One of the most tragic experiences in fantasy NASCAR games is being in a fantasy NASCAR draft and watching yourself go down in flames because you were drafting off of an impulse, or off of your feelings, or simply pure hatred against a certain driver.

For the past ten years I've had people asking me how I was able to dominate in fantasy NASCAR, how exactly to play, what games to play, how much money to risk and what not. First, I'm not the best fantasy NASCAR player in the world. But, I do know what it takes to be successful, finish in the top 10% of the players, and most importantly at the end of the NASCAR season not to be the guy in last place.

Here are four important pointers for you to be successful at the start of this NASCAR season.

There's a reason why in January and February the magazine racks fill up and NASCAR racing and sports websites publish posts with fantasy NASCAR guides, up-to-date driver rankings, driver and team profiles, and Spint Cup Championship, silly season and dark horse projections. They WILL help you. Just because you are passionate about NASCAR doesn't make you automatically set to perform well in your fantasy NASCAR draft. Too many times, I've been in drafts with friends and they just show up. No paperwork, no fantasy NASCAR cheat sheet, nada, nothing, zip.

As in, pick the most skilled driver available on the board, at least for the initial few selections. Once you take the drivers that are your primary 'active' drivers, you might draft a road course or plate track specialist driver as well.

This may well be the most important thing that can help you: UNDERSTAND THE RULES OF YOUR LEAGUE!

  • How many drivers are active?
  • Is it player vs. player or total points earned for the season that crowns the winner?
  • Is there a playoff system that comes towards the end of the season?
  • Are there incentive points for poles, leading at halfway, fastest lap or most-improved position?

I don't know how many times I have been at a draft and someone will be ready and waiting for their pick, they've set out a driver in their mind, and they're hoping the player in front of them doesn't select their driver. Then, that owner doesn't pick them and they shout, "YEEEAAHHHHH" or some foolishness like that. Be self-assured and be equipped. Yes, if you have the #4 spot for draft selection and you really want Kyle Busch and he gets picked at #3, just know that you've got Mark Martin or Carl Edwards ready to select as a standby pick.

Plus, (especially for you noobies) take part in a 'mock draft'. Trust me, this all sound easy until your on the clock and have 90 seconds to make a selection. That 90 seconds will fly by if you are not ready.

At the end of the day, fantasy NASCAR is just what it implies, its a opportunity to be a fantasy owner of your personalized NASCAR team. So have fun with it, talk smack and poke fun at other owners. Believe this, watching a NASCAR race will never be the same.