so when he does get help he is really fast.
Erik Jones: Erik won this race last year and then followed that up with a third place finish in this year’s Daytona 500. He has three top ten finishes in five starts at this track and it seems that all of the Joe Gibbs drivers are pretty good on this type of track. Here is another driver you might only want to use if you have enough starts left with him. There is a lot of season to go and you might not want to take the chance here.
Paul Menard: Paul is a driver you might want to take a chance on this week. He has finished in the top six in three of his last five starts here and we remember what Trevor Bayne did for the Wood Brothers in the Daytona 500 not so long ago. I think it would be safe to use Paul here as you probably won’t use up all of his starts the rest of the season anyway.
Ryan Preece: Yes, Ryan Preece. Ryan finished eighth here in his only Daytona start in this series, but why am I giving him some press? If I look back at AJ Allmendinger who drove this same car for JTG Daugherty Racing before Ryan took over this season I see that this car has finished in the top ten at Daytona in its last five starts. No other team can say this about a single car.
Michael McDowell: Here is another shout out to someone we might not think to much about for our fantasy teams. Michael has finished in the top fifteen in six of his last seven starts at Daytona with four of those finishes being top ten and those are great stats for someone in the C group. He is another driver to take a chance on this weekend and has a bit more experience than Preece.
Ryan Newman: Ryan has three top ten finishes in his last four starts here and he should have a car that handles just as well as teammate Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He should also have that same speed and he will be a little more patient which could help him stay out of trouble early in the race. I think we use him at restrictor plate or short tracks this year.
Austin Dillon: Austin won the Daytona 500 two years ago and has seven top ten finishes in his twelve starts at this track. He is another driver who you might want to take a chance on this week, but he has been running pretty well for the most part this year. Maybe have him on your roster and see how some of the other drivers you have do in practice before you decide to start him or not.
Alex Bowman: Alex seems to be patient and willing to push other drivers which doesn’t give him a big chance to win this race, but it keeps him moving forward. If you can stay out of trouble here until late in the race you have a chance to win no matter what you were doing earlier in the race. I think there are more drivers who have confidence in drafting with Alex and if you can get or give some help you can get repaid at the end of this race.
DRIVER GROUP GAME FANTASY NASCAR PICKS FOR DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
Driver Group Game Group A
- Joey Logano
- Chase Elliott
Driver Group Game Group B
- Paul Menard
- Austin Dillon
- Alex Bowman
- Ryan Newman
Driver Group Game Group C
- Ryan Preece
- Michael McDowell
MY TOP-5 OVERALL AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
- Denny Hamlin
- Joey Logano
- Chase Elliott
- Kyle Busch
- Brad Keselowski
Dark Horse: Ryan Preece
Stay Away From: Kevin Harvick
Big 18: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.