NASCAR DFS: Daytona 500

Daytona 500

Tomorrow, we have our first major race of the year in the Daytona 500. Several key driver shuffles occurred during the Silly Season, Kurt Busch signing with 23xi Racing being one of the most notable. Additionally, former Penske driver Brad Keselowski and Jack Roush announced the formation of RFK Racing. Keselowski will replace Ryan Newman in the famed No. 6 car. We also had the ushering in of the Next Gen car to NASCAR.

This car offers several noteworthy upgrades over the Generation Six. With all of these changes, the goal is to hopefully cut costs and create a more level playing field for smaller fish. The Los Angeles Coliseum, which hosted the Busch Clash two weeks ago, gave us a taste of what fans can expect. As the first two practices at Daytona have shown, the differences between the Gen Six and the next-gen don’t seem overly prominent as far as how they handle on the Superspeedway. Despite the modifications to the body and horsepower, drafting has not been deterred.

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In terms of lineup construction, the Daytona 500 has always been rather straightforward. Due to the ability to move from the back to the front on top of plenty of wrecked cars throughout the race, it’s not uncommon for drivers who start 30th to challenge for victory. What’s more, you’ll need to be careful when picking drivers that are starting the race in the top five positions. It is easy to ruin your team’s day in an instant by choosing a driver who starts up front and ends up crashing out. This weekend, make sure to have a range of driver combinations locked in. Once the big one hits, you will want to be fully prepared.

This week, the Money Train delves into the DFS options for Sunday’s Cup Series event in Daytona, FL. The selections are broken down between high salary, mid-range, and value play. Included are player salaries from both FanDuel (FD) and DraftKings (DK). Best of luck to everyone with lineups this weekend.

High Salary

Joey Logano (9,800 DK | 13,000 FD)

Having won at the Los Angeles Coliseum two weeks ago, Logano appears to have taken to this next-generation model. Logano’s chances of winning at Daytona have always been favorable. If not for the accordion-type shove in the back last year, on the last lap he would likely be a two-time winner. If Logano blows it this Sunday, it’ll probably be due to being involved in a late-race incident, but for the most part, he has been able to avoid those in the 500. In the second qualifying duel on Thursday night, Logano appeared to be a likely winner, but he ended up ninth due to a block on Chris Buescher in the final lap. Now he has that extra cushion, he’ll make a more appealing play.

Denny Hamlin (10,500 DK | 14,000 FD)

Despite his failure to win the Daytona 500 last season, Hamlin would finish a solid fifth. In any case, Hamlin’s desire to add to his back-to-back Daytona victories must have left him feeling disappointed. His first two practice times were a mixed bag, culminating in an eighth-place finish in practice one followed by a 27th best speed in practice two. Since Hamlin starts 30th due to a poor showing in the first duel, he is an excellent differential player. Although the Toyotas have not shown great speed this week, don’t sleep on No. 11. When the stakes are highest, Hamlin will show he’s up to the task.


Austin Dillon (8,400 DK | 8,200 FD)

A couple of years removed from his first Daytona victory, Dillon enjoyed a nice rebound at last year’s event. Slithering through calamity on the last lap, he rolled to a surprise third-place finish. The speed of Dillon has not been impressive this week. Despite finishing 21st and 33rd in the first two practice sessions, he is not a driver you should sleep on, like Hamlin. Remember that he finished on the podium in the Busch Clash two weeks ago. Owners will be laughing if he can just bring more of that speed. Due to his poor qualifying, he’ll be one of the more popular plays this weekend, as he will begin the race from the back.

Value Play

Michael McDowell (7,200 DK | 4,500 FD)

McDowell’s success at Daytona cannot be measured by a single win. It was an impressive win, no doubt, but just consider his last three Daytona 500 races leading up to last year. At these races, he finished 14th, fifth, and ninth, respectively. Those are strong results, given the unforgiving nature of this Superspeedway. On Tuesday, he topped out at 192.736 mph in the opening practice. McDowell has consistently performed well and comes at a low price point, which will make him plenty chalky. Still, don’t overthink this choice.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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